Good afternoon! I’ve got a couple of case law updates that you might be interested in.
First, on January 26, the CCA came out with the reversal of a trial court holding out of Marion County, where the trial court failed to suppress the search of the appellant’s home. The Court of Criminal Appeals found that the supporting affidavit lacked evidence sufficient to support the issuance of the warrant. In State v. Mosley, the facts supporting probable cause for the warrant were:
At the suppression hearing, police testified that most meth cooks don’t buy pseudo, but instead have someone do it for them. The officer admitted that he did not know the CI had 2014 convictions for meth, and he knew virtually nothing about the CI’s reliability. The only know he had of meth manufacturing came from the named-CI.
NOTE: The police were treating this warrant as an ANTICIPATORY search warrant, which can be tricky to execute, even though they sound wonderful in practice. The officer is essentially saying, “I anticipate a delivery of drugs or whatever, and I want to then search the house.”
At the end of the suppression hearing, the trial “…requested that the parties ‘brief’ whether Trussell was a citizen informant or a criminal informant because ‘criminals are inherently not reliable.’ The trial court also requested that the parties address whether the affidavit contained a ‘triggering event’ that established probable cause to issue the anticipatory warrant.” The trial court ruled in favor of the State, finding that the informant was a criminal informant, but that he was reliable.
The CCA disagreed. Because the informant was of the criminal milieu, the trial court was required to apply the two-prong standard of reliability found in State v. Jacumin. Specifically, “hearsay information supplied by a confidential informant can not support a finding of probable cause unless it also contains factual information concerning the informant‟s basis of knowledge and credibility.” Henning, 975 S.W.2d at 294-95 (citing Jacumin, 778 S.W.2d at 432, 436).
The CCA disagreed with the State’s argument that the CI’s description of detailed information, such as the presence of tubing and mason jars in the appellant’s house, and the CI’s history of purchasing pseudo made him a credible informant and met the standards set by Jacumin. The CCA found that the search warrant affidavit did not contain any information that would have established informant credibility, nor did the officers’ testimony at the suppression hearing bring to light any other information supporting credibility/reliability.
So, there you have it, State v. Mosley. Read the full opinion HERE.
The second item you might want to check out is the concurring opinion in a homicide case out of Murfreesboro, State v. Kenny Thomason. Judge Witt wrote a concurring opinion stating that he believed the evidence to be insufficient for a premeditated murder. Go here for that, or read the full opinion here.
And the third and final topic is that the Tennessee Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Lemarcus Davidson case. They are debating whether to create an exception to the search warrant requirement that sounds a lot like the Leon good faith exception. Read for yourself here.
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