from the Superior Court No. 3AN-12-654 CR, Third Judicial
District, Anchorage, Jack W. Smith, Judge.
N. Chaobal, Anchorage, for the Appellant.
Stein, 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,
evening of January 21, 2012, Mikos Cassadine Simmons was
driving in Anchorage with his girlfriend and their child. An
Anchorage police officer stopped Simmons's vehicle
because its taillights were darkened and its license plate
was partially obscured by snow.
officer who made the stop, Chad Schaeffer, asked to see
Simmons's driver's license. Simmons replied that he
did not have his driver's license with him, but he told
Officer Schaeffer his name, his date of birth, and his social
security number, and he gave the officer his voter
registration card. After Schaeffer returned to his patrol car
and verified all of this information, he prepared to issue a
citation to Simmons for driving without his driver's
license in his possession.
while Officer Schaeffer was on the radio confirming
Simmons's identity, a patrol sergeant, Jack Carson,
informed him that Simmons was a dangerous person, and that he
was "associated" with drugs and guns. Sergeant
Carson told Officer Schaeffer not to return to Simmons's
car until Carson could arrive on the scene to provide backup.
filled out the traffic citation, and then he waited for his
sergeant to arrive. Several minutes later, Sergeant Carson
arrived on the scene. Carson and Schaeffer walked up to
Simmons's car. Carson greeted Simmons by name, and he
asked if he could search Simmons's vehicle. Simmons said
no. Sergeant Carson then directed Simmons to get out of his
vehicle and submit to a pat-down search for weapons.
Sergeant Carson was conducting this pat-down search, Officer
Schaeffer positioned himself alongside Simmons's vehicle
so that he could keep an eye on Simmons's girlfriend.
According to Schaeffer's later testimony, he shined a
flashlight into the vehicle and, on the floor of the vehicle,
he observed a sandwich-sized plastic baggie with other
smaller baggies inside it.
meantime, Sergeant Carson had completed his pat-down of
Simmons, and he found no weapons. Nevertheless, Carson then
directed Simmons's girlfriend to get out of the car, so
that the officers could search the entire passenger
compartment for weapons. When Sergeant Carson looked inside
Simmons's car, he observed the same baggies that Officer
Schaeffer had seen. Carson surmised that the baggies
contained heroin, given the appearance of the substance in
the baggies and the way they were packaged. The officers then
arrested Simmons, and the substance was later confirmed to be
attorney moved to suppress the evidence found in
Simmons's car, alleging that the police had improperly
extended the traffic stop. The superior court denied this
suppression motion, and Simmons was ultimately convicted of
fourth-degree controlled substance misconduct (possession of
heroin), former AS 11.71.040(a)(3)(A) (as of 2012).
appeal, Simmons renews his argument that the police
unlawfully extended the traffic stop, and that the evidence
pertaining to the bag of heroin should have been suppressed.
For the reasons explained in this opinion, we agree.
constitutional limits on a routine traffic stop, and why we
conclude that those limits were ...