Made available by Touch N' Go Systems, Inc. and
This was Gottstein but needs to change to what?
406 G Street, Suite 210, Anchorage, AK 99501
(907) 274-7686 fax 274-9493

You can of the Alaska Court of Appeals opinions.

Touch N' Go, the DeskTop In-and-Out Board makes your office run smoother. Visit Touch N' Go's Website to see how.


Snook v. State (9/1/2017) ap-2565

Snook v. State (9/1/2017) ap-2565

                                                                                               NOTICE
  

                The text             of   this opinion can be corrected before the opinion is published in the                                                

                Pacific Reporter                    .   Readers are encouraged to bring typographical or other formal                                                  

                errors to the attention of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts:    



                                                              303 K Street, Anchorage, Alaska  99501  

                                                                                  Fax:  (907) 264-0878  

                                                                    E-mail:  corrections@ akcourts.us  



                                   IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF ALASKA                                                                         



CRAIG  SNOOK,  

                                                                                                                           Court of Appeals No. A-12184  

                                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                 Appellant,                                            Trial Court No. 3AN-14-1174 CR  

                                                                                                                                                                                              



                                                v.  

                                                                                                                                           O  P  I  N  I  O  N  

                                                                                                                                                                              

STATE OF ALASKA,  

                          



                                                                 Appellee.                                                No. 2565 - September 1, 2017  

                                                                                                                                                                                        



                                Appeal              from  the   Superior   Court,  Third  Judicial   District,  

                                                                                                                                                            

                                Anchorage, Michael R. Spaan, Judge.  

                                                                                                      



                                Appearances:  Doug Miller, Law Office of Douglas S. Miller,  

                                                                                                                                                                 

                                Anchorage, for the Appellant.  Terisia K. Chleborad,  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,  

                                                                                                                                                     

                                Judges.  

                                                   



                                Judge MANNHEIMER.  

                                               



                                On the evening of February 2, 2014, an Anchorage police officer saw a                                                                                                         



vehicle "fishtail" as the driver made a turn from Arctic Boulevard east onto Fireweed                                                                                                      



Lane.   As the driver made the turn, the rear end of the vehicle slid into the adjacent lane.                                                                                                                      


----------------------- Page 2-----------------------

                                                                                                                             

The driver immediately corrected the vehicle, but the officer decided to make a traffic  



         

stop.  



                                                                                                                                  

                     Craig Snook, a convicted felon, was a passenger in this vehicle.  During the  



                                                                                                                           

traffic stop, the officer discovered that Snook was in possession of a concealable firearm  



                                                                                                                   

and metal knuckles.  In addition, Snook gave a false name to the officer.  



                                                                                                                      

                     Based  on  this  incident,  Snook  was  charged  with  -  and  ultimately  



                                                                                                                               

convicted of - third- and fourth-degree weapons misconduct, as well as giving false  



                                                  

information to a police officer.  



                                                                                                                                

                     Before trial, Snook's attorney filed a motion arguing that the traffic stop  



                                                                                                                                 

was unlawful, and that therefore the evidence against Snook should be suppressed.  The  



                                                                                                                   

superior court denied this motion, and Snook renews his claim on appeal.  



                                                                                                                             

                     The  superior  court  found  that  the  traffic  stop   was  justified  under  



                                                                                                       

 09.22.030.B of the Anchorage Municipal Code.  This ordinance reads:  



                       

                                                                 

                     Starting Parked or Stopped Vehicle.
  

                                      

                               .  .   .
  



                                                                                                               

                               B.     No  person  may  accelerate  a  vehicle  which  is  

                                                                                                                

                     stopped, standing or parked on or along a street, or which is  

                                                                                                            

                     entering a street, so rapidly as to unnecessarily cause the tires  

                                                                                                             

                     to squeal or spin on the street, or on the surface on which the  

                                                                                                               

                     vehicle is standing immediately before it enters the street, or  

                                                                                                            

                     in a manner which causes the driver to lose control of  the  

                                                                                      

                     vehicle or causes the vehicle to "fishtail."  



                                                                                                                                 

                     The superior court acknowledged that the State presented no evidence that  



                                                                                                                                  

the vehicle accelerated from a "stopped, standing, or parked" position.   However, the  



                                                                                                                             

superior court ruled that when the driver of the vehicle made  the  turn from Arctic  



                                                                                                                             

Boulevard onto Fireweed Lane, the driver "entered a street" (i.e., Fireweed Lane) within  



                                                                - 2 -                                                          2565
  


----------------------- Page 3-----------------------

 the meaning of this ordinance, and thus                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the   ensuing fishtailing was a violation of the                                                                                                                                                                                                                        



 ordinance.    



