APPEAL from the Superior Court of Riverside County. Helios (Joe) Hernandez, Judge, and Bambi Moyer, Temporary Judge. (Pursuant to Cal. Const., art. VI, § 21.) (Super.Ct.No. RIF150955)
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hollenhorst J.
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Defendant and respondent Jessie Eli Ramirez Coria was charged with possession for sale of methamphetamine (Health & Saf. Code, § 11378) and transporting methamphetamine (Health & Saf. Code, § 11379, subd. (a)). He moved to suppress the prosecution's evidence against him pursuant to Penal Code section 1538.5, and the court granted the motion. After the motion was granted, the People announced they were unable to proceed without the suppressed evidence. The trial court dismissed the case under Penal Code section 1385. The People now appeal the trial court's granting of the motion to suppress (the motion). We affirm.
At the hearing on the motion to suppress, Deputy Moline of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department Special Enforcement Team testified that on May 25, 2009, he was on routine patrol. He stopped a vehicle for having an "obstructed view," in violation of Vehicle Code section 26708, subdivision (a)(2).*fn1 When asked what was obstructing the driver's view, Deputy Moline said, "He had an air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror." Deputy Moline could not recall what the air freshener looked like. He testified that he had previously stopped approximately six or seven people for that same violation. The prosecutor submitted into evidence a series of photographs that Deputy Moline took to demonstrate "how an air freshener can block your view." Deputy Moline hung an air freshener from a rearview mirror, and then had another deputy stand about 35 feet away from the front of a car. The picture showed that the air freshener obstructed the view of the other deputy.
Defendant was the driver of the car that Deputy Moline had pulled over. Deputy Moline arrested him after determining that he was driving with a suspended driver's license. Defendant was placed in the back of the patrol car. Deputy Moline impounded defendant's car and conducted an inventory search. He found "a suspected marijuana cigarette inside a Marlboro cigarette pack." He then called for a K-9 unit. The K-9 found about 10 grams of methamphetamine in the car.
Defendant and his girlfriend testified at the suppression hearing. His girlfriend testified that a week or two prior to the date of defendant's arrest, she bought him an air freshener that clipped onto the air conditioning vent. She testified that on the morning of May 25, 2009, defendant "came by [her] house" in his car. She did not notice anything hanging from his rearview mirror. Defendant also testified that there was nothing hanging from his rearview mirror that day. He said he remembered clearly that he had an air freshener in the air conditioning vent.
The Trial Court Properly Granted the ...