Reconsideration denied April 20, 2015.
Oral Argument: February 26, 2015.
Appeal from Skagit Superior Court. Docket No: 13-1-00016-3. Judge signing: Honorable David R Needy. Judgment or order under review. Date filed: 07/01/2013.
Nancy P. Collins (of Washington Appellate Project ), for appellant.
Rich A. Weyrich, Prosecuting Attorney, and Karen L. Pinnell, Deputy, for respondent.
Authored by J. Robert Leach. Concurring: Stephen J. Dwyer, James Verellen.
Robert Leach, J.
[186 Wn.App. 788] [¶1] -- Donald Kinsell Jones appeals his conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree. He claims that the trial court should have suppressed evidence of his firearm possession as the fruit of an unlawful traffic stop. He also challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to prove one element of the charged crime, a predicate felony conviction. Because the State's evidence at the suppression hearing failed to justify the traffic stop under State v. Prado, we reverse and remand without reaching any other issue.
[¶2] In the early morning hours of December 16, 2012, Anacortes Police Officer Jacqueline Richter saw Donald Jones driving on State Route 20 within the city limits of Anacortes, Washington. As she followed Jones in her patrol car for about a mile, she observed Jones's vehicle " pass over the fog line approximately an inch" three times, each time " correcting its position with a slow drift." She stopped Jones and told him that she had stopped his vehicle " due to erratic lane travel." There were no other vehicles on the roadway at the time. Jones agreed to perform field sobriety tests, which did not indicate intoxication.
[¶3] Officer Sam King arrived to assist Richter. King saw a rifle in the backseat of Jones's truck. Jones consented to a vehicle search " for the sole purpose of recovering the rifle." A records check revealed that Jones did not have a valid driver's license. In the course of their conversation, Jones told King that he had a felony conviction in Idaho for possession of a controlled substance.
[¶4] The State charged Jones with one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree. Jones moved to suppress the fruits of the vehicle search. Citing Prado, [186 Wn.App. 789] Jones challenged the lawfulness of the stop. Because the State presented no evidence that Jones's three crossings of the fog line imperiled any other traffic or Jones or that Officer Richter recognized his driving as suggesting impairment, he claimed that the officer had no legal basis for the stop. Concluding that " there were more clear lane violations than those noted in the State v. Prado ...