Coffey v. State, F-2003-989.

CourtUnited States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma
Writing for the CourtCHAPEL.
Citation99 P.3d 249,2004 OK CR 30
PartiesPete COFFEY, Jr., Appellant v. STATE of Oklahoma, Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. F-2003-989.,F-2003-989.
Decision Date23 September 2004

99 P.3d 249
2004 OK CR 30

Pete COFFEY, Jr., Appellant
STATE of Oklahoma, Appellee

No. F-2003-989.

Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma.

September 23, 2004.

99 P.3d 250
A. Brad Cox, Lawton, OK, Attorney for Defendant at trial

Eddie Valdez, Assistant District Attorney, Lawton, OK, Attorney for State at trial.

Lee Ann Jones Peters, Appellate Defense Counsel, Norman, OK, Attorney for Petitioner on appeal.

W.A. Drew Edmondson, Attorney General of Oklahoma, Ann K. Hadrava, Assistant Attorney General, Oklahoma City, OK, Attorneys for Respondent on appeal.


CHAPEL, Judge:

¶ 1 Pete Coffey, Jr., was tried by jury and convicted of Manufacture of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Methamphetamine) in violation of 63 O.S.Supp.2002, § 2-401, in the District Court of Comanche County, Case No. CF-2002-533. In accordance with the jury's recommendation the Honorable David B. Lewis, District Judge, sentenced Coffey to ten (10) years imprisonment and a $50,000 fine. Coffey appeals from this conviction and sentence.

¶ 2 Coffey raises four propositions of error in support of his appeal:

I. Because the forcible and warrantless entry into the home violated the Fourth Amendment, the evidence found inside was illegally obtained and should have been suppressed;
II. Deputy Pyeatt's expert opinion on the ultimate issue invaded the province of the jury and deprived Coffey of a fair trial;
III. Introducing (1) a letter from the Oklahoma Tax Commission offering amnesty, (2) an advertisement from a casino, and (3) addresses of inmates in prison for attempting to manufacture methamphetamine to prove dominion and control was improper and so tainted the trial with unfairness that Coffey's right to due process was violated; and
IV. It was improper to ask Coffey if another witness had lied when he gave testimony contradictory of Coffey's testimony.

¶ 3 After thorough consideration of the entire record before us on appeal, including the original record, transcripts, exhibits and briefs, we find that neither reversal nor modification is required by the law and evidence. We find in Proposition II that Deputy Pyeatt properly expressed an opinion on the ultimate issue which aided the jury, without telling the jury which conclusion to reach.1

99 P.3d 251
We find in Proposition III that the error in admitting irrelevant evidence of dominion and control does not require relief.2 We find in Proposition IV that the prosecutor did not err in questioning Coffey after he volunteered the statement that an officer was either mistaken or lied on the stand.3

¶ 4 We discuss Proposition I more fully. The search warrant for Coffey's house, which generated the evidence against him, was based on what Officer Maldonado saw during his earlier warrantless entry into the house. Coffey argues that this entry violated his right against illegal search and seizure. Officers testified that they felt compelled to clear the house based on the combination of (a) an anonymous tip reporting a possible body in a carpet; (b) the noise they believed they heard inside the house after Coffey and other people joined officers outside; and (c) the strong odor of ether, a highly dangerous and explosive chemical used in methamphetamine manufacture. Rather than address these circumstances in combination, Coffey focuses on the anonymous tip. He claims that this does not constitute probable cause to search, and the warrantless entry did not fit into any exigent circumstance. However, the evidence showed officers only decided to clear the house after Maldonado confirmed that the chemical odor was ether, in a concentration which appeared to constitute a danger to public safety, and it was possible that someone remained in the house.

¶ 5 The search issue raises a question of first impression. This Court has not considered whether warrantless entry based on likelihood of a clandestine methamphetamine lab constitutes a public safety hazard rising to an exigent circumstance. Several other jurisdictions, including the Tenth Circuit, have found that it does.4 This decision

99 P.3d 252
is justified by the extremely volatile and explosive nature of the chemicals used in manufacturing methamphetamine. These, when found in the unsterile and haphazard settings usually associated with clandestine laboratories, have long been proved to constitute both an immediate health hazard to bystanders and a menace to public safety. The Tenth Circuit set out a test for establishing this public safety exigent circumstance: (a) officers must have reasonable grounds to...

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5 cases
  • State v. Meeks, M2006-01385-SC-R11-CO.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • 2 Septiembre 2008
    ...scope of the exigency. United States v. Layman, 244 Fed.Appx. at 211; State v. Bilynsky, 932 A.2d 1169, 1176 (Me.2007); Coffey v. State, 99 P.3d 249, 252 (Okla.Crim.App.2004).30 D. There is no issue in this case regarding the law enforcement officers having probable cause to believe that th......
  • State v. Lawson, 33401-1-II.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • 10 Octubre 2006
    ...aff'd, 791 F.2d 922 (3d Cir.1986); United States v. Brock, 667 F.2d 1311, 1318 (9th Cir.1982); Coffey v. State, 2004 OK Cr 30, 99 P.3d 249 (Okla.Crim.App.2004); State v. Rowland, 73 S.W.3d 818, 823 (Mo.App. 2002); VanWinkle v. State, 764 N.E.2d 258, 266-67 (Ind.App.2002); State v. Fee, 135 ......
  • State v. Keefe, Case Number: S–2015–961
    • United States
    • United States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma
    • 31 Enero 2017
    ...need to save human life—should forgive, or at least delay, strict compliance with Miranda "); Coffey v. State , 2004 OK CR 30, ¶ 6, 99 P.3d 249, 252 ("[A] warrantless entry may be justified by the immediate need to protect or preserve life or avoid serious injury."); Williams v. State , 196......
  • Barth v. State, 2D05-3643.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 6 Diciembre 2006
    ...Ill.App.3d 416, 285 Ill.Dec. 260, 811 N.E.2d 747 (2004); State v. Pape, 2005 WL 2135139 (Ohio Ct.App.2005) (Slip Op.); Coffey v. State, 99 P.3d 249 (Okla.Crim.App.2004); State v. Gabbard, 129 Or.App. 122, 877 P.2d 1217 (1994); Buchanan v. State, 129 S.W.3d 767 (2004); State v. Franks, 130 W......
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