State v. Stanfield

Decision Date07 August 2018
Docket NumberNo. W2015-02503-SC-R11-CD,W2015-02503-SC-R11-CD
Parties STATE of Tennessee v. Janet Michelle STANFIELD, Tony Alan Winsett and Justin Bradley Stanfield
CourtTennessee Supreme Court

554 S.W.3d 1

STATE of Tennessee
Janet Michelle STANFIELD, Tony Alan Winsett and Justin Bradley Stanfield

No. W2015-02503-SC-R11-CD

Supreme Court of Tennessee, AT JACKSON.

November 8, 2017 Session
FILED August 7, 2018

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andrée Sophia Blumstein, Solicitor General; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Tommy A. Thomas, District Attorney General; and James T. Cannon, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellant, State of Tennessee.

Beau E. Pemberton, Dresden, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Janet Michelle Stanfield.

Charles S. Kelly, Sr., Dyersbug, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Tony Alan Winsett.

Bruce B. Brown, Union City, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Justin Bradley Stanfield.

Roger A. Page, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Jeffrey S. Bivins, C.J., and Cornelia A. Clark and Holly Kirby, JJ., joined. Sharon G. Lee, J., filed a separate opinion dissenting in part and concurring in part in the judgment.

Roger A. Page, J.

An Obion County grand jury indicted Tony Alan Winsett, Janet Michelle Stanfield, and Justin Bradley Stanfield for multiple drug and weapons charges based on the warrantless search of their home and the subsequent automobile stop involving defendants Winsett and Janet Stanfield.

554 S.W.3d 4

The defendants filed motions to suppress the evidence against them based on an allegedly improper search. Following a suppression hearing, the trial court granted the defendants' motions and dismissed the charges against them. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the trial court’s ruling. The State then filed an application for permission to appeal to this Court. See Tenn. R. App. P. 11(a). We granted the State’s application and, upon review, hold that, with respect to defendants Winsett and Janet Stanfield, the warrantless search of the residence was constitutionally permissible based on defendant Winsett’s status as a parolee and the doctrine of common authority. However, we conclude that the warrantless search with respect to defendant Justin Stanfield was constitutionally unreasonable because he retained a reasonable expectation of privacy in his bedroom and the State failed to carry its burden of proving that defendant Winsett exercised common authority over Justin Stanfield’s bedroom. Accordingly, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

This matter involves the warrantless search of a Union City residence shared by defendant Janet Michelle Stanfield (Janet)1 ; her boyfriend, defendant Tony Alan Winsett (Tony); and her adult son, defendant Justin Bradley Stanfield (Justin). Based on the evidence seized pursuant to the search of the residence and the subsequent automobile stop involving defendants Winsett and Janet Stanfield, an Obion County Grand Jury indicted Tony (a parolee) and Janet (a probationer)2 for possession of 0.5 grams or more of methamphetamine with intent to sell or deliver, a Class B felony; unlawful possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a felony involving drugs, a Class D felony; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-17-434(a)(4) ; 39-17-1307(b)(1) (West 2015); 39-17-425(a). Defendant Winsett was also indicted for attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, creating a risk of death or injury to innocent bystanders or other third parties, a Class D felony. See id. § 39-16-603(b)(1). Janet Stanfield was separately indicted for unlawful possession of alprazolam with the intent to sell or deliver, a Class D felony. See id. § 39-17-417(a)(4), -(d)(1). Janet Stanfield’s son Justin was indicted for possession of not less than one-half (1/2) ounce nor more than ten (10) pounds of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, a Class E felony. See id. § 39-17-417(a)(4), -(g).

I. Facts and Procedural History

On April 6, 2015, defendant Janet Stanfield lived with her boyfriend, defendant Tony Winsett, and her adult son, defendant Justin Stanfield, in a residence in Union City, Tennessee. Janet was serving a community corrections sentence for a 2012 felony conviction for promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine. Defendant Winsett was on parole for felony convictions for possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell/deliver

554 S.W.3d 5

and promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine. Justin was not on any form of supervised release.

On April 6, Union City Police Officer Ben Yates, while working with the drug task force, conducted a parole search3 at the residence of defendant Winsett. Officer Yates contacted a parole officer to obtain a copy of defendant Winsett’s parole certificate, but at the time of his arrival at the residence, between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m., he was unaccompanied by a parole or probation officer and did not first obtain a search warrant. Officer Yates was acting upon information that he received from a confidential informant, who told Officer Yates that defendant Winsett was using methamphetamine and "possibly injecting with needles." The informant had previously supplied Officer Yates with reliable and credible information that had developed a narcotics case. Officer Yates had met defendant Winsett through his "line of work" and was aware that defendant Winsett was a parolee and that Janet Stanfield resided with him. He had observed Justin Stanfield’s vehicle at the residence several times, so he had reason to believe that Justin also lived there. Officer Yates, together with Investigator David Crocker and Agent James Hall, responded to the Winsett residence.

When they arrived at the residence, Agent Hall observed a burn pile upon which some clear, very large, plastic vacuum-sealed bags had been discarded. The bags were dry although it had been raining only ten to fifteen minutes earlier, which indicated to Officer Yates that the bags had been recently placed on the pile. After further investigation, he determined that the bags contained marijuana residue.

Officer Yates knocked on the front door. Investigator Crocker simultaneously knocked on the back door, but no one answered at either door. There were no cars visible in the driveway. The police continued to knock on the doors for approximately ten to twenty minutes. While Investigator Crocker and Agent Hall continued knocking at both entry doors, Officer Yates noted an open window on the north side of the residence and proceeded toward it. Through the window he could hear movement inside the house, which sounded to him "like a running noise." Noting the presence of security cameras around the house and the recently discarded plastic bags, Officer Yates believed someone was present inside the residence destroying evidence.

Based upon this belief, Agent Hall used a pocket knife to gain entry through the front door of the residence. As soon as the officers entered the residence, they detected a "very strong odor of marijuana." A large dog, estimated to weigh 140 pounds, was in the living room. Officer Yates attributed the sounds he had heard to the dog. The dog had not made any other noise, such as barking, other than the "running noise." After entering, officers noted three bedrooms with open doors. One of the bedrooms was used as storage and was uninhabitable. The officers ascertained which of the other two bedrooms belonged to whom. Officer Yates recognized defendant Winsett’s bedroom because he observed a jacket that he had seen Winsett wearing on previous occasions. He knew that defendants Winsett and Janet Stanfield had been in a relationship for some time and observed articles of women’s clothing; thus, he identified that

554 S.W.3d 6

bedroom as being jointly occupied by those two defendants. In Justin’s bedroom, officers found an identification card from Justin’s place of employment and a piece of mail addressed to him in a closed drawer of a nightstand.

Officer Yates searched the bedroom occupied by defendants Winsett and Janet Stanfield. In it they seized a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun and thirty-five rounds of ammunition. The serial number had been scratched off the handgun. They also seized a plastic box containing several sets of clear plastic bags, a set of digital scales, a marijuana pipe, and a small blue flashlight. Upon discovering that the flashlight did not work, Officer Yates unscrewed the battery compartment and found a small bag of a substance that he recognized as methamphetamine. Investigator Crocker located a pill container that contained methamphetamine inside the pocket of a black leather jacket. Agent Hall found a large pickle jar in Justin’s bedroom, concealed inside a wooden television stand, that contained approximately seven ounces of marijuana. Agent Hall also seized a Glock 22 .40 caliber handgun and fifteen rounds from that room.

Meanwhile, Officer Yates observed a television monitor in the master bedroom that showed live video feed from the security cameras placed around the outside of the residence. He noted that Justin’s vehicle passed by the residence very slowly then accelerated at a high rate of speed. Officers left the residence and conducted a traffic stop of Justin’s car. Nothing was seized from the vehicle, and Officer Yates...

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9 cases
  • State v. Hamm, W2016-01282-SC-R11-CD
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • November 21, 2019
    ...suppress, we will uphold the trial court’s findings of fact unless the evidence preponderates against those findings. State v. Stanfield , 554 S.W.3d 1, 8 (Tenn. 2018) (citing State v. Hawkins , 519 S.W.3d 1, 32 (Tenn. 2017) ; State v. Bell , 429 S.W.3d 524, 528 (Tenn. 2014) ; State v.......
  • State v. Robinson
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee. Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee
    • March 17, 2021
    ...State, 423 S.W.2d 857, 860 (1968)). "Under both constitutional guarantees, reasonableness is 'the ultimate touchstone.'" State v. Stanfield, 554 S.W.3d 1, 9 (Tenn. 2018) (citing Brigham City, Utah v. Stuart, 547 U.S. 398, 403 (2006); State v. McCormick, 494 S.W.3d 673, 679 (Tenn. 2016)). Wh......
  • United States v. Shelton, 3:17-cr-00147
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Tennessee
    • April 26, 2019
    ...... asserts, the two-part test Defendant discusses applies when the search is made pursuant to a state policy. See United States v. Tessier , 814 F.3d 432, 433 n.1 (6th Cir. 2016). Where, as here, ...3 Defendant discusses State v. Stanfield , No. W2015-02503-CCA-R3-CD, 2017 WL 1205952 (Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 31, 2017) to support his ......
  • State v. Patterson
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee. Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee
    • March 5, 2020
    ...State, 423 S.W.2d 857, 860 (1968)). "Under both constitutional guarantees, reasonableness is 'the ultimate touchstone.'" State v. Stanfield, 554 S.W.3d 1, 9 (Tenn. 2018) (citing Brigham City, Utah v. Stuart, 547 U.S. 398, 403 (2006); State v. McCormick, 494 S.W.3d 673, 679 (Tenn. 2016)). Wh......
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