© 2024 Boise State Public Radio
NPR in Idaho
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Idaho Supreme Court rules the state must give drug dog records to defendant

Idaho's five supreme court justices
James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio
Idaho's five supreme court justices pictures at Gov. Brad Little's second inauguration in January 2023.

The Idaho Supreme Court says prosecutors must hand over records and videos related to a Boise K9 officer to a woman accused of multiple drug possession charges.

Boise Police pulled over Shawna Rae Pendleton for an expired registration in October 2021. During the stop, a drug dog named Edo sniffed her vehicle and immediately alerted.

Officers found meth, marijuana and Xanax pills in the vehicle.

Pendleton pleaded not guilty to one felony and two misdemeanor charges of possession of a controlled substance and one misdemeanor charge for drug paraphernalia.

As part of the evidence collection process, her lawyer requested certifications, training reports and videos of Edo’s work to determine if the dog was unreliable.

The attorney had personally collected past video of the dog on-duty, according to court records, which allegedly showed a pattern of briefly sniffing a car door before immediately “seeking confirmation” from the handler.

A lower-level court agreed with Pendleton’s request. After watching body cam footage from her arrest, a judge said “…it’s not that obvious to me, from looking at the video, that the dog’s working.”

Prosecutors eventually produced some of the records but said videos and other documents weren’t important to Pendleton’s defense and were too burdensome to collect.

The Idaho Supreme Court unanimously rejected those arguments. The opinion said the records could help her defense and that prosecutors gave no evidence that producing them was too taxing.

The lower court had already reduced the scope of the videos to the previous four months – down from the previous year’s worth of footage.

“There is no factual record before us to suggest that this discovery request is unduly burdensome…” justices wrote.

Edo retired from the Boise Police Department in May after seven years, according to BoiseDev.

A trial date has not yet been set in Pendleton’s criminal case.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

Copyright 2023 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season.

You make stories like this possible.

The biggest portion of Boise State Public Radio's funding comes from readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

Your donation today helps make our local reporting free for our entire community.