from the Superior Court, First Judicial District, Ketchikan,
Trevor N. Stephens, Judge. Trial Court No. IKE-14-802 CR
Elizabeth T. Burke, Assistant Attorney General, Office of
Criminal Appeals, Anchorage, and Craig W. Richards and Jahna
Lindemuth, Attorneys General, Juneau, for the Appellant.
Paine, Law Office of Julie Willoughby, Juneau, under contract
with the Office of Public Advocacy, for the Appellee.
Before: Mannheimer, Chief Judge, Allard, Judge, and Suddock,
Superior Court Judge. [*]
State appeals the superior court's suppression of
evidence in the prosecution of Terra L. Adams for the
unlawful distribution of oxycodone.
to the Alaska State Troopers' investigation, Adams would
use other people - "runners" or "mules" -
to transport oxycodone tablets from other states to Alaska.
The State Troopers identified Pamela Helgesen as one of these
December 2014, investigators received information that Adams
had used airline miles to purchase a round-trip ticket for
Helgesen from Ketchikan to Seattle and back. The officers
obtained a warrant to search Helgesen's person and
property for drugs, and they waited for her return to
Helgesen's arrival at the Ketchikan airport, two officers
intercepted her and informed her of the search warrant.
During their conversation with Helgesen, the officers asked a
number of questions about Helgesen's involvement in
transporting oxycodone for Adams.
initially denied any involvement in Adams's drug
activities, but Helgesen eventually made statements that
implicated both herself and Adams in the illicit distribution
of oxycodone. After making these statements, Helgesen told
the officers that she did not wish to talk further. However,
Helgesen agreed to assist the officers by sending a text
message to Adams - a text message stating that she (Helgesen)
had made it back to Ketchikan, and that she would meet Adams
"on the other side at the ticket booth" and give
her the oxycodone tablets.
responded to Helgesen's text, saying that she was on her
way. The officers waited for Adams at the rendezvous
location, and they arrested her shortly after she arrived.
Adams was subsequently indicted for second-degree controlled
substance misconduct, and for conspiracy to commit this
Adams's indictment, her attorney asked the superior court
to suppress all evidence stemming from Helgesen's text
message to Adams. In particular, the defense attorney sought
suppression of Adams's reply that she was "on her
way", as well as the fact that Adams subsequently
arrived at the airport and proceeded to the rendezvous
location, and the statements that Adams made when she was
contacted by the officers.
attorney argued that Adams was entitled to the suppression of
this evidence because the officers violated Helgesen
's rights under Miranda v.
Arizonawhen they questioned her at the airport -
and that Helgesen's text message to Adams was the tainted
fruit of this Miranda violation. Thus, according to
Adams's attorney, all the evidence flowing from that text
message should be suppressed.
federal law, a criminal defendant lacks standing to seek
suppression of evidence obtained through a police violation
of someone else's constitutional rights. But Alaska law
recognizes a limited exception to this lack-of-standing rule.
In Waring v. State,670 P.2d 357, 363 (Alaska 1983),
our supreme court held that even though criminal defendants
normally lack standing to complain if the police violate
someone else's constitutional rights, a defendant in
Alaska can assert a violation of another
person's constitutional rights if the police engage in a
"gross or shocking" ...