Ewers v. State

In Ewers v. State, 909 P.2d 373 (Alaska App. 1996) a state trooper was investigating a charge of a felon in possession of a concealable firearm. Around midnight, the trooper went to a fishing boat that was Ewers's residence. He knocked on the door of the boat and received no answer. He then opened the door a few inches and awakened a man who he thought could contact Ewers. The man yelled to Ewers that a trooper wanted to talk to him. The trooper stepped into the doorway and Ewers came from a different part of the boat and met the trooper. The trooper asked if he could come in out of the weather. Ewers agreed and the trooper talked to Ewers about whether Ewers owned a pistol. When Ewers admitted owning a pistol, the trooper arrested Ewers for being a felon in possession and Ewers was later convicted of this charge. Ewers moved to suppress, arguing that the trooper had violated his rights by making a warrantless entry of the boat. The trial judge denied Ewers's motion to suppress. On appeal, the Court assumed that the trooper's initial entry of the boat was unlawful. But we held that "the taint of an unlawful entry may be dissipated by a subsequent, voluntary consent." The Court upheld the trial judge's factual finding that Ewers had voluntarily consented to the trooper's presence aboard the boat.