State v. Wilson, WD 64333.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtPatricia Breckenridge
Citation169 S.W.3d 870
PartiesSTATE of Missouri, Appellant, v. Jeremy WILSON, Respondent.
Docket NumberNo. WD 64333.,WD 64333.
Decision Date30 August 2005
169 S.W.3d 870
STATE of Missouri, Appellant,
Jeremy WILSON, Respondent.
No. WD 64333.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District.
August 30, 2005.

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Michael D. Fusselman, Moberly, MO, for appellant.

Andrew Farwell, Kirksville, MO, for respondent.



This is an interlocutory appeal by the State of Missouri from an order of the trial court suppressing marijuana seized during a search of a vehicle in which Jeremy Allen Wilson was a passenger and the incriminating statements Mr. Wilson made subsequent to the seizure. The State claims that the trial court erred in sustaining Mr. Wilson's motion to suppress the marijuana because the evidence showed that the highway patrol trooper had probable cause for the search. The State also claims that the trial court erred in suppressing statements made by Mr. Wilson both before and after the issuance of Miranda warnings.1 As to the statements

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made before the Miranda warnings, the State claims that the statements were a result of preliminary investigation rather than custodial interrogation. As to the post-Miranda statements, the State asserts that because the questions asked of Mr. Wilson were part of a preliminary investigation, Mr. Wilson's post-Miranda statements are not tainted. Finally, the State claims that the recorded statements made between Mr. Wilson and Lance Harmon, the driver of the vehicle, were improperly suppressed because the conversation occurred in a patrol car, where Mr. Wilson had no reasonable expectation of privacy.

This court finds that the trial court did not err in suppressing the marijuana because the trial court's determination that no probable cause existed for the search of the vehicle was supported by substantial evidence. This court further finds that the trial court did not err in suppressing Mr. Wilson's pre-Miranda statements because Mr. Wilson was not provided with his Miranda warnings prior to a custodial interrogation. Because of the circumstances under which Mr. Wilson was questioned after being provided his Miranda warnings, this court finds Mr. Wilson's post-Miranda statements were also properly suppressed. The trial court did err, however, in suppressing the statements made by Mr. Wilson while in the back seat of the patrol car, because Mr. Wilson had no reasonable or legitimate expectation of privacy in the back seat of a patrol car. The order of the trial court suppressing evidence is affirmed, in part, and reversed, in