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Parking Lot Conviction Of Twin Falls Man Upheld

The Idaho Court of Appeals Wednesday has upheld the conviction of a Twin Falls man convicted of possession of a controlled substance in October 2009. the times news reports Raul Martinez-Gonzalez was arrested in the parking lot of his apartment complex after police were called about suspicious activity near the apartment’s laundry room. When police arrived they found Martinez-Gonzalez in the driver’s seat of a parked vehicle with two other passengers. According to court documents, Martinez-Gonzalez told police the group was drinking in the vehicle because their spouses would be upset if they were drinking in the apartment, located half a block away. The officers told the three they should walk home. Instead, Martinez-Gonzalez started the vehicle and drove across the parking lot toward his apartment. Police then made a traffic stop and asked Martinez-Gonzalez to perform field sobriety tests. When he refused, an officer arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence. They also  discovered Martinez-Gonzalez was carrying methamphetamine in his coat pocket. Martinzes argued that he was arrested on private property outside of police jurisdiction, and that the officer did not have probable cause to conclude he was under the influence of alcohol. Idaho’s court of appeals says that the parking lot was private property, but still open to the public since guests of tenants are allowed to park there. The court also found the officer had probable cause to make the stop.

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