ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS
MaryGay Kennedy, Justice.
before the court is Defendant's Motion to Suppress. A
hearing was held on November 7, 2017. The State presented the
testimony of Officer Bryan Parker of the Auburn Police
Department and a cruiser video of the incident, including the
arrest and search of Ms. Pagnani's jacket and vehicle.
The court has reviewed the file, the applicable case law and
makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:
12:00 p.m. on January 17, 2017, Officer Parker observed the
Defendant, Donna Pagnani, driving a white 1997 Ford Escort as
she was leaving the Androscoggin Superior Court. Officer
Parker was familiar with Ms. Pagnani's
"extensive" criminal history, including a May 2016
arrest by New Hampshire State Police for drug sales. He ran a
license check on Ms. Pagnani but did not receive a response
until she had driven out of sight. Officer Parker learned
subsequently that Ms. Pagnani's license was suspended and
she had a prior OAS conviction. Officer Parker then drove to
the residence where he was "pretty sure she lived."
He parked his unmarked police car and waited for her to
2 hours later, Officer Parker observed Ms. Pagnani drive by
him. He also noticed a pair of sunglasses hanging from the
rearview mirror of her vehicle, which constituted an
"obstructed view." Saying, "Here we go, "
Officer Parker activated his emergency lights and followed
Ms. Pagnani's vehicle into the driveway of her residence.
Pagnani got out of the car, Officer Parker approached and
advised her that her license was suspended for failure to pay
a fine. Ms. Pagnani said she was not under suspension and
that she had "paid the fine." She provided Officer
Parker with her license, registration and insurance, while
attempting to contact the violations bureau to verify that
she had paid the fine.
Parker ran another license check and confirmed that Ms.
Pagnani's license was suspended. In addition to telling
her that her license was suspended and while she continued to
reach the violations bureau, Officer Parker asked her about
the New Hampshire case. Ms. Pagnani responded that it had
been dropped. He asked her how much weight she had been
charged with and she said that did not matter because the
case was dropped. Officer Parker asked Ms. Pagnani if she had
any drugs or weapons on her person or in her car. She said
she had nothing. He asked for her consent to search the
vehicle and she said no. Officer Parker then told Ms. Pagnani
she was under arrest for operating after suspension with a
Pagnani did not willingly submit to arrest, saying she had
"done nothing wrong." She asked for time to speak
with the violations bureau. On several occasions, Officer
Parker told her to put the phone down. She called to her
mother, who was presumably inside the residence, to provide
the proof of payment. She called out for a neighbor, stating
that she was being harassed and falsely arrested. She started
going towards the house and Officer Parker told her not to
move away. She continued walking, took off her jacket, placed
it on a seat on the porch, and sat down on it. Ms. Pagnani
was in a sleeveless blouse and it was 34 degrees out.
Parker called for backup. When the other officers arrived,
they helped place Ms. Pagnani in handcuffs and put her in the
back of Officer Parker's vehicle. Ms. Pagnani asked what
she was being arrested for and Officer Parker responded that
she was being arrested for operating after suspension.
Ms. Pagnani was handcuffed and secured in the vehicle,
Officer Parker conducted a warrantless search of the jacket
she had removed and left on the porch. In it he found a small
loose rock. Based on his training, education and experience,
he believed it was cocaine base. He then tried opening the
doors to Ms. Pagnani's car but they were locked.
Parker asked one of the officers if Ms. Pagnani had the keys
to her car in her hand, which she did. He advised the other
officers that he had found cocaine base in her jacket and was
going to "toss the car." They physically took her
keys from her. Officer Parker then searched the vehicle. One
of the other officers looked around the porch, in the trunk
of the vehicle, and the area immediately around the
Officer Parker's search of the vehicle he found Ms.
Pagnani's purse. Underneath it, he located a sandwich
baggie containing 5 total baggies of a tan/brown powder.
Based on his training, education and experience, Officer
Parker believed the tan/brown powder was heroin.
Pagnani contends that the warrantless search of her jacket
and vehicle was unreasonable and asks this court to suppress
the items seized in accordance with the Fourth Amendment of
the United States Constitution and the Maine Constitution.
State asserts that the search of Ms. Pagnani's personal
property, car and the area around the residence was done