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State v. Bejarano

Court of Appeals of Arizona, Second Division

December 12, 2013

The State of Arizona, Appellee,
v.
Angela Rose Bejarano, Appellant.

Not for Publication – Rule 111(c), Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court

Appeal from the Superior Court in Pima County No. CR20112165001 The Honorable Jane L. Eikleberry, Judge

Thomas C. Horne, Arizona Attorney General By Joseph T. Maziarz, Section Chief Counsel, Phoenix and Amy M. Thorson, Assistant Attorney General, Tucson Counsel for Appellee

Roach Law Firm, LLC, Tucson By Brad Roach Counsel for Appellant

Judge Espinosa and Judge Eckerstrom concurred.

MEMORANDUM DECISION

KELLY, Presiding Judge

¶1 Angela Bejarano appeals from her convictions and sentences for possession of a narcotic drug and possession of drug paraphernalia. She claims the trial court erred by denying her motion to suppress statements she made and physical evidence obtained during a traffic stop. Bejarano argues the evidence was obtained in violation of her rights under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Finding no error, we affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

¶2 In reviewing a trial court's decision on a motion to suppress, we consider only the evidence presented at the suppression hearing and view the facts in the light most favorable to upholding the court's ruling. State v. Gay, 214 Ariz. 214, ¶ 4, 150 P.3d 787, 790 (App. 2007). In 2011, a Tucson police officer saw Bejarano fail to completely stop her vehicle at a stop sign. The officer attempted to stop her but she continued driving for a few blocks before eventually pulling into a residence. The officer placed both Bejarano and her passenger in handcuffs because "[he] didn't know if [Bejarano] had any weapons or if she would try to run on foot [as s]he had already not yielded to [the] traffic stop."

¶3 Bejarano told the officer she had not stopped because her driver's license was suspended and she wanted to avoid impoundment of her vehicle. When the officer asked "if she had any weapons on her or anything [he] needed to know about, " Bejarano stated she had marijuana and a pipe in her purse. The officer then read Bejarano the Miranda[1]warnings, and she stated she understood. When he asked Bejarano for identification, she told him it was in her purse in the car. While retrieving Bejarano's identification card from her purse, the officer found a bag of what appeared to be crack cocaine and three foil balls of what appeared to be heroin. Bejarano admitted that the items were crack and heroin and that they were hers. The officer then arrested her for failing to stop her vehicle upon command and for driving with a suspended license and took her into custody. Her car was impounded.

¶4 Bejarano was charged by indictment with two counts of possession of a narcotic drug and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. She filed a motion to suppress statements she had made to the police officer who had stopped her and the drugs and paraphernalia he had seized, arguing they had been obtained in violation of her constitutional rights. Specifically, Bejarano claimed the statements she had made before the officer gave her the Miranda warnings should be suppressed because she had been subjected to custodial interrogation without having been made aware of her constitutional rights; the officer deliberately had waited before giving her the Miranda warnings, rendering the warnings ineffective and requiring suppression of any post-Miranda statements; and the drugs and drug paraphernalia had been obtained as a result of a government violation of her constitutional rights and thus should be suppressed as "fruit of the poisonous tree." See Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471, 487-88 (1963). Bejarano also claimed that the inevitable discovery doctrine, which would allow the evidence to be admitted if it inevitably would have been discovered during an inventory search of the impounded car, "probably [did] not apply."

¶5 The trial court suppressed Bejarano's statements regarding having marijuana in her purse, which she made before receiving the Miranda warnings. It found that although it was proper for the officer to ask Bejarano about weapons to protect his and the public's safety, once she was in custody it was improper for the officer to ask whether there was "anything else" he should know until after Bejarano received the warnings. The court denied Bejarano's motion to suppress statements she had made after the officer gave her the warnings, as well as the drugs and paraphernalia found in her purse. Specifically, the court ruled that Bejarano was "arrested for driving without a license and for failure to stop for the police officer and . . . [her] purse would have been taken with her vehicle when it was impounded[;] accordingly[, ] the inevitable discovery [doctrine] allows the evidence from the purse to be admitted at trial."[2]

¶6 Following a jury trial, Bejarano was convicted of all counts and sentenced to concurrent prison terms, the longest of which is six years. This appeal followed. We have jurisdiction pursuant to ...


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