State v. Brown, WD 73142.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Citation382 S.W.3d 147
Decision Date20 November 2012
Docket NumberNo. WD 73142.,WD 73142.
PartiesSTATE of Missouri, Appellant, v. Tyrone C. BROWN, Respondent.

382 S.W.3d 147

STATE of Missouri, Appellant,
Tyrone C. BROWN, Respondent.

No. WD 73142.

Missouri Court of Appeals,
Western District.

Sept. 4, 2012.
Motion for Rehearing and/or Transfer to Supreme Court Denied Oct. 2, 2012.

Application for Transfer Denied Nov. 20, 2012.

[382 S.W.3d 152]

Karen Louise Kramer and James Farnsworth, Jefferson City, MO, for appellant.

Patrick W. Peters, Kansas City, MO, for respondent.



The State of Missouri appeals the order of the Jackson County Circuit Court sustaining Tyrone Brown's motion to suppress evidence. The State argues that the trial court erroneously granted the motion to suppress because the searches were lawful. The State contends that Brown lacked standing to challenge the warrantless search of a rental vehicle that had been previously driven by Brown, but that the search was nevertheless lawful by virtue of the automobile exception to the warrant requirement. The State also contends that the searches of two residences related to Defendant Brown were lawful because they were conducted pursuant to valid search warrants. We agree and reverse the trial court's decision suppressing the evidence.

Statement of Facts

On January 23, 2008, several men, armed with weapons, forcibly entered the home of Ramona Poddig–Jenkins in Jackson

[382 S.W.3d 153]

County and took property from the premises. The men were not identified at that time. Several months later, after the events described below revealed a connection between Tyrone Brown and the robbery, a grand jury indicted Brown on one count of first-degree robbery (§ 569.020, RSMo Cum.Supp.2008),1 one count of armed criminal action (§ 571.015), and one count of first-degree burglary (§ 569.160), all in connection with the home-invasion robbery. Before trial, Brown moved to suppress all of the evidence as having been obtained unlawfully in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. After a hearing, the court granted the motion to suppress. The State appeals.

In returning to the factual background, we start with the fact that, according to a later drafted search warrant application and testimony of police officers, two months after the home-invasion robbery, but before police had identified suspects, detectives with the Kansas City Police Department received information from a confidential informant that was seemingly unrelated to the robbery in question. The informant stated that Tyrone Brown and two other men used a residence described as 3129 Norton to hold meetings for the “Five–Ace–Deuce” gang. The informant mentioned that Terry Allen and Andre Simmons, gang leaders, met there with Tyrone Brown and others to discuss criminal activity. The source also said that Terry Allen was a leader of the “Bounce Out Boys,” a branch of the “Five–Ace–Deuce” gang. The source said that Allen was motivating younger members of the gang to shoot and kill police during traffic stops. The source provided police with a map of the location and description of the residence that he said was 3129 Norton in Kansas City. The source provided information concerning crimes the gang had been involved in. When the detectives looked for the house, they discovered that the residence (which, according to street maps, should have been designated 3127 Norton) had 3129 displayed on the outside of the house. According to the police affidavit later furnished in connection with an application for a search warrant, the confidential source who provided information about the gang was a “gang affiliate,” who had been “proven” to be reliable, according to police, based on “other investigations” the police had conducted.

The house on Norton was owned by Brown's mother, Trassa Brown. The water account was in her name. The gas account was in the name of Leo Wright.

Early the next day (after the conversation with the confidential source) at about 2:00 a.m., the police were called to investigate a shooting at 2915 Swope Parkway in Kansas City, after a group of gunshot victims went to the hospital. According to the later filed police affidavit, the victims purported not to know the identity of their assailants, describing them only as “black males.” The shooting took place on a private parking lot near a building occupied by the Beta Lambda Educational Foundation.

In the lot, officers found broken glass and numerous shell casings, including casings from .40 caliber, 9 mm, and 7.62 mm ammunition. A tan Chevy Malibu was parked in the lot near the shell casings. One of the officers at the scene looked through the window of the car and saw a black semi-automatic handgun on the floor behind the driver's seat. There was no reason to believe the car was somehow innocently associated with the Beta Lambda Foundation, as it was closed. The police

[382 S.W.3d 154]

secured the perimeter of the crime scene. No one came forward immediately to claim ownership or possession of the car. Because of the presence of the weapon in the car, the location of the vehicle, and the lack of anyone claiming rights to the car, the officers seized it as evidence and had it towed.

