Argued: October 6, 2016
A. Foster, attorney general (Stephen D. Fuller, senior
assistant attorney general, on the memorandum of law and
orally), for the State.
Stephanie Hausman, deputy chief appellate defender, of
Concord, on the brief and orally, for the defendant.
a bench trial based upon stipulated facts, the defendant,
Sean McInnis, was convicted of two counts of possession of a
controlled drug. See RSA 318-B:2, I (2011). On
appeal, he challenges his convictions, arguing that the
Superior Court (Tucker, J.) erroneously denied his
motion to suppress. We affirm.
following facts are drawn from the trial court's order,
or are otherwise found in the record. In November 2009, the
defendant pleaded guilty to one count of willful
concealment/shoplifting (shoplifting) and was sentenced to
pay $744 in fines. See RSA 644:17 (2007) (current
version at RSA 637:3-a (2016)). The defendant did not pay the
fines and a default was entered against him.
February 6, 2012, the 10th Circuit Court-Portsmouth District
Division, in Rockingham County, held a hearing on the
default, and issued an order stating: "The defendant
owes $770 in fines. The default is vacated. Defendant agrees
to pay the fine within 120 days of release from his substance
abuse program." On the same day, in the same court, the
defendant pleaded guilty to one count of theft by
unauthorized taking (theft). See RSA 637:3 (2016).
The circuit court sentenced him to 12 months of
incarceration, with all but three months suspended. The
circuit court ordered that the sentence was "to run
concurrently with [another] case currently pending in"
Carroll County. The defendant served his term of
incarceration in the Carroll County House of Corrections.
days later, on or about February 10, the circuit court
scheduled a payment hearing for April 12 regarding the
defendant's outstanding fines of $770 for his shoplifting
conviction. On April 2, the defendant filed a motion
requesting permission to pay his fines through time in jail.
A hearing upon the motion was scheduled for April 12.
defendant did not appear in court on April 12 because he was
still incarcerated. The circuit court issued a bench warrant
for his arrest based upon his failure to appear. On or about
May 24, the defendant was released from the Carroll County
House of Corrections.
August 12, around midnight, an officer of the Rochester
Police Department received a report about an assault at the
Old Oak Tavern on North Main Street. When the officer
arrived, there were other officers already at the scene, so
he began to patrol the area to locate witnesses and people
potentially involved in the assault. As he drove away from
the scene, he observed the defendant walking toward the
officer parked his police cruiser on the side of the road and
got out of the vehicle. The officer and the defendant
approached each other. The officer, who was in uniform,
informed the defendant that he was investigating a crime and
asked the defendant whether he was involved in the assault at
the tavern. The defendant denied involvement. The officer
then asked the defendant for identification. The defendant
provided the officer with his name and date of birth, but did
not offer any documentary evidence of his identity. In the
presence of the defendant, the officer radioed police
dispatch and requested a check for outstanding warrants.
Dispatch advised that there was an outstanding bench warrant
for the defendant's arrest.
officer arrested the defendant based upon the bench warrant.
The defendant stated that he had drugs on his person and the
officer seized them. The officer then transported the
defendant to the Rochester Police Department, where the
defendant made additional incriminating statements.
defendant was charged with two counts of possession of a
controlled drug. See RSA 318-B:2, I. He moved to
suppress all evidence obtained as a result of his arrest,
arguing that the officer had seized him, prior to arrest,
without reasonable suspicion, violating his rights under Part
I, Article 19 of the State Constitution and the Fourth
Amendment to the Federal Constitution. He also argued that
the evidence must be suppressed because the bench warrant
underlying his arrest was invalid. The State objected.
Following a hearing, the superior court denied the motion,
ruling that the defendant was not seized until the officer
arrested him, and that the bench warrant underlying the
arrest was valid. ...