                                                                                    We disagree with the superior court's interpretation of the ordinance's                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   



phrase "entering a street".                                                                                                                                          As we are about to explain, the ordinance is directed toward                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               



 vehicles that enter a street from an off-street location - for example, from a parking lot                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  



 or a driveway.                                                                              



                                                                                    We acknowledge that the ordinance is worded somewhat confusingly; the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                



 text consists of a single, convoluted sentence.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           But when this sentence is parsed, we see                                                                                                                                                                                                    



 that the ordinance specifies four circumstances in which a                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               driver   is forbidden from                                                                                                        



 "accelerat[ing] a vehicle" in a manner that leads to the driver's losing control of the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                



 vehicle, or to the vehicle's fishtailing, or even to unnecessary squealing or spinning of                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   



 the vehicle's tires.                                                            



                                                                                     The   four   specified   circumstances   in   which   a   driver   is   prohibited   from  



 accelerating in this manner are (1) when the vehicle is "stopped" on or along a street,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   



 (2)  when the vehicle is "standing" on or along a street, (3) when the vehicle is "parked"                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         



 on or along a street, or (4) when the vehicle is "entering a street".                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      



                                                                                     The first three of these circumstances clearly deal with vehicles that are not                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      



 moving in traffic - situations where a driver accelerates a non-moving vehicle so as to                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         



 enter the flow of traffic.                                                                                                                               The fourth circumstance mentioned in the ordinance, when a                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 



 vehicle is "entering a street", is more ambiguous.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But under the principle of                                                                                                                                                     ejusdem  



generis, when a statute or ordinance contains a list of things, actions, or circumstances,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      



 a court will interpret any individual member of that list by looking to the other members                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       1  

 of the list, so as to preserve the common unifying principle.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               



                      1                   See Sapp v. State                                                                                         , 379 P.3d 1000, 1002 (Alaska App. 2016).                                                                                                                                                                             



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   - 3 -                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             2565
  


----------------------- Page 4-----------------------

                                                                                Here, the common unifying principle appears to be the regulation of drivers                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                



who are about to accelerate a vehicle that is standing still, so that they can enter the flow                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         



 of traffic on a street. Accordingly, we construe the phrase "entering a street" as meaning                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     



 entering a street from an off-street location such as a parking lot or driveway.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             



                                                                                This interpretation is bolstered by another clause of the ordinance - the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      



 clause that speaks of acceleration that causes a vehicle's tires "to [unnecessarily] squeal                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                



 or spin on the street, or                                                                                                                      on the surface on which the vehicle is standing immediately                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           



before it enters the street                                                                                                                         ".   Here, the phrase "enters the street" clearly refers to vehicles                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           



that are entering a street from a "standing" position -                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i.e., vehicles that are essentially                                                                                               



 stationary and are about to enter the flow of traffic from an off-street location.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  



                                                                                Because the ordinance uses the phrase "enters the street" in this particular                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               



 sense when the ordinance speaks of acceleration that causes unnecessary squealing or                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               



 spinning of tires, we presume that the ordinance means the same thing when it speaks of                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              



 acceleration that causes a driver to lose control of their vehicle, or that causes the vehicle                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         



to fishtail, when the vehicle "is entering a street".                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 In other words, we presume that the                                                                                                                                                                      



 ordinance is again speaking of vehicles that are essentially stationary and are about to                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            



 enter the flow of traffic from an off-street location.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           



                                                                                This is an application of the principle of                                                                                                                                                                                                  noscitur a sociis                                                                                        - the principle                            



that "where the meaning of a word is unclear in one part of a statute but clear in another                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           



part, the clear meaning can be imparted to the unclear usage on the assumption that the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        



word means the same thing throughout the statute."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Dawson v. State                                                                                      , 264 P.3d 851, 858                                                                        

 (Alaska App. 2011).                                                                                                        2  



                                                                                We also note that this interpretation of the ordinance is consistent with its  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     



title, "Starting Parked or Stopped Vehicle".  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   



                    2                   QuotingNormanJ.Singer,                                                                                                                            Sutherland'sStatutesand Statutory Construction                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           (Seventh  



 edition, 2007 revision),  47.16, Vol. 2A, pp. 356-57.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      - 4 -                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 2565
  


----------------------- Page 5-----------------------

                                                                                                                    

                    (On the record currently before us, we do not know whether the Anchorage  



                                                                                                                              

Municipal Assembly expressly enacted this title when it enacted the ordinance - for,  



                                                                                                                    

under  Anchorage  Municipal Code   01.05.070.B.2,  it  is  the  duty  of  the  municipal  



                                                                                                                   

attorney to provide the wording for all section and  subsection titles in the Anchorage  



                                                                                                                        

Municipal Code.   If the municipal attorney wrote the title for  09.22.030.B without  



                                                                                                                               

consulting the municipal assembly, then the title of the ordinance would not reflect the  



                                                                                                               

assembly's intention.   But even in that case, the title  would  reflect the interpretation  



                                                                                                      

given to the ordinance by the municipality's chief law enforcement officer.)  



                                                                                                                            

                    For allof these reasons, we conclude that when Anchorage MunicipalCode  



                                                                                                                      

 09.22.030.B speaks of a vehicle that "is entering a street", the ordinance is speaking  



                                                                                                                                

of vehicles that are entering a street from an off-street location such as a parking lot or  



                                                                                                                            

driveway, and not vehicles that are already moving in traffic and are making a turn from  



                                      

one street onto another.  



                                                                                                                       

                    Accordingly, the ordinance did not authorize the traffic stop that occurred  



                                                                                                                                    

in Snook's case, and the superior court should have granted Snook's motion to suppress.  



                                                                                                      

                    The judgement of the superior court is REVERSED.  



                                                              - 5 -                                                          2565
  

Case Law
Statutes, Regs & Rules
Constitutions
Miscellaneous


IT Advice, Support, Data Recovery & Computer Forensics.
(907) 338-8188

Please help us support these and other worthy organizations:
Law Project for Psychiatraic Rights
Soteria-alaska
Choices
AWAIC