Appeals court rejects ruling in DUI arrest - Bonner County Daily Bee: Local News

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Appeals court rejects ruling in DUI arrest

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Posted: Wednesday, November 24, 2010 10:00 am

SANDPOINT — Idaho’s Court of Appeals is overturning two lower court rulings that suppressed evidence in a drunken-driving case in which a Sandpoint Police officer pursued the suspect outside of city limits and arrested him.

The appellate ruling remands the case against Matthew Gilbert Scott back to the magistrate division of 1st District Court for further proceedings.

Gilbert, 24, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence shortly before 2 a.m. in December 2007. Gilbert came to the attention of Officer Derrick Hagstrom after he sped from a stop sign while driving west on Pine Street, according to the arrest report.

Hagstrom’s radar verified that Gilbert was speeding and he began pursuing Gilbert’s pickup truck. The officer stopped Gilbert at Syringa Heights Road, about a mile outside of Sandpoint.

Gilbert failed field sobriety tests and his breath alcohol level was measured at 0.11, court documents said.

As the case neared trial, the defense filed a motion to suppress which argued that the evidence of Gilbert’s intoxication was obtained outside of Hagstrom’s jurisdictional authority. At a hearing on the motion, Hagstrom testified that he didn’t activate his overhead lights until he caught up with Gilbert to deprive him the opportunity to escape.

The state argued Hagstrom was in “fresh pursuit” of Gilbert, but Judge Michael Griffin disagreed. Griffin held that Hagstrom could have activated his lights while they were still inside the city and Griffin had no indication that he was being pursued.

The state appealed the magistrate’s ruling in district court, but Judge John T. Mitchell affirmed Griffin’s ruling, prompting the state to further appeal.

The state maintained that Idaho Code enables law officers to follow a suspect beyond their jurisdiction if they observe an offense and can initiate a pursuit provided there is no unreasonable delay.

Appellate Judge Pro Tem C.J. Walters determined the pursuit was justified and that Hagstrom had the discretion as to when to activate his overhead lights.

“The officer activated his lights and made the traffic stop at his first opportunity, considering police procedures for stopping suspects,” Walters said in a six-page opinion published on Tuesday.

Chief Judge Karen Lansing and Judge Sergio Gutierrez concurred.

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  • LisaBrand posted at 4:36 pm on Mon, Nov 29, 2010.

    LisaBrand Posts: 44

    OK people, let me help you out. Once a Police Officer, Deputy Sheriff, County Marshal or State Trooper is sworn in by the official elected or appointed by the jurisdiction; that "Peace Officer" has law enforcement powers within the entire state.

    Peace Officers can enforce all laws (federal, state or local) anywhere within the State of Idaho all they need is a court of jurisdiction to cite you into and a court date. Unless you committed a felony, then you’ll be headed to the local jail. Peace Officers all have similar training and equipment in this state. This provides confidence to the elected or appointed officials when they sign “joint powers” agreements or Mutual Aid Agreements (which all departments have.)

    This Sandpoint Police Officer was in "fresh pursuit" which gave him the additional authority to pursue the suspect to another county or state. As long as he acted with due regard for the uninvolved public he could pursue the suspect and use the amount of force necessary to effect the arrest.

    A motion to dismiss the case is not a surprise. The attorney for the defense is simply attempting to exhaust all legal routes as he has been retained to do.

    If you actually believe Sandpoint Police Officers have no authority outside of the city; I would encourage you to act on that misguided belief. Just don’t call my office when you get arrested. I have enough clients.

  • itzrandy posted at 10:57 am on Thu, Nov 25, 2010.

    itzrandy Posts: 902

    @ hateurbanlegendlaw:

    Thank you! Much better stated than I attempted. At least you know the codes to go along with what I was attempting to say.

    My Brother-In-Law works for one of those specialized details where by he is a Deputy within his own organization and cross deputized as a United States Federal Marshall ..... as such, he has jurisdictional authority in any of our 50 states or US Territories. Through International cooperation, he also has limited authority in several cooperative nations, as well. Such persons are issued credentials from both agencies to indicate their respective statuses. Makes fugitive hunting a little easier when you can move throughout the country without having to weigh the potential pitfalls of jurisdictional boundaries and how one state may differ in their consideration of such, over another.

    @ Ambershay:

    Hope all of that answers your questions a bit more accurately.

  • Hateurbanlegendlaw posted at 6:23 am on Thu, Nov 25, 2010.

    Hateurbanlegendlaw Posts: 1

    Wowzers!. Check your law before you give legal advice.

    All Governments, Federal, State, and Local, are governments of limited powers. They only have the power granted to them by constitutions, statutes and ordinances.

    City police agency are created by city ordinances (In Sandpoint it is code 5-1-1). The police agency only has as much power as can be granted to it by the city. A city does not have regulatory or police power outside the city limits. Therefore a city police officer does not have police powers outside the city.

    Similarly a County Sherriff is empower by the county to enforce laws with in the county (I.C. 31-2202). And State Police Troopers are empowered throughout the state.

    Now with that said, Officers can be cross-deputized for limited purposes (such as drug task force or cooperative agreements between jurisdictions). However this is an expressed act, where both governmental bodies grant an individual officer with the powers of both jurisdictions for a limited purpose. Additionally, officers are allowed to exercise their authority outside their jurisdiction, when the crime was committed in the jurisdiction and they are in “hot pursuit.” This grant of authority is specifically given in Idaho Code 50-209.

    The issue in this case was whether or not the officer was in “hot pursuit” when he hadn’t activated his lights within city lines. For the answer and more detail you can read the opinion at

    In short, the “oath” to uphold the laws of the State of Idaho, does not mean an officer has police power outside their jurisdiction and in general a Nampa police officer can not make an arrest in Sandpoint.

  • Ambershay posted at 9:13 pm on Wed, Nov 24, 2010.

    Ambershay Posts: 17

    Thanks, Randy.

    I know there are jurisdictional boundaries between cities, but that doesn't mean that one can race to another city or County to avoid being arrested by that officer (like I think you stated). Technically, a Ponderay cop and nap you in Nampa because of his badge. Call it cooperative between agencies, but the officer's sworn oath is to the State which gives him the authority outside of his assigned jurisdiction. Of course if you want to be really technical. I have those same rights as a citizen.

  • itzrandy posted at 2:43 pm on Wed, Nov 24, 2010.

    itzrandy Posts: 902

    @ Ambershay:

    The officer is certified as such within the State of Idaho ..... there are jurisdictional boundaries that cities and counties abide by. In this instance, I know of no law stating that a city officer is not permitted to enforce the law beyond the city limits. Such is also generally affirmed through mutual agency assist doctrines.

    From what I am reading, the initial rulings by the judge and appellate court were misguided. Thankfully the secondary appellate process affirmed the officer's actions as lawful and remanded the matter back to the district court who will now be bound to abide by the appellate court's findings.

  • Ambershay posted at 10:24 am on Wed, Nov 24, 2010.

    Ambershay Posts: 17

    I may have misunderstood (wouldn't be the first time), but what is this talk of Jurisdiction? It is my understanding that the badge says "State of Idaho" on it. This isn't Hazzard County.