Appeal from Columbia Superior Court. Docket No: 13-1-00015-1. Judge signing: Honorable William D Acey. Judgment or order under review. Date filed: 10/03/2013.
Rea L. Culwell, Prosecuting Attorney, for appellant.
Andrea Burkhart (of Burkhart & Burkhart PLLC ); and Susan M. Gasch (of Gasch Law Office ), for respondents.
Authored by Robert E. Lawrence-Berrey. Concurring: Laurel H. Siddoway, Kevin M. Korsmo.
[186 Wn.App. 892] ¶ 1 Witnesses saw Steven Long driving a pickup truck on Hogeye Hollow Road in Columbia County. In the bed of the truck was an ATV with camouflage packs. The next day, after the same truck was found abandoned, a property owner reported that truck, an ATV with camouflage packs, and several other large items of personal property missing. Based on these facts, a judge issued a warrant to search for the missing items at Mr. Long's home and adjacent buildings located on Hogeye Hollow Road. The search uncovered stolen property and controlled substances. Mr. Long and his roommate Casey Dunn were charged with various offenses. Both defendants moved to suppress the evidence gathered in the search. The trial court granted the motions, concluding that the affidavit in support of the warrant failed to establish a reasonable nexus between the missing items and Mr. Long's residence. The State moved for findings that the cases could not proceed based on the suppression orders, and the court entered such findings. The State appealed, and we consolidated both cases. We conclude that there was a reasonable nexus between the missing items and Mr. Long's residence to support the warrant. We therefore vacate the suppression orders and the orders of dismissal.
[186 Wn.App. 893] FACTS
¶ 2 Undersheriff Lee Brown investigated the circumstances surrounding an abandoned vehicle found on Ring Canyon Road in Columbia County. After his investigation, he set forth the following facts in his application for a search warrant.
¶ 3 On May 3, 2013, Undersheriff Brown was dispatched to investigate an abandoned vehicle in a ditch on Steve Shoun's property on Ring Canyon Road. While en route to the field, he called Mr. Shoun. Mr. Shoun said that he had observed the same pickup truck on Hogeye Hollow Road the day prior when it almost ran his hired hand off the road. Mr. Shoun said that he had seen Steven Long driving the pickup truck and that Mr. Long had waved to him. Mr. Shoun also said that there had been an ATV with camouflage packs in the bed of the pickup truck.
¶ 4 When Undersheriff Brown arrived at the scene, he observed a Dodge Ram pickup truck with a gray bed and a brown cab. The pickup truck was in the ditch with the rear of the truck sticking out. The ATV seen the
previous day was no longer in the truck. Undersheriff Brown then called Mr. Shoun and asked him to come and verify that the pickup truck was the same one that he had observed Mr. Long driving the previous day. Mr. Shoun and his hired hand arrived at the scene and verified that they had both observed Mr. Long driving the same pickup truck. Mr. Long was employed by Mr. Shoun in 2010, and the hired hand had known Mr. Long for six or seven ...