Idaho rejects Heien mistake of law under state constitution. State v. Pettit, 2017 Ida. App. LEXIS 75 (Sept. 29, 2017):
C. The Mistake of Law Does Not Prevent Suppression
Next, we determine whether an objectively reasonable mistake of law amounts to a good faith exception to Idaho’s independent exclusionary rule, so that here, suppression would be inappropriate. The State argues that Heien v. North Carolina, 135 S. Ct. 530, 190 L. Ed. 2d 475 (2014) requires the Court to treat the officer’s unconstitutional stop as valid for suppression purposes. Indeed, the State points to the United States Supreme Court’s observation in Heien that for suppression purposes, there should be no distinction between an officer’s reasonable mistake of fact and a reasonable mistake of law. Id. at 536 (“There is no reason, under the text of the Fourth Amendment or our precedents, why this same result should be acceptable when reached by way of a reasonable mistake of fact, but not when reached by way of a similarly reasonable mistake of law.”). But the State’s use of [*13] Heien looks only to the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and ignores Article 1, § 17 of the Idaho Constitution.
The Idaho Supreme Court’s interpretation of Article 1, § 17 departed from the United States Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Fourth Amendment in State v. Guzman, 122 Idaho 981, 998, 842 P.2d 660, 677 (1992). (“[W]e finally and unequivocally no longer adhere to a policy of sheepishly following in the footsteps of the U.S. Supreme Court in the area of state constitutional analysis.”) In Guzman, the Idaho Supreme Court determined Article 1, § 17 of the Idaho Constitution would no longer be limited by a good faith exception. Guzman, 122 Idaho at 993, 842 P.2d at 672. The Idaho Supreme Court gave several reasons why under Article 1, § 17 a good faith, mistake of law exception should not be allowed:
1) provide an effective remedy to persons who have been subjected to an unreasonable government search and/or seizure; 2) deter the police from acting unlawfully in obtaining evidence; 3) encourage thoroughness in the warrant issuing process; 4) avoid having the judiciary commit an additional constitutional violation by considering evidence which has been obtained through illegal means; and 5) preserve judicial integrity.
Guzman, 122 Idaho at 993, 842 P.2d at 672.
The Idaho Supreme Court affirmed Guzman’s validity in State v. Koivu, 152 Idaho 511, 272 P.3d 483 (2012), where the Court reiterated the Guzman Court’s reasoning, refused to reject Idaho’s independent exclusionary rule, and reinforced the rule that Idaho courts will continue to construe Article 1, § 17 of the Idaho Constitution “to provide greater protection than is provided by the United States Supreme Court’s construction of the Fourth Amendment.” Koivu, 152 Idaho at 519, 272 P.3d at 491.
The State nonetheless advocates for a good faith, mistake of law exception on the basis that traffic stops are only minimal intrusions on privacy as compared to warrantless searches of a person, home, car, or other property and that not creating a good faith exception is inconsistent with the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Michigan v. DeFillippo, 443 U.S. 31, 99 S. Ct. 2627, 61 L. Ed. 2d 343 (1979) (imposing a good faith exception for an officer’s acts performed pursuant to a statute later declared unconstitutionally vague). Neither of these arguments address the Idaho Supreme Court’s reasoning in Guzman or Koivu for not maintaining a good faith exception. First, HN14Go to the description of this Headnote.even a minimal intrusion upon an individual’s privacy may amount to an unreasonable government search or seizure. Second, DeFillippo’s inconsistency is irrelevant; both Heien and DeFillippo have no bearing on whether Idaho’s independent exclusionary rule is operable, allowing courts to suppress evidence even as to a reasonable mistake of law. Therefore, the Court declines to follow Heien or DeFillippo and adopt a good faith exception for an officer’s objectively reasonable mistake of law. As such, we affirm the district court’s ruling suppressing the resulting evidence obtained by the officer’s stop of Pettit’s vehicle.