Bohanan v. State

In Bohanan v. State, 992 P.2d 596 (Alaska App. 1999) the Court held that an informant or a cooperative citizen may lawfully conduct the electronic monitoring or recording authorized by a Glass warrant, even when the informant or civilian acts without direct police supervision. Bohanan, 992 P.2d at 601. In Bohanan A woman contacted the troopers and reported that Bohanan had sexually assaulted her. Based on the woman's report, the troopers obtained a Glass warrant, hoping that the victim could telephone Bohanan and engage him in conversation about the assault. The troopers gave the woman the equipment she needed to record telephone conversations with Bohanan, they instructed her on how to use the equipment, and they gave her pointers on how to speak with Bohanan so as to elicit the kinds of statements the authorities would need to support a prosecution for sexual assault. On appeal, Bohanan contended that the tapes of these conversations should have been suppressed because the taping was done by civilians rather than police officers. The Court held that, "even though the troopers instructed the victim to take the recording equipment home with her and engage Bohanan in conversation without direct participation of any state trooper, ... the required level of police supervision was met" and the tapes were admissible. Id. at 601. The Court discussed the related issue of whether a defendant's prior crime was too "remote" to be admissible. The Court concluded that: "the "remoteness" of a prior crime does not hinge simply on a chronological calculation. A trial judge's determination of "remoteness" also involves a weighing of the circumstances surrounding the two incidents (the prior one and the charged one), an identification of the factors common to the two incidents, and an assessment of whether the probative value of these connecting factors is likely to appreciably diminish with the elapsed time." (Id. at 602.)