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State v. Lucas

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Second Division

October 21, 2014

STATE OF MISSOURI, Appellant,
v.
ROY D. LUCAS, Respondent

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Randolph County, Missouri. The Honorable Scott Alan Hayes, Judge.

Adam Stephen Rowley, Jefferson City, Missouri, Counsel for Appellant.

Samuel E. Buffaloe, Columbia, Missouri, Counsel for Respondent.

Before Division Two: Victor C. Howard P.J., James E. Welsh, Anthony Rex Gabbert JJ. All concur.

OPINION

Anthony Rex Gabbert, Judge

Page 642

The State of Missouri appeals the circuit court's judgment suppressing all evidence seized, and statements made by Roy D. Lucas, after executing a search warrant at Lucas's residence. The State raises one point on appeal. The State argues that the circuit court erred in suppressing all evidence obtained as a result of the search of Lucas's residence because the exclusionary rule should not have been applied. The State contends that the officers who executed the search reasonably, and in good faith, relied on a facially valid search warrant. We affirm.

Factual Background

On July 24, 2013, Judge Cindy Suter issued a warrant to search 825 E. Logan St. for marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, drug paraphernalia, cell phones, digital recording devices, cameras, and other related items related to the drug trade. The affidavit of Sergeant Mark Arnsperger was submitted in support of probable cause for the search warrant. Officers executed the search warrant and seized a cell phone, six pipes for marijuana or methamphetamine, two BB pistols, a pistol cap gun, gun holsters, a knife, a bandana, a marijuana cigarette, and a homemade videotape.

Lucas was charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance, and one count of maintaining or keeping a public nuisance, both of which are class C felonies. Before trial, Lucas filed a motion to suppress all evidence seized from him at his residence. The trial court held a hearing on the motion. The court found that the " issuing judge did not have a substantial basis for concluding that there was a fair probability that evidence related to methamphetamine would be found on [Lucas's] property. As such, the determination that probable cause existed in this case was clearly erroneous." [1] The court also held that the good-faith exception did not apply because the officers acted in bad faith by seizing items that were not contemplated by the warrant. The court suppressed all evidence seized and all of Lucas's statements. The State appeals.

Exclusionary Rule

In the State's only point on appeal, it argues that the circuit court erred in suppressing all evidence obtained as a result of the search of Lucas's residence because the exclusionary rule should not have been applied. The State contends that the officers who executed the search reasonably, and in good faith, relied on a facially valid search warrant. We find no error.

" We review a trial court's ruling on a motion to suppress to determine if it is supported by substantial evidence, and we reverse the trial court's ruling only if it is clearly erroneous." State v. Ellis, 355 S.W.3d 522, 523 (Mo. App. 2011) (citing State v. Johnson, 354 S.W.3d 627 (Mo. banc 2011)). " We view the facts and reasonable inferences therefrom in the light most favorable to the trial court's ruling, and we disregard contrary evidence and inferences." Id. However, whether the exclusionary rule applies in a particular case is a question of law that we review de novo. Id.

Generally evidence obtained as a direct result of an unlawful search or seizure is considered " fruit of the poisonous tree" and is inadmissible at trial. Mapp v Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 655, 81 S.Ct. 1684, 6 L.Ed.2d 1081, ...


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