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State v. Daggett

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Second Division

May 28, 2019

STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
LELAND DWAYNE DAGGETT, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Henry County, Missouri The Honorable James Kelso Journey, Judge

          Before: Thomas N. Chapman, Presiding Judge, Mark D. Pfeiffer, and Cynthia L. Martin, Judges

          OPINION

          THOMAS N. CHAPMAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         Summary

         Leland Daggett (Daggett) appeals from his convictions, following a trial by jury before the Circuit Court of Henry County, Missouri. Daggett argues that the circuit court erred when it overruled his pretrial motion to suppress evidence, which included methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, and firearms, seized from a garden in the vicinity of a home. Daggett contends that, while the warrant permitted a search of the home, it did not expressly authorize a search of a nearby garden; and, because the garden was not part of the dwelling's curtilage, the search went beyond the scope of the search warrant. We affirm.

         Facts & Procedure[1]

         In July of 2015, a detective of the St. Clair Sheriff's Department met with a confidential informant who advised him about possible drug activity occurring at 4926 SE 401 Road, Osceola, Missouri. Leland Daggett was known to have been living on the property. On July 15, 2015, the police obtained a warrant to search Daggett's residence.[2] The following day, police officers began surveilling the property at approximately 1:30 p.m. from a wooded area. The surveillance lasted four hours. During this time, officers observed various individuals coming and going from the residence and saw Daggett go to a garden located within 20-30 yards from the home "a few times."

         Late in the afternoon, police observed a woman arrive at the premises. Daggett met with her for several minutes, went to his garden, and handed an item to the woman who placed it in her shirt or bra area. The exchange was consistent with a hand-to-hand drug transaction. Shortly thereafter, more police officers arrived to execute the search warrant.

         Police made contact with Daggett and searched him. They found a bag in his pocket with the corners cut out of it[3] and a white powdery substance that appeared to be methamphetamine. The police then searched Daggett's garden after the surveillance team advised that Daggett had visited the garden multiple times. In the west side of the garden among some lower-lying vegetables, police found a black container that was partially buried in a "cubbyhole" and was covered by some loose hay. Inside the container, they found two digital scales, a spoon, two plastic bags, a playing card, and a large bag with 9.4 grams of crystal methamphetamine.

         On the north side of the garden, among some corn plants, the officers spotted a loose pile of dirt that appeared to have recently been disturbed. They ran a metal detector over the top of the area, which signaled that there was something metal buried beneath. They unearthed a bucket with a .22 caliber revolver inside of it. The metal detector signaled again when the officers ran it over a different location in the garden (south of where they had found the black container). There they found a container that was partially submerged in another "cubbyhole" covered by some loose hay. Inside the container, the officers found a .38 Special revolver.

         Daggett was subsequently charged as a prior and persistent drug offender[4] with one count of attempted distribution of a controlled substance (a Class B felony) and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm (a Class C felony). Daggett filed a motion to suppress the evidence seized as a result of the search, contending that the search exceeded the scope of the warrant and thus violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment. The circuit court denied the motion, "find[ing] that the garden in which the contested evidence was found and seized was within the curtilage of the residence."

         Daggett was found guilty on all three counts and sentenced to ten years' imprisonment for each conviction to be served concurrently. He timely appeals.

         Discussion

         In his sole point on appeal, Daggett argues that the circuit court erred in denying his motion to suppress the evidence seized from the garden (and the photographs of such evidence) in that the officers' search of the garden was not authorized ...


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