Richards appeals her conviction of unlawful possession of
heroin.She argues that the trial court erred by
not suppressing evidence that police officers seized in a
search incident to her arrest. We hold that the officers did
not exceed the scope of a lawful search incident to arrest
when they searched a closed pouch in Richards's purse
that she was carrying at the time of arrest. Accordingly, we
affirm Richards's conviction.
November 11, 2017, a loss protection officer at a retail
store in Woodland, observed Richards placing store
merchandise into her purse. The officer approached Richards
after she left the store without paying for the items in her
purse. Two police officers, who were waiting outside,
detained Richards and escorted her to the loss protection
office. There, the officers arrested Richards and searched
the search of the purse, the officers discovered the stolen
merchandise and a closed, zippered pouch. They opened the
pouch and searched it, looking for theft tools used for
removing secure access devices. The pouch contained drug
paraphernalia, foil residue, straws, and syringes.
State charged Richards with unlawful possession of heroin.
Richards filed a motion to suppress the contents of the pouch
found in her purse. The trial court considered the evidence
set out above and denied the motion. The court gave an oral
ruling, but did not enter written findings of fact and
conclusions of law.
subsequently was convicted of possession of heroin. She
appeals her conviction.
Standard of Review
reviewing a trial court's denial of a CrR 3.6 motion to
suppress evidence, we determine whether substantial evidence
supports the findings of fact and whether those findings of
fact support the conclusions of law. State v.
Russell, 180 Wn.2d 860, 866, 330 P.3d 151 (2014).
Substantial evidence is evidence that is sufficient to
persuade a fair-minded person of the truth of the finding.
Id. at 866-67. We review conclusions of law de novo.
Id. at 867.
the trial court did not make written findings of fact or
conclusions of law as required by CrR 3.6. Although failure
to enter findings of fact and conclusions of law is error,
such error is harmless if the trial court's oral findings
are sufficient to permit appellate review. State v.
Weller, 185 Wn.App. 913, 923, 344 P.3d 695 (2015). We
conclude that the trial court's error is harmless here.
Scope of Search Incident to Arrest
argues that the officers' warrantless search of the
closed pouch in ...