Meeks v. State

Citation356 So.2d 45
Decision Date08 March 1978
Docket NumberNo. 77-1768,77-1768
PartiesDonald Gene MEEKS, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)

Jack O. Johnson, Public Defender, and Susan G. Sexton, Asst. Public Defender, Bartow, for appellant.

Robert L. Shevin, Atty. Gen., Tallahassee, and Mary Jo M. Gallay, Asst. Atty. Gen., Tampa, for appellee.

OTT, Judge.

This is an appeal from the denial of a motion to suppress evidence. We agree with appellant that the seizure of marijuana from his person was illegal and reverse.

At the hearing on the motion, Officer Byrd testified that at about 10:45 one evening he and another officer spotted appellant and two companions standing in the middle of a dark alley in the business district of Frostproof. The officers stopped the two and following standard procedure frisked them.

As Officer Byrd patted appellant's pockets he felt a lump approximately five inches long by three inches wide. Thereupon, he reached into appellant's pocket and pulled out a plastic bag of marijuana. He testified that he never thought the lump was a weapon but that he believed it was a plastic bag which probably contained marijuana.

After hearing the officer's testimony and argument of counsel, the trial court denied the motion to suppress the bag of marijuana. We believe he erred in so doing. While we have some question about the right of the officers to stop appellant in the first place, we will assume for the purposes of this opinion that the stop was proper because there is another more compelling reason for finding the seizure to be improper.

Section 901.151, Florida Statutes (1975) is based on the holding in Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968), and lays out the procedure by which police officers may stop and frisk people suspected of wrongdoing. Under that statute, if the officer has properly stopped someone and believes that the person may be armed with a dangerous weapon, "he may search such person so temporarily detained only to the extent necessary to disclose, and for the purpose of disclosing, the presence of such weapon."

Our reading of the Terry decision and cases from other jurisdictions which have interpreted Terry leads us to believe that the language we have quoted means that an officer in a stop and frisk situation may not extend his search beyond a pat down of a suspect's outer clothing unless that pat down or other circumstances...

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20 cases
  • Jamison v. State, 83-18
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • September 19, 1984
    ...outer clothing unless the pat-down or other circumstances lead the officer to believe that the suspect has a weapon. Meeks v. State, 356 So.2d 45 (Fla. 2d DCA 1978). See also Baldwin v. State, 418 So.2d 1219 (Fla. 2d DCA 1982); Fraley v. State, 374 So.2d 1122 (Fla. 4th DCA Here the officer ......
  • T.T. v. State, 4D18-442
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • August 29, 2018
    ...State v. J.D., 796 So.2d 1217, 1220 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001) (officer stated substance could possibly be marijuana); Meeks v. State , 356 So.2d 45, 46 (Fla. 2d DCA 1978) (officer stated the lump in defendant's pocket was not a weapon and believed it to be marijuana.).Thus, the state, in G.M ., f......
  • Phillips v. State
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • August 2, 1978
    ...This search was unlawful and the fruits of it should be suppressed. Bennett v. State, 344 So.2d 315 (Fla. 1st DCA 1977); Meeks v. State, 356 So.2d 45 (Fla. 2d DCA 1978). I would ...
  • Wilkerson v. State
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • October 25, 1979
    ...have hitherto followed the above rule in a number of recent cases: St. John v. State, 356 So.2d 32 (Fla. 1st DCA 1978); Meeks v. State, 356 So.2d 45 (Fla. 2d DCA 1978); Fraley v. State, 374 So.2d 1122 (Fla. 4th DCA 1979). Moreover Florida's Stop and Frisk Law, Section 901.151(5), Fla.Stat (......
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