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State v. Mouser

Supreme Court of New Hampshire

July 15, 2015

The State of New Hampshire
v.
Amy Kathleen Mouser

Argued June 4, 2015

Page 871

Rockingham.

Affirmed.

Joseph A. Foster, attorney general ( Stephen D. Fuller, assistant attorney general, on the brief, and Jason A. Casey, attorney, orally), for the State.

Christopher M. Johnson, chief appellate defender, of Concord, on the brief and orally, for the defendant.

DALIANIS, C.J. HICKS, CONBOY, LYNN, and BASSETT, JJ., concurred.

OPINION

Page 872

Dalianis, C.J.

The defendant, Amy Kathleen Mouser, appeals her conviction by jury on one count of possession of a controlled drug (cocaine). See RSA 318-B:2, I (2011). On appeal, she argues that the Superior Court ( Delker, J.) erred by denying her motion to suppress evidence obtained from a search of her vehicle. We affirm.

The trial court found the following facts when it denied the defendant's motion to suppress. On June 7, 2012, Joseph Jennings was arrested on drug-related charges and released on personal recognizance bail to the custody of the defendant. That day, he was also served with a temporary order of protection that prohibited him, and third parties acting on his behalf, from contacting a certain woman.

Approximately 45 minutes after Jennings was released, the woman reported that the defendant was contacting her on Jennings's behalf, in violation of the protective order. Police Officer McGurren went to the woman's residence, where McGurren retrieved drug paraphernalia that the woman said belonged to Jennings.

McGurren then went to the defendant's multi-family residence where it was " pitch black outside." Because there was no available parking in front of the residence, McGurren pulled into the driveway, which " wrapped around" the back of the building. When she spotted the defendant's vehicle, she parked her cruiser in a way that her headlights illuminated the vehicle's interior. She saw two people making furtive movements in the vehicle's front seat. McGurren shined her spotlight on the vehicle and got out of her cruiser. The defendant then emerged from the passenger side of her vehicle and approached McGurren. Jennings, who had been in the driver's seat, also got out of the vehicle. The defendant began yelling at McGurren. When McGurren ordered the defendant to stay back, she complied and stood approximately 10 feet away from the vehicle, although she continued to yell.

McGurren placed Jennings under arrest for violating the protective order. As McGurren secured Jennings in her cruiser, the defendant was still yelling. Because of the furtive movements she had witnessed earlier, McGurren went to the defendant's vehicle and looked through the driver's side window where she saw what she believed to be drug paraphernalia, including two syringes, on the center console. McGurren then arrested the defendant for possession of a controlled drug. She secured the defendant in the cruiser of a second officer, who had arrived to assist. McGurren then seized the drug paraphernalia from the defendant's vehicle and transported Jennings to the police department. The second officer transported the defendant to the police department. At the police department, the defendant told McGurren that the syringes belonged to Jennings.

Before trial, the defendant moved to suppress the evidence obtained from the search of her vehicle. She contended, among other arguments, that the warrantless search of her automobile violated the State and Federal ...


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