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State v. Landis

Court of Appeals of Iowa

December 19, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TODD JUNIOR LANDIS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David N. May, (suppression) and Donna L. Paulsen (trial), Judges.

         A defendant appeals his judgment and sentence for operating while intoxicated and possession of a controlled substance, third offense.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Mary K. Conroy, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vogel and Tabor, JJ.

          TABOR, Judge.

         Todd Landis challenges his convictions for operating while intoxicated (OWI) and possession of a controlled substance, third offense, enhanced by his habitual-offender status. Landis contends the district court should have excluded the marijuana police took from his pocket thirty minutes before arresting him for OWI. The court found the marijuana admissible under the search-incident-to-arrest exception to the warrant requirement and the inevitable-discovery doctrine. We agree with the court's reliance on inevitable discovery. The State proved jail personnel would have found the contraband during the OWI booking process.

         Landis also challenges his sentence. He alleges the district court gave only "boilerplate" reasons for incarceration. To the contrary, the court explained its rationale, emphasizing Landis's prior convictions and "experience on probation." As a result, we can review its exercise of discretion and affirm the concurrent prison terms. On Landis's final issue, we remand for entry of a corrected sentencing order assessing the costs of his dismissed simple-misdemeanor charge to the State.

         I. Facts and Prior Proceedings

         Around 11:15 on a Sunday morning, Landis ran a red light in downtown Des Moines. He crashed his Jeep Compass into another motorist crossing the intersection. Police Officer Eric Moorman and State Trooper Matthew Raes both responded to the collision.

         Officer Moorman found Landis standing outside his Jeep, which suffered heavy front-end damage. The officer "smelled the odor of alcoholic beverage" when he approached Landis. Landis told the officer "somebody hit him and took off." During their conversation, the officer also noticed Landis was slurring his speech and was "slow about thinking, seemed confused." Officer Moorman-who has more than thirty years of law enforcement experience-believed Landis was intoxicated and called a traffic officer, Ryan King, "to come down and test him."

         Upon arrival, Trooper Raes first checked on the welfare of the other driver, who was still at the scene. When he made contact with Landis, the trooper noted "bloodshot, watery eyes and a very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his person."

         During their interaction outside the cars, which occurred around 11:30 a.m., Officer Moorman and Trooper Raes searched the front pocket of Landis's shorts. They pulled out a clear plastic bag containing "a green leafy substance which looked and smelled like marijuana; a drug cutter, [which] cuts the marijuana; and a dope pipe." Neither Trooper Raes nor Officer Moorman told Landis he was under arrest. In fact, Officer Moorman turned the investigation over to Officer King.

         Landis was waiting in Officer Moorman's patrol car when Officer King arrived. Officer King recalled "an odor of alcoholic beverages that could be detected coming from the rear of the patrol car." As part of his investigation, Officer King asked Landis to complete field sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test. But Landis declined. Officer King placed Landis under arrest at noon. At the police station, Landis refused to submit to a breath test.

         As a result of this investigation, the State charged Landis with two counts: (1) operating while intoxicated, a serious misdemeanor in violation of Iowa Code section 321J.2 (2016) and (2) possession of marijuana, a class "D" felony in violation of section 124.401(5), as a third offense. The State also invoked the habitual offender provisions under Iowa Code section 902.8. Landis moved to suppress the marijuana and paraphernalia found in his pocket, alleging the search violated the state and federal constitutions. After a hearing, the district court overruled the motion to suppress. ...


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