State v. Setzler, No. 94-2497

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtAn appeal from the Circuit Court for Duval County. Alban Brooke; BENTON; MICKLE; WEBSTER
Citation667 So.2d 343
Decision Date24 October 1995
Docket NumberNo. 94-2497
Parties20 Fla. L. Weekly D2418 STATE of Florida, Appellant, v. David SETZLER, Michael Jones, and Lawrence H. Raker, Appellees.

Page 343

667 So.2d 343
20 Fla. L. Weekly D2418
STATE of Florida, Appellant,
v.
David SETZLER, Michael Jones, and Lawrence H. Raker, Appellees.
No. 94-2497.
District Court of Appeal of Florida,
First District.
Oct. 24, 1995.

Page 344

An appeal from the Circuit Court for Duval County. Alban Brooke, Judge.

Robert A. Butterworth, Attorney General; Thomas Crapps, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellant.

Nancy A. Daniels, Public Defender; P. Douglas Brinkmeyer, Assistant Public Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellees.

BENTON, Judge.

The State appeals a pretrial order granting appellees' motions to suppress evidence implicating them in a robbery. The police obtained the evidence after stopping the truck in which they were travelling. We conclude that the facts established at the suppression hearing demonstrated a basis for reasonable suspicion justifying an investigative stop by the police, and that information subsequently obtained established probable cause for appellees' arrest and the seizure of property in and under the truck. We reverse on that basis.

As amended, the Florida Constitution requires that the Florida constitutional "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures ... shall be construed in conformity with the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution, as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court." Art. I, § 12, Fla. Const. (1982). This amendment to the Florida Constitution has procedural as well as substantive implications. See generally State v. Lavazzoli, 434 So.2d 321, 322 (Fla.1983) ("[T]he people of the State of Florida approved an amendment to article I, section 12 of the Florida Constitution, effective January 4, 1983 ... [which] mandated conformity of the interpretation of article I, section 12's exclusionary rule with the United States Supreme Court's interpretation of the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution.").

"Fourth Amendment issues ... are not always finally resolved at the trial level." Wayne R. LaFave, Search and Seizure § 11.7, at 505 (2d ed. 1987). In reviewing search and seizure decisions, Florida courts and federal courts alike must apply different standards of review, depending on the nature of the questions presented. Aspects or components of the trial court's decision resolving legal questions are subject to de novo review, while factual decisions by the trial court are entitled to deference commensurate with the

Page 345

trial judge's superior vantage point for resolving factual disputes.

Special deference may be owed fact finding by a magistrate who has issued a search warrant after finding probable cause. See Massachusetts v. Upton, 466 U.S. 727, 104 S.Ct. 2085, 80 L.Ed.2d 721 (1984).

[A]fter-the-fact scrutiny by courts of the sufficiency of an affidavit should not take the form of de novo review. A magistrate's "determination of probable cause should be paid great deference by reviewing courts." Spinelli [v. United States, 393 U.S. 410, 89 S.Ct. 584, 21 L.Ed.2d 637 (1969) ] ..., 393 U.S., at 419, 89 S.Ct., at 590. "A grudging or negative attitude by reviewing courts toward warrants," [United States v.] Ventresca, [380 U.S. 102, 85 S.Ct. 741, 13 L.Ed.2d 684 (1965) ], 380 U.S., at 108, 85 S.Ct., at 745, is inconsistent with the Fourth Amendment's strong preference for searches conducted pursuant to a warrant; "courts should not invalidate warrant[s] by interpreting affidavit[s] in a hypertechnical, rather than a commonsense, manner." Id., at 109, 85 S.Ct., at 746.

Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 237, 103 S.Ct. 2317, 2331, 76 L.Ed.2d 527 (1983). In the present case, however, neither affidavit nor warrant preceded seizure of the evidence in question.

Burden of Proof at Suppression Hearing

At the hearing on appellees' motion to suppress, once appellees' standing was clear, the absence of a warrant meant the prosecution had the burden to establish that the evidence sought to be suppressed was obtained lawfully. Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.190(h)(3) provides:

If the court hears the motion on its merits, the defendant shall present evidence supporting the defendant's position, and the state may offer rebuttal evidence.

This provision contemplates a hearing on a motion to suppress the fruits of a search pursuant to warrant, and does not fully describe the procedure constitutionally required in the case of unwarranted searches and seizures. When a search warrant has issued, the defense has the burden of going forward, and the burden to establish grounds for suppression.

In the absence of a warrant, however, the defense need make only an "initial showing," State v. Lyons, 293 So.2d 391, 393 (Fla. 2d DCA 1974) at the suppression hearing. Williams v. State, 640 So.2d 1206 (Fla. 2d DCA 1994); State v. Fortesa-Ruiz, 559 So.2d 1180, 1181 (Fla. 3d DCA), review denied, 574 So.2d 143 (1990); Morales v. State, 407 So.2d 321, 325 (Fla. 3d DCA 1981); Black v. State, 383 So.2d 295 (Fla. 1st DCA), review denied, 392 So.2d 1371 (Fla.1980); Andress v. State, 351 So.2d 350 (Fla. 4th DCA 1977); Pineda v. State, No. 92-06-AP (Fla. 8th Cir. Ct. March 19, 1993). The defense has the burden to prove standing, where standing is at issue. Alderman v. United States, 394 U.S. 165, 89 S.Ct. 961, 22 L.Ed.2d 176 (1969); Jones v. State, 648 So.2d 669, 674-76 (Fla.1994), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 115 S.Ct. 2588, 132 L.Ed.2d 836 (Fla.1995). See United States v. Padilla, 508 U.S. 77, 79-81, 113 S.Ct. 1936, 1938-39, 123 L.Ed.2d 635 (1993); Rawlings v. Kentucky, 448 U.S. 98, 100 S.Ct. 2556, 65 L.Ed.2d 633 (1980); Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128, 99 S.Ct. 421, 58 L.Ed.2d 387 (1978). Here no real issue as to appellees' standing exists.