Sometime later that same day, March 29th, police received an anonymous tip that individuals named Terry Allen and Andre Simmons were involved in the shooting at 2915 Swope Parkway. Also that afternoon, a woman named Latasha Wright called the police station asking about the car that had been towed. She came down to retrieve it. Because the police believed the car was associated with the shooting, the police advised her of her Miranda2 rights. She agreed to talk. In response to police questioning, Wright said that the car had been rented by her mother for Wright to use to get back and forth to work. On the night of the shooting, Wright said, she lent the car to a friend, Tyrone Brown. Wright said that Brown called her around 2:40 a.m. and told her there had been a shooting and that he needed to leave the car at the scene of the shooting so that the police would not suspect his involvement. At some point thereafter, Brown returned the keys to Wright. Wright said she went to the scene of the shooting to try to recover the car shortly after receiving the call from Brown. But she did not recover the car at that time because when she arrived at the parking lot, she saw that the car was in an area secured by police for investigative purposes. Because she did not want to go past the yellow crime-scene tape, she decided to wait and later call police about being able to pick up the car.3 Wright said she lived with Brown's mother, Trassa Brown, at 2814 Indiana. She said she did not know where Brown lived.

A search of the Malibu revealed a .380 Llama handgun, counterfeit U.S. currency, paperwork with Brown's name on it, identification belonging to Leo Wright, and a box of fifty live rounds of .380 ammunition.

On April 10th, about twelve days later, Detective DeValkenaere executed an affidavit and application for a no-knock search warrant as to the house on Norton. In his affidavit, he recited the information given above. He also included some additional assertions that we will ignore for purposes of our analysis.4 He asked for permission to search for firearms, ammunition, cell phones, indicia of occupancy, and evidence of an assault. He described the facts known to officers about the shooting incident at 2915 Swope Parkway and provided information about the car that had reportedly been driven by Brown on the night of the shooting. He also provided information that had been provided by a “confidential source” who was “a known gang affiliate” with the “Five–Ace–Deuce” gang. The source indicated that Terry Allen was the leader of a branch of the gang, and

[382 S.W.3d 155]

that Allen, Simmons, Brown, and others, had met at the Norton house to discuss criminal activity. The detective reported that Brown was a convicted felon who could not lawfully possess firearms. The gas company had information connecting Leo Wright, Latasha Wright's brother, with the Norton house as well. The affiant detective stated that he believed that firearms used in the shooting at 2915 Swope Parkway may be located in the Norton house.

The search warrant was granted that afternoon by Jackson County Judge Robert Beaird. Police searched the house on Norton pursuant to the warrant. Brown's brother was present and talked to the police. The police found guns (three handguns and a sawed-off shotgun) and ammunition, as well as property that they were soon able to identify as having been taken in the home-invasion robbery of Ms. Poddig–Jenkins. Police subsequently checked unidentified fingerprints recovered after the home invasion robbery against the fingerprints (on file) of Tyrone Brown and discovered that they matched. The police thus had credible information that Brown was involved in the home invasion robbery.

Brown's younger brother, who was present when the search warrant was executed, told police that Brown maintained another residence at 2814 Indiana. That property was also associated with Trassa Brown, Brown's mother. The police had other information linking Brown to that address, such as the fact that it was the address Brown provided to his parole officer. The Indiana address was also where Latasha Wright told police that she lived, though she claimed not to know where Brown lived.

The detectives thereafter conducted surveillance on 2814 Indiana, observing “numerous subjects” coming and going from the residence. The police then decided to seek a search warrant for 2814 Indiana, relating all of the above matters as the basis for believing that other property taken from the Poddig–Jenkins robbery (as well as other firearms) would likely be found in Brown's possession at the house on Indiana. The affidavit again recited that Brown, as a convicted felon, was not permitted to have firearms in his possession. The police were successful in obtaining a warrant for...

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