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State v. Keodara

February 18, 1997

STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT,
v.
KHAMPHETH JOE KEODARA, B.D. 09-20-82 APPELLANT.



Appeal from Superior Court of King County. Docket No: 95-8-05015-0. Date filed: 11/07/95. Judge signing: Hon. Deborah D. Fleck.

PER CURIAM - In his appeal from a conviction for minor in possession of liquor, Khampheth Keodara argues (1) that the trial court erred in concluding that he knowingly and intelligently waived his Miranda *fn1 rights and in failing to suppress the subsequent statements that he made, *fn2 and (2) without those statements, insufficient evidence of his intoxication existed. Because we hold that adequate evidence of Keodara's intoxication existed without his statements to the police, we affirm his conviction without addressing whether any error was made regarding suppression.

In reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, this court must review the evidence in the light most favorable to the state and determine whether any rational trier of fact could have found the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. *fn3

To convict Keodara of minor in possession of liquor, the state had to prove that Keodara (1) was under twenty-one, (2) was in a public place or was in a motor vehicle that was in a public place, and (3) exhibited the effects of having consumed alcohol. *fn4 The only issue in dispute is whether Keodara exhibited the effects of having consumed alcohol.

Such effects are evidenced by having the odor of alcohol on his breath, and either (1) being in possession of or proximity to a container that has had liquor in it, or (2) exhibiting intoxication by "speech, manner, appearance, behavior, or otherwise". *fn5

Here, Officer Richard Bourns related his training and experience identifying signs of intoxication. Bourns approached Keodara after observing him near an the stairwell of an apartment building at which he had previously cited Keodara for trespassing. As he approached, Keodara tried to speak, but his speech was "very notably slurred." Bourns noted that he had spoken with Keodara before and that Keodara did not normally slur his speech. Bourns also detected the odor of beer on Keodara's clothing. Bourns leaned over while Keodara was talking, placed his nose close to Keodara's face, and "strongly detected the odor of beer on his breath." Based upon these observations, Bourns believed that Keodara had consumed liquor.

Bourns observation provided evidence that Keodara had the odor of liquor on his breath and that he was slurring his speech. This evidence is sufficient for a rational trier of fact to determine that Keodara was exhibiting signs of intoxication when Bourns approached him. While more evidence was present in the cases that Keodara cites, the fact that more evidence was present in those cases does not mean that more evidence is necessary. Bourns' testimony provided sufficient evidence of all of the elements of minor in possession of liquor to support Keodara's conviction without his statements.

Affirme ...


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