Devier v. State

Decision Date13 May 1981
Docket Number37416,Nos. 37331,s. 37331
Citation277 S.E.2d 729,247 Ga. 635
PartiesDEVIER v. The STATE
CourtGeorgia Supreme Court

Harl C. Duffey, Jr., Duffey & Duffey, Rome, for Darrell Gene Devier, sr.

Larry Salmon, Dist. Atty., Rome, Arthur K. Bolton, Atty. Gen., for the state.

MARSHALL, Justice.

The appellant was indicted for rape and murder in the Floyd Superior Court. He filed a plea to the jurisdiction and venue of the superior court. In this plea, he attacks the constitutionality of a mid-19th century statute adding to Floyd County the land lot in which the crimes here were allegedly committed. The appellant also filed a motion to suppress items of clothing seized from his trailer, on the ground that the allegations of the police officer's affidavit were insufficient to authorize the justice of the peace (referred to, infra, as magistrate) in finding probable cause to issue the search warrant.

The plea to the venue and motion to suppress were overruled by the superior court. We granted the appellant's applications to appeal. Case No. 37331 is the appeal from the overruling of the plea to the venue. Case No. 37416 is the appeal from the overruling of the motion to suppress.


1. The crimes are alleged to have been committed in Floyd County, Land Lot 61, 16th District, 3rd Section.

This land lot was added to Floyd County by the enactment of Ga. Laws 1851-52, pp. 65-66, which is entitled: "An Act to alter or change the line between the Counties of Lee and Sumter so that Lot 53 in the 15th District of Sumter, wherein Moses W. Bryan resides, shall be added to and included in the County of Lee; and to change the line between Counties of Lumpkin and Hall, between the Counties of Cobb and Cherokee, and other lines named therein." (Emphasis supplied.) Although the title of the Act does not expressly state, in the body of the Act the boundary line between Floyd County and Cass County (now Bartow County) is changed so as to include various specified land lots within Floyd County. One of the land lots so included in Floyd County is Land Lot 61.

2. The appellant argues that since there is no expression in the title of the Act that the boundary line of Floyd County is being changed, the Act is violative of Art. III, Sec. VII, Par. IV of the Georgia Constitution (Code Ann. § 2-1304): "No law shall pass which refers to more than one subject matter, or contains matter different from what is expressed in the title thereof." We agree with the superior court that this argument is without merit.

"In interpreting Code Ann. § 2-1304, this court has consistently noted that 'It was never intended that the substance of the entire act should be set forth in the caption. It was not contemplated that every detail stated in the body should be mentioned in the caption. If what follows after the enacting clause is definitely related to what is expressed in the title, has a natural connection, and relates to the main object of legislation, and is not in conflict therewith, there is no infringement of the constitutional inhibition.' Cady v. Jardine, 185 Ga. 9, 10-11, 193 S.E. 869 (1937)." Frazer v. City of Albany, 245 Ga. 399, 401, 265 S.E.2d 581 (1980). "The constitution does not require that the title of an act should contain a synopsis of the law, but that the act should contain no matter variant from the title. If the title is descriptive generally of the purposes of the act, it is sufficient, and it is not necessary that it should particularize the several provisions contained in the body of the act." Howell v. State, 71 Ga. 224 (1883).

As held in Martin v. Broach, 6 Ga. 21(2) (1849), "Where the title specifies some of the objects for which the Statute was passed, and contains this general clause 'And for other purposes therein contained,' portions of the Act not specially indicated in the title, are, nevertheless, good, under this general clause." This is essentially what we have here. Therefore, we hold that this Act does not run afoul of Code Ann. § 2-1304.

Motion to Suppress

3. It was stipulated below that the allegations in the police officer's sworn affidavit constitute the sole basis for the magistrate's finding of probable cause and consequent issuance of the search warrant.

