Idaho v. Cook

Samantha Cook was pulled over by a police officer after the officer noticed her vehicle lacked both front and rear license plates. As the vehicles slowed to pull over, the officer noticed a piece of paper in the rear window of Cook’s car. Upon approaching the pulled-over vehicle, the officer noticed that the piece of paper was a temporary registration permit, which was unreadable due to condensation from rain earlier in the evening. The officer then spoke with Cook, detected the smell of marijuana, searched her vehicle, located controlled substances, and arrested her. Cook filed a motion to suppress the evidence obtained during the stop on the grounds that the officer lacked probable cause to stop her vehicle. The district court denied Cook’s motion. The district court found, based on Idaho v. Kinch, 356 P.3d 389 (Ct. App. 2015), a reasonable suspicion existed that Cook had violated Idaho Code section 49-432(4), which required a driver to display a permit “upon the windshield of each vehicle or in another prominent place where it may be readily legible.” As a result, the district court found the seizure legal and the evidence obtained after the seizure properly obtained. The Court of Appeals affirmed. Cook argued on appeal, among other things, that the district court erred in denying her motion to suppress because Idaho Code section 49-432(4) was unconstitutionally vague as applied to her conduct. The Idaho Supreme Court concurred, concluding the statute was unconstitutionally vague. The Court reversed the district court’s denial of Cook’s motion to suppress; Cook’s conviction was vacated, and the matter remanded for further proceedings. View "Idaho v. Cook" on Justia Law