Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Third Division
Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. Honorable Michael K. Mullen.
FOR APPELLANT: Matthew Huckeby, Assistant Public Defender, Office of the Missouri Public Defender, St. Louis, Missouri.
FOR RESPONDENT: Chris Koster, Attorney General, Andrew C. Hooper, Assistant Attorney General, Jefferson City, Missouri.
Kurt S. Odenwald, Presiding Judge. Robert G. Dowd, Jr., J., Concurs. Gary M. Gaertner, Jr., J., Concurs.
Kurt S. Odenwald, Presiding Judge.
Appellant Darian Halliday (" Halliday" ) appeals from the judgment of the trial court entered upon a jury verdict finding him guilty of one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in violation of Section 571.070 and three counts of felony possession of a controlled substance in violation of Section 195.202. On appeal, Halliday asserts that the trial court plainly erred in overruling his motion to suppress evidence of the firearm and drugs found in Halliday's hotel room because the search warrant which resulted in the seizure of those items was not supported by probable cause. In particular, Halliday argues that the affidavit underlying the warrant relied on hearsay from a confidential informant and there was no substantial basis for crediting the informant's basis of knowledge or veracity. Because we find that the affidavit underlying the warrant was sufficient to support a good-faith belief that the warrant was valid, we decline Halliday's request for plain error review and affirm the judgment of the trial court.
Procedural and Factual Background
On January 27, 2011, a confidential informant (" the CI" ) contacted Detectives Michael Langsdorf and Craig Robertson with information that a person by the name of " Pimp Daddy" was storing and selling cocaine and heroin in Room 216 at America's Best Value Inn in downtown St, Louis. The detectives knew Halliday went by the name " Pimp Daddy," and were familiar with him from previous investigations conducted by their unit. The CI also told the officers that he or she had seen " Pimp Daddy" with a black semi-automatic handgun within the past twenty-four hours.
Shortly after receiving this information, the detectives went to the area around the America's Best Value Inn to conduct surveillance. The America's Best Value Inn is an open-air motel which allowed the detectives to observe individual hotel rooms from the street. When they arrived at the hotel, the detectives observed Halliday standing in a hotel room. While conducting surveillance of Halliday's hotel room, the detectives observed approximately nine people arrive at the hotel at different times throughout the day, knock on Halliday's door, enter the hotel room, and then leave after staying for less than two minutes. During one of these visits, the detectives observed Halliday conduct what appeared to be a hand-to-hand drug transaction.
Based upon the information from the CI and the detectives' subsequent surveillance of the hotel, the detectives requested a warrant to search Halliday's hotel room at the America's Best Value Inn. The warrant was granted, but before the warrant could be executed, the same ...