The allegations of probable cause contained in the affidavit are as follows: "I, R. A. Sullivan, being duly sworn as Investigator and Deputy Sheriff of Bartow County, Georgia, make this affidavit, based on belowlisted information and probable cause ... that on Saturday morning, December 1, 1979, the body of Mary Frances Stone was found murdered in Bartow County, Georgia ... Information received from witnesses on November 30, 1979, and December 1, 1979, indicate that a vehicle fitting the description of the suspect, Darrell Devier's vehicle was seen at victim's driveway where she was kidnapped. Witness also identified picture of suspect as fitting description of suspect seen in vehicle in area. Also by statement from suspect that he knew the victim, had watched her kick her legs up practicing with the baton. Also information from Rome City Police Dept., that suspect had been a suspect in a very similar case in Floyd County, Ga. Based on above information, I, R. A. Sullivan, request search warrant for trailer described above. 1. Witness seen vehicle fitting suspect's vehicle back out of victim's driveway at time victim disappeared. 2. Witness, that picked suspect's picture out of line-up of pictures, saying suspect fit description of suspect seen where victim taken from driveway. 3. Suspect's own statement that he had seen victim before and that he (suspect) was in area when victim disappeared. 4. Information from Rome City Police that same suspect has been questioned in a crime with identical M. O. as the one in Bartow County."

4. The question for decision is whether these allegations of the affidavit, which are based on hearsay information, were sufficient to authorize the magistrate in finding probable cause.

The rule is that an affidavit supporting a search warrant may be based on hearsay information so long as there is a substantial basis for crediting the hearsay. Spinelli v. United States, 393 U.S. 410, 89 S.Ct. 584, 21 L.Ed.2d 637 (1969); United States v. Ventresca, 380 U.S. 102, 85 S.Ct. 741, 13 L.Ed. 684 (1965); Aguilar v. Texas, 378 U.S. 108, 84 S.Ct. 1509, 12 L.Ed. 723 (1964); Rugendorf v. United States, 376 U.S. 528, 84 S.Ct. 825, 11 L.Ed. 887 (1964); Jones v. United States, 362 U.S. 257, 80 S.Ct. 725, 4 L.Ed.2d 697) (1960). When an application for a search warrant has been made by the police to a neutral and detached magistrate, and the magistrate has issued the warrant based on a finding of probable cause, a reviewing court will pay substantial deference to the magistrate's finding. Aguilar v. Texas, supra.

Here, the magistrate was apprised of the fact that a murder had been committed. The magistrate was informed that witnesses placed the suspect and his vehicle, not only in the area of the victim's residence at the time of the crimes, but in her driveway as well. In addition, it was stated in the search warrant affidavit that the suspect admitted being in the area at the time.

In our opinion, this information was sufficient to authorize the magistrate in finding probable cause to exist for issuance of the warrant to search the trailer described in the affidavit, which was suspect's residence. Accordingly, we hold that the magistrate's probable-cause determination is entitled to judicial deference.

5. In so holding, we have not ignored the argument that the information contained in this affidavit was not plenary enough to satisfy the two-pronged Aguilar-Spinelli test.

Aguilar and Spinelli hold that where an affidavit for a search warrant is based on information received from a confidential informant, there must be a...

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31 cases
  • Devier v. State
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • 29 Noviembre 1984
    ...which established the present Floyd-Bartow county line and, as well, the court's ruling on a motion to suppress. Devier v. State, 247 Ga. 635, 277 S.E.2d 729 (1981). Subsequently, Devier was convicted in Floyd County of rape and murder and sentenced to death. This court reversed, finding me......
  • Williams v. State
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • 5 Diciembre 1983
    ...based on a finding of probable cause, a reviewing court will pay substantial deference to the magistrate's finding." Devier v. State, 247 Ga. 635, 277 S.E.2d 729 (1981). In Murphy v. State, 238 Ga. 725, 234 S.E.2d 911 (1977), we stated that before a warrant may issue, the issuing magistrate......
  • Flewelling v. State
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • 16 Octubre 2009
    ...309, 310(1), 316 S.E.2d 864 (1984); Wilcoxen v. State, 162 Ga.App. 800, 801(2), 292 S.E.2d 905 (1982). See also Devier v. State, 247 Ga. 635, 638(5), 277 S.E.2d 729 (1981) (holding that the requirement to show the reliability of the informant does not apply with full force to hearsay allega......
  • Devier v. Zant, s. 89-8628
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • 23 Septiembre 1993
    ...Court had earlier denied certain other claims raised by Devier, not relevant here, on interlocutory appeal. See Devier v. State, 247 Ga. 635, 277 S.E.2d 729 (1981).2 See Devier v. State, 253 Ga. 604, 323 S.E.2d 150 (1984).3 See Devier v. Georgia, 471 U.S. 1009, 105 S.Ct. 1877, 85 L.Ed.2d 16......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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