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Snook v. State

Court of Appeals of Alaska

September 1, 2017

CRAIG SNOOK, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF ALASKA, Appellee.

         Appeal from the Superior Court, Third Judicial District, Anchorage, Michael R. Spaan, Judge. Trial Court No. 3AN-14-1174 CR

          Appearances: Doug Miller, Law Office of Douglas S. Miller, Anchorage, for the Appellant.

          Terisia K. Chleborad, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Criminal Appeals, Anchorage, and Jahna Lindemuth, Attorney General, Juneau, for the Appellee.

          Before: Mannheimer, Chief Judge, and Allard and Wollenberg, Judges.

          OPINION

          MANNHEIMER. JUDGE.

         On the evening of February 2, 2014, an Anchorage police officer saw a vehicle "fishtail" as the driver made a turn from Arctic Boulevard east onto Fireweed Lane. As the driver made the turn, the rear end of the vehicle slid into the adjacent lane. The driver immediately corrected the vehicle, but the officer decided to make a traffic stop.

         Craig Snook, a convicted felon, was a passenger in this vehicle. During the traffic stop, the officer discovered that Snook was in possession of a concealable firearm and metal knuckles. In addition, Snook gave a false name to the officer.

         Based on this incident, Snook was charged with - and ultimately convicted of - third- and fourth-degree weapons misconduct, as well as giving false information to a police officer.

         Before trial, Snook's attorney filed a motion arguing that the traffic stop was unlawful, and that therefore the evidence against Snook should be suppressed. The superior court denied this motion, and Snook renews his claim on appeal.

         The superior court found that the traffic stop was justified under § 09.22.030.B of the Anchorage Municipal Code. This ordinance reads:

Starting Parked or Stopped Vehicle.
...
B. No person may accelerate a vehicle which is stopped, standing or parked on or along a street, or which is entering a street, so rapidly as to unnecessarily cause the tires to squeal or spin on the street, or on the surface on which the vehicle is standing immediately before it enters the street, or in a manner which causes the driver to lose control of the vehicle or causes the vehicle to "fishtail."

         The superior court acknowledged that the State presented no evidence that the vehicle accelerated from a "stopped, standing, or parked" position. However, the superior court ruled that when the driver of the vehicle made the turn from Arctic Boulevard onto Fireweed Lane, the driver "entered a street" (i. e., Fireweed Lane) within the meaning of ...


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