Appeal from Spokane Superior Court. Docket No: 13-1-00456-0. Judge signing: Honorable Annette S Plese. Judgment or order under review. Date filed: 09/09/2013.
Dennis W. Morgan, for appellant.
Lawrence H. Haskell, Prosecuting Attorney, and Mark E. Lindsey and Andrew J. Metts III, Deputies, for respondent.
Concurring: George B. Fearing, Kevin M. Korsmo.
[185 Wn.App. 388] Robert E. Lawrence-Berrey,
[¶1] Officers from the Spokane Police Department responded to a domestic disturbance call and found Ricardo J. Rubio inside the apartment at the reported address. Police ran a check on Mr. Rubio and [185 Wn.App. 389] discovered three outstanding warrants for his arrest. While booking him into jail, officers found methamphetamine in Mr. Rubio's sock. Mr. Rubio was convicted of possession of a controlled substance. In his appeal, Mr. Rubio contends that the officer unlawfully seized him, considering he was merely a witness to the reported disturbance. We hold that Mr. Rubio's seizure was lawful under the exigent circumstances exception and affirm the order denying his motion to suppress.
[¶2] Spokane Police Department Officer Aaron Kirby responded to a domestic disturbance call at 1203 W. 5th, Apartment 305, in Spokane. A 911 caller reported that a male and a female were arguing and that the female was outside yelling about having a miscarriage and holding her stomach. The fighting was physical. A male was seen jumping off of the third floor apartment balcony.
[¶3] Upon arriving, Officer Kirby and other officers did not find anyone outside the apartment but heard people moving inside the apartment. The officers knocked on the door, identified themselves, and stated that they needed to check on the welfare of the people inside. No one answered. Officer Kirby obtained a key to the apartment and opened the door to conduct a welfare check. The officers called out to the occupants to come outside. Other occupants exited the apartment, but Mr. Rubio did not. He remained in the apartment on a couch. Officer Kirby contacted Mr. Rubio to check on his welfare and to find out what happened. Officer Kirby requested identification from Mr. Rubio. Mr. Rubio gave a name, which dispatch identified as an alias for Mr. Rubio. There were three warrants for Mr. Rubio's arrest.
[¶4] Officer Kirby arrested Mr. Rubio on the outstanding warrants and transported him to the Spokane County detention facilities. While conducting intake procedures on Mr. Rubio, Corrections Deputy Richard Blair found two [185 Wn.App. 390] small bags with a white crystal substance and a syringe in Mr. Rubio's sock. The substance tested positive for methamphetamine. Mr. Rubio was charged with possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine.
[¶5] A CrR 3.6 suppression hearing was held to determine whether Mr. Rubio was subject to an unlawful seizure. The trial court found that Officer Kirby seized Mr. Rubio. However, the trial court concluded, " Officer Kirby's entry into the apartment was justified by the exigencies and his request for Mr. Rubio's identification was an ordinary, usual and necessary incident to follow up on a possibly violent domestic violence situation. Mr. Ricardo Rubio was not subject to an unreasonable seizure. The methamphetamine was not the fruit of illegal police conduct." Clerk's Papers (CP) at 86. The court denied Mr. Rubio's motion to suppress.
[¶6] A bench trial was held, and Mr. Rubio was convicted of possession of a controlled substance. He appeals, ...