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State v. Rahier

Supreme Court of North Dakota

July 17, 2014

State of North Dakota, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
Jesse Lee Rahier, Defendant and Appellee

Page 213

Appeals from the District Court of Stark County, Southwest Judicial District, the Honorable Dann Edward Greenwood, Judge.

Thomas A. Gehrz, Assistant Stark County State's Attorney, Dickinson, ND, for plaintiff and appellant.

Tatum O'Brien Lindbo, Fargo, ND, for defendant and appellee.

Lisa Fair McEvers, Daniel J. Crothers, Dale V. Sandstrom, Carol Ronning Kapsner, Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J.

OPINION

McEvers, Justice.

Page 214

[¶1] The State appeals from the district court's orders granting Jesse Lee Rahier's motions suppress evidence. We affirm, concluding there was sufficient competent evidence to support the district court's decision that the arresting law enforcement officer lacked reasonable and articulable suspicion to stop Rahier, and the district court's decisions do not go against the manifest weight of the evidence.

I

[¶2] On May 20, 2013, Stark County Sheriff's Deputy Ray Kaylor stopped Rahier's vehicle and, subsequently, arrested him for carrying a concealed weapon, hindering law enforcement, and disorderly conduct. Rahier moved to suppress evidence alleging the law enforcement officer lacked reasonable and articulable suspicion, in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Rahier claimed the law enforcement officer's discovery of a concealed weapon was the result of an illegal search and should be suppressed. The State opposed the motions to suppress. The district court held an evidentiary hearing on the motions.

[¶3] At the hearing, the State presented testimony of several law enforcement officers who testified as to the events leading

Page 215

up to and during Rahier's stop and subsequent arrest. The testimony revealed that Deputy Kaylor received a call from Stark County Sheriff's Sergeant David Wallace for assistance in Belfield, North Dakota. Deputy Kaylor met with Sergeant Wallace, and two other law enforcement officers, at the Cenex Super Pumper in Belfield. Deputy Kaylor was informed that a green Volkswagen Jetta had circled, eight times, a two-block area where law enforcement officers reside. He was also informed the Volkswagen Jetta flashed its high-beam headlights at a patrol car and, immediately after, a person ran past the patrol car. The law enforcement officers decided to stop the vehicle if it circled the two-block area again. Deputy Kaylor observed the Volkswagen Jetta again circle the area and initiated a traffic stop. The driver of the vehicle was Rahier, accompanied by a female passenger. Deputy Kaylor requested a driver's license, which Rahier provided. Stark County Sheriff's Deputy Solz arrived, after which Deputy Kaylor asked Rahier for the vehicle registration and proof of insurance. Rahier opened the glove box to retrieve the registration, and Deputy Solz observed a gun in the glove box. The gun belonged to Rahier, and he did not have a concealed weapons permit. The vehicle was owned by the female passenger, and the vehicle was not properly displaying license plates, which was discovered after the stop was initiated. Rahier was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon and later charged with disorderly conduct and hindering law enforcement.

[¶4] Belfield Police Sergeant Travis Carlson testified he observed the Volkswagen Jetta following him and slowly circling the area where law enforcement officers reside eight times in approximately one hour. Sergeant Carlson testified he contacted Belfield Police Chief Nicky Barnhard, who directed him to seek assistance from the Stark County Sheriff's Office. The record does not reflect ...


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