State v. Moody, 53995

Decision Date21 July 1969
Docket NumberNo. 53995,No. 2,53995,2
Citation443 S.W.2d 802
PartiesSTATE of Missouri, Respondent, v. Louis B. MOODY, Appellant
CourtMissouri Supreme Court

Edward T. Foote, St. Louis, for appellant, Bryan, Cave, McPheeters & McRoberts, St. Louis, of counsel.

John C. Danforth, Atty. Gen., Jefferson City, Frank W. May, Special Asst. Atty. Gen., Desloge, for respondent.

DONNELLY, Presiding Judge.

Appellant, Louis B. Moody, was convicted of possessing dextro amphetamine sulfate, a stimulant drug, under § 195.240, RSMo 1959, V.A.M.S., by the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, and his punishment under the provisions of the Habitual Cruminal Act, § 556.280, RSMo 1959, V.A.M.S., was assessed at imprisonment in the custody of the State Department of Corrections for a term of two years. Following rendition of judgment and imposition of sentence an appeal was perfected to this Court.

On February 19, 1968, appellant was driving a car alone at night in the Gaslight Square area in the City of St. Louis. Two police officers followed appellant's car and observed that it was 'zig-zagging, going over the dividing line.' They stopped the car and placed appellant under arrest 'for failure to keep to the right.' They searched appellant's person and seized five hypodermic needles, one syringe, and a tinfoil packet containing a stimulant drug.

Appellant preserved his objection to the search and seizure by motion to suppress before trial.

Appellant's counsel has filed an excellent brief and has narrowed the issues on appeal. He asserts that the 'issue presented on this appeal is whether an arrest for a minor traffic violation, absent any additional circumstances suggesting either danger to the arresting officers or that another crime has been committed justified the search of appellant's person.'

In determining the issue, we recognize that it is our duty to consider the constitutional issues involving search and seizure 'in the light of the 'fundamental criteria' laid down by the Fourth Amendment and in opinions of * * * (the Supreme Court of the United States) applying that Amendment.' Ker v. California, 374 U.S. 23, 33, 83 S.Ct. 1623, 10 L.Ed.2d 726 (1963); Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 81 S.Ct. 1684, 6 L.Ed.2d 1081 (1961); State v. Owens, 302 Mo. 348, 259 S.W. 100, 32 A.L.R. 383 (1924).

In Harris v. United States, 331 U.S. 145, at 150 and 151, 67 S.Ct. 1098, at 1101, 91 L.Ed. 1399 (1947), the Supreme Court of the United States stated:

'If it is true, as petitioner contends, that the draft cards were seized in violation of petitioner's rights under the Fourth Amendment, the conviction based upon evidence so obtained cannot be sustained. Boyd v. United States, 16 U.S. 616, 6 S.Ct. 524, 29 L.Ed. 746 (1886); Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383, 34 S.Ct. 341, 58 L.Ed. 652 (1914); Agnello v. United States, 269 U.S. 20, 46 S.Ct. 4, 70 L.Ed. 145 (1925); Segurola v. United States, 275 U.S. 106, 48 S.Ct. 77, 72 L.Ed. 186 (1927). This Court has consistently asserted that this Court has consistently asserted that the by the Fourth Amendment '* * * are to be regarded as of the very essence of constitutional liberty; and that the guaranty of them is as important and as imperative as are the guaranties of the other fundamental rights of the individual citizen * * *' Gouled v. United States, 255 U.S. 298, 304, 41 S.Ct. 261, 65 L.Ed. 647 (1921).

'This Court has also pointed out that it is only unreasonable searches and seizures which come within the constitutional interdict. The test of reasonableness cannot be stated in rigid and absolute terms. 'Each case is to be decided on its own facts and circumstances.' Go-Bart Importing Co. v. United States, 282 U.S. 344, 357, 51 S.Ct. 153, 75 L.Ed. 374 (1931).

'The Fourth Amendment has never been held to require that every valid search and seizure be effected under the authority of a search warrant. Search and seizure incident to lawful arrest is a practice of ancient origin and has long been an integral part of the law-enforcement procedures of the United States and of the individual states.'

Appellant does not contend the original arrest for a traffic violation was unlawful. Rather, he relies primarily upon the case of Amador-Gonzalez v. United States, 391 F.2d 308, 315 (5th Cir.1968) for the view that '* * * a lawful arrest of an automobile driver for a traffic offense provides no lawful predicate for the search of the driver or his car--absent special circumstances.' See also People v. Watkins, 19 Ill.2d 11, 166 N.E.2d 433; Simeone, Search and Seizure incident to Traffic Violations, St. Louis U.L.J. 506 (1961); and Annotation, 10 A.L.R.3d 314.

We consider the following observations particularly appropriate:

'Consistently, the right of a policeman to search an arrested person without the necessity of obtaining a search warrant has been held not to violate the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Federal Constitution. This right becomes operative once the fact of arrest is established and is based upon three grounds of necessity. Two are necessities which arise out of the very fact that an arrest has been made that is, the need to protect the arresting officer from harm and the need to prevent the escape of the arrestee. The third ground of necessity is closely related to the nature of the offense; that is, to prevent the possible destruction of contraband or evidence relating to the offense for which the arrest has been made.

'Even Mr. Justice Frankfurter, who has consistently demonstrated an antipathy towards an expansion of the right to search without a warrant,...

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24 cases
  • State v. Achter, 9562
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • July 22, 1974
    ...a traffic stop. 414 U.S. at 234, 94 S.Ct. at 476, 38 L.Ed.2d at 440, n. 5. This view was adopted by our Supreme Court in State v. Moody, 443 S.W.2d 802 (Mo.1969) but was limited to its facts in State v. Meeks, 467 S.W.2d 65 (Mo. banc 1971). Cf. State v. McCrary, 478 S.W.2d 349 (Mo.1972) (qu......
  • State v. Witherspoon, s. 54102
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • December 14, 1970
    ...committed and had reasonable grounds to believe the car and a passenger were the same as identified by the holdup victim. State v. Moody, 443 S.W.2d 802 (Mo.1969) was a stimulant drug case in which a search and seizure were made incident to a lawful Recognizing that '* * * The constitutiona......
  • State v. Blair, 66352
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • May 29, 1985
    ...without more, a search incident to the arrest. United States v. Robinson, 414 U.S. 218, 94 S.Ct. 467, 38 L.Ed.2d 427 (1973); State v. Moody, 443 S.W.2d 802 (Mo.1969). It is also true that a suspect in lawful custody is subject to fingerprinting as part of routine identification procedure. S......
  • State v. Mease
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • November 24, 1992 arrest, even though the arrest is an objectively lawful arrest, State v. Blair, 691 S.W.2d 259 (Mo. banc 1985), and State v. Moody, 443 S.W.2d 802 (Mo.1969). These cases both involve traffic arrests, and it is questionable whether they apply to cases where the arrest was for some offense......
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