Once the defense made its "initial showing," the prosecution had to prove probable cause for (or otherwise explain) the fait accompli at the suppression hearing, because the State did not justify the search before the fact, by showing a judge grounds for issuance of a warrant. Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443, 91 S.Ct. 2022, 29 L.Ed.2d 564 (1971); United States v. Jeffers, 342 U.S. 48, 72 S.Ct. 93, 96 L.Ed. 59 (1951); Jones, 648 So.2d at 674. As a practical matter, absence of a search warrant in the court file sufficed to shift the burden of going forward to the prosecution. State v. Hinton, 305 So.2d 804, 808 (Fla. 4th DCA 1975); see also State v. Williams, 538 So.2d 1346, 1348 (Fla. 4th DCA 1989). The prosecution also had to demonstrate exigent circumstances, conditions which precluded applying to a neutral and detached magistrate for a search warrant, or some other exception to the warrant requirement. Coolidge; Stoner v. California,

Page 346

376 U.S. 483, 84 S.Ct. 889, 11 L.Ed.2d 856 (1964).

Procedure on Review

District courts of appeal "may review interlocutory orders in ... [felony prosecutions, among other cases] to the extent provided by rules adopted by the supreme court." Art. V, § 4(b)(1), Fla. Const. (1968). The appellate rules authorize the State to appeal orders "suppressing before trial ... evidence obtained by search and seizure." Fla.R.App.P. 9.140(c)(1)(B). Whatever its efficacy, a statute also recites that the "state may appeal from a pretrial order ... suppressing evidence." § 924.071(1), Fla.Stat. (1993).

A reviewing court is bound by the trial court's findings of fact--even if only implicit--made after a suppression hearing, unless they are clearly erroneous. On the other hand, deference to clearly erroneous findings of fact is not consistent with the review required in Fourth Amendment cases. E.g., United States v. Fernandez, 58 F.3d 593, 596 (11th Cir.1995) ("The denial of a motion to suppress presents a mixed question of law and fact. We must defer to the district court's findings of fact unless clearly erroneous, but we are to review the district court's application of the law to the facts de...

To continue reading

Request your trial
44 practice notes
  • State v. Williams, No. 1D14–5510.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 15 Enero 2016
    ...291 (Fla.1997) ), not jettison the trial court's explicit findings in favor of its own inferences and speculation. See State v. Setzler, 667 So.2d 343, 346 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995) ("A reviewing court is bound by the trial court's findings of fact—even if only implicit—made after a suppression h......
  • Wilson v. State, No. 94-2662
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 19 Abril 1996
    ...warrant has issued, the defense has the burden of going forward, and the burden to establish grounds for suppression," State v. Setzler, 667 So.2d 343, 345 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995), where the finding of probable cause supporting the warrant is challenged. Here the defense argued for suppression ......
  • Green v. State, No. 1D01-5024.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 28 Agosto 2002
    ...are entitled to deference commensurate with the trial judge's superior vantage point for resolving factual disputes." State v. Setzler, 667 So.2d 343, 344-45 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995). See Ornelas v. United States, 517 U.S. 690, 699, 116 S.Ct. 1657, 134 L.Ed.2d 911 (1996); Connor v. State, 803 So......
  • Phuagnong v. State, No. 96-4705
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 15 Junio 1998
    ...are entitled to deference commensurate with the trial judge's superior vantage point for resolving factual disputes." State v. Setzler, 667 So.2d 343, 344-45 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995). These procedural requirements, like others applicable in the trial court, flow from the Fourth Amendment and its......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
43 cases
  • State v. Williams, No. 1D14–5510.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 15 Enero 2016
    ...291 (Fla.1997) ), not jettison the trial court's explicit findings in favor of its own inferences and speculation. See State v. Setzler, 667 So.2d 343, 346 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995) ("A reviewing court is bound by the trial court's findings of fact—even if only implicit—made after a suppression h......
  • Wilson v. State, No. 94-2662
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 19 Abril 1996
    ...warrant has issued, the defense has the burden of going forward, and the burden to establish grounds for suppression," State v. Setzler, 667 So.2d 343, 345 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995), where the finding of probable cause supporting the warrant is challenged. Here the defense argued for suppression ......
  • Green v. State, No. 1D01-5024.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 28 Agosto 2002
    ...are entitled to deference commensurate with the trial judge's superior vantage point for resolving factual disputes." State v. Setzler, 667 So.2d 343, 344-45 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995). See Ornelas v. United States, 517 U.S. 690, 699, 116 S.Ct. 1657, 134 L.Ed.2d 911 (1996); Connor v. State, 803 So......
  • Phuagnong v. State, No. 96-4705
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 15 Junio 1998
    ...are entitled to deference commensurate with the trial judge's superior vantage point for resolving factual disputes." State v. Setzler, 667 So.2d 343, 344-45 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995). These procedural requirements, like others applicable in the trial court, flow from the Fourth Amendment and its......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT