State v. Bryan

Decision Date17 April 1989
Citation769 S.W.2d 208
PartiesSTATE of Tennessee, Appellant, v. William R. (Bobby) BRYAN, Appellee. 769 S.W.2d 208
CourtTennessee Supreme Court

Charles W. Burson, Atty. Gen. and Reporter, Miriam Nabors Banks, Asst. Atty. Gen., Nashville, for appellant.

James Daniel Freemon, Lawrenceburg, for appellee.

Paul J. Morrow, Jr., Susan L. Kay, Nashville, Ann C. Short, Knoxville, for Tennessee Ass'n of Criminal Defense Lawyers.


HARBISON, Justice.

Appellee was convicted in a jury trial in Lawrence County, Tennessee of possession of substantial quantities of cocaine and marijuana with intent to deliver or sell. The jury imposed a total fine of $203,000, and the trial judge sentenced appellee to serve thirty-five years on the cocaine conviction and three years on the marijuana conviction, the sentences to be served concurrently.

On appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals appellant raised six issues. The appellate court sustained one issue pertaining to the sufficiency of the affidavit upon the basis of which a search warrant was obtained. Pretermitting all of the other issues, the Court of Criminal Appeals remanded the case for a new trial.

After a careful examination of the record, we are of the opinion that the Court of Criminal Appeals was in error in holding the affidavit for the search warrant to be insufficient. Accordingly, we reverse and remand the case to that Court for consideration of the other issues raised on appeal.

The affidavit was executed on April 4, 1985, by Allen Hale, a vice officer of the Murfreesboro, Tennessee Police Department. It was presented to the Honorable James L. Weatherford, Judge of the Circuit Court of Lawrence County, Tennessee. Upon the basis of the affidavit, a search warrant was issued by Judge Weatherford and was executed on the same day as the affidavit, April 4, 1985. Because the search of appellee's premises was not completed until after midnight on the date of issuance and had to be interrupted because of darkness, another warrant was issued the next day to continue the search. There is no question as to the validity of the second warrant, and it is conceded by appellee that if the affidavit for the first warrant was sufficient, there is no basis for suppressing the evidence obtained on either of the searches.

On December 2, 1985, the trial judge conducted an evidentiary hearing on a motion to suppress filed on behalf of appellee. Three grounds for suppression were urged. The trial judge overruled all three grounds, and only one of them is pursued on appeal. The two not involved on appeal had to do with the spelling of the name of the appellee on the face of the affidavit and the failure of the Sheriff of Lawrence County, to whom the warrant was issued, personally to conduct or supervise the search. The evidentiary record clearly showed that there was no merit to the latter ground, and the spelling of the name was correctly treated by the trial judge as an immaterial typographical error.

The principal ground of the motion to suppress was an attack upon the facial validity of the affidavit filed in connection with the application for the warrant. No question was raised as to the sufficiency of the description of the premises to be searched or the scope of the actual search which followed. There was no claim made and no evidence introduced at the suppression hearing that any of the allegations contained in the affidavit were made fraudulently, recklessly or with intent to deceive the Court. The attack was facial only, the insistence being that a neutral and detached magistrate could not determine from the statements in the affidavit any material connection between appellee and the premises and could not determine that criminal activity had been or was being conducted on the premises within a sufficient time frame to justify the issuance of a search warrant.

After the motion to suppress had been overruled, along with numerous other pre-trial motions, and after the trial of appellee on the merits, substitute counsel for appellee undertook to reopen the suppression issue at a post-trial hearing. The purpose of this hearing was to show factual inaccuracies contained in the allegations of the affidavit. 1 The trial judge declined to permit counsel to go behind the allegations of the affidavit, and again refused to grant appellee's motion. Appellee did not testify or offer any counter-affidavit at the original suppression hearing. He did testify post-trial. His testimony dealt entirely with other issues and did not involve the search warrants.

There is no evidence in the record to contradict the facial validity of the affidavit submitted in connection with the application for the search warrant nor is there any competent offer of proof that the April 3 transaction occurred outside Lawrence County. There is therefore no basis on this appeal for finding any false or misleading statement in connection with the affidavit which would invalidate the search warrant. See State v. Little, 560 S.W.2d 403 (Tenn.1978).

The affidavit in question accurately described the premises which were later searched and shown to belong to appellee. It sought a warrant for the search of those premises and of the person of appellee, stating that there was probable and reasonable cause to believe that contraband was located on the premises described.

Affiant was described as a police officer who had been employed with the Murfreesboro Police...

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35 cases
  • State v. Henning
    • United States
    • Tennessee Supreme Court
    • June 22, 1998
    ...the affidavit in a common sense and practical manner, can find probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant. State v. Bryan, 769 S.W.2d 208, 210 (Tenn.1989). To ensure that the magistrate exercises independent judgment, the affidavit must contain more than mere conclusory allegations......
  • Meadows v. State
    • United States
    • Tennessee Supreme Court
    • February 16, 1993
    ...221 Tenn. 6, 423 S.W.2d 857 (1968)." Id. In addition to the intermediate court decision in Meadows, supra, this Court in State v. Bryan, 769 S.W.2d 208 (Tenn.1989), quoted language from Illinois v. Gates that ... task of the issuing magistrate is simply to make a practical, common sense dec......
  • State v. Tuttle
    • United States
    • Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
    • September 8, 2015
    ...find probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant." State v. Henning, 975 S.W.2d 290, 294 (Tenn. 1998) (citing State v. Bryan, 769 S.W.2d 208, 210 (Tenn. 1989)). In other words, the affidavit "must set forth facts from which a reasonable conclusion might be drawn that the evidence is......
  • State v. Reynolds , No. M2003-02991-CCA-R3-CD (TN 2/28/2005)
    • United States
    • Tennessee Supreme Court
    • February 28, 2005
    ...basis of which a neutral and detached magistrate could find probable cause for the issuance of the search warrant." State v. Bryan, 769 S.W.2d 208, 210-211 (Tenn. 1989). Further, Jacumin warns that the tests should not be "hypertechnically applied" and that, on appeal, the probable cause de......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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