State v. Thomas, 74339

Decision Date09 March 1999
Docket NumberNo. 74339,74339
PartiesSTATE of Missouri, Respondent, v. Jeffrey J. THOMAS, Appellant.
CourtMissouri Court of Appeals

Isidore I. Lamke, Washington, for appellant.

Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon, Atty. Gen., Gregory L. Barnes, Asst. Atty. Gen., Jefferson City, for respondent.

RICHARD B. TEITELMAN, Judge

Jeffrey Thomas, Defendant, appeals from his convictions in a court-tried case on two counts of possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute, in violation of Section 195.211 RSMo 1994. He was sentenced to terms of five years imprisonment on each count, to be served concurrently.

Defendant's Jeep vehicle, with Defendant and three other occupants in it, was spotted by a patrol officer at 1:18 in the morning, with its motor running and lights off, parked behind a strip mall shopping center in an area generally not utilized by the public and where there had been multiple past reports of property damage and vandalism. After getting out of his patrol car the officer approached the vehicle on foot and asked the occupants what they were doing. Defendant replied that they were talking about going to a party. The officer asked the occupants for their driver's licenses, which they gave him. He went back to his patrol car, ran a computer check, determined that there were no outstanding warrants for any of the vehicle occupants, checked the vehicle registration and found Defendant was the owner, then returned the licenses to the other occupants except for Defendant. Instead, the officer had Defendant exit his vehicle and walk back 12 to 15 feet with him towards the patrol car, where the officer asked Defendant for his consent to search Defendant's vehicle. Defendant gave his oral consent. The officer then searched the vehicle, finding some marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and a psilocybin mushroom. Defendant was arrested and taken to the police station, where he was advised of his Miranda 1 rights, executed a written waiver of those rights, and proceeded to make a statement in which he confessed that he had been selling some of the drugs around the Washington, Missouri area for the past few weeks.

Defendant filed a motion to suppress the seized evidence as well as Defendant's post-arrest statements, claiming that they resulted from an illegal search and seizure in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. After a hearing the court denied the motion.

On appeal, Defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress. Although he concedes that the initial brief investigatory stop of the vehicle and its occupants was a valid Terry stop, 2 Defendant argues that his further detention became unlawful once it extended beyond the time in which the police officer accomplished his "initial purpose" of identifying the occupants of the vehicle and determining that they did not need any assistance, because during the period of the lawful detention the officer discovered no new factual predicate for reasonable suspicion that criminal activity was afoot, citing State v. Stevens, 845 S.W.2d 124, 128 (Mo.App. E.D.1993). Thus, Defendant argues, both the search and subsequent confession were inadmissible as fruit of the poisonous tree, and were not sufficiently attenuated from the prior illegal detention to purge the taint of that illegality, citing State v. Miller, 894 S.W.2d 649, 655-56 (Mo. banc 1995).

We have reviewed the briefs of the parties, the legal file and transcript, and find this claim of error to be without merit. Under the appropriate standard of review, we view the facts and all reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the trial court's ruling, and review the findings only to see if they are supported by substantial evidence. Stevens, 845 S.W.2d at 128; State v. Talbert, 873 S.W.2d 321, 323 (Mo.App. S.D.1994). We may not reverse if the trial court's...

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5 cases
  • State v. Ford
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • July 22, 2014
    ...239, 246 (Mo. banc 2013). We review the court's findings “only to see if they are supported by substantial evidence.” State v. Thomas, 989 S.W.2d 605, 606 (Mo.App. E.D.1999) (citing State v. Stevens, 845 S.W.2d 124, 128 (Mo.App. E.D.1993) ). “Whether reasonable suspicion exists is a questio......
  • State v. Ford, ED 99980.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • October 28, 2014
    ...239, 246 (Mo. banc 2013). We review the court's findings “only to see if they are supported by substantial evidence.” State v. Thomas, 989 S.W.2d 605, 606 (Mo.App. E.D.1999) (citing State v. Stevens, 845 S.W.2d 124, 128 (Mo.App. E.D.1993)). “Whether reasonable suspicion exists is a question......
  • State v. Ford
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • July 22, 2014
    ...239, 246 (Mo. banc 2013). We review the court's findings "only to see if they are supported by substantial evidence." State v. Thomas, 989 S.W.2d 605, 606 (Mo. App. E.D. 1999) (citing State v. Stevens, 845 S.W.2d 124, 128 (Mo. App. E.D. 1993)). "Whether reasonable suspicion exists is a ques......
  • State v. Manley, 25644.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • September 26, 2003
    ...officers seized Brown when they detained him for the purpose of identification pursuant to a state statute); State v. Thomas, 989 S.W.2d 605, 606 n. 3 (Mo.App.1999) (finding a seizure occurred when officer told vehicle occupants he would have to check licenses); and Settle, 679 S.W.2d at 31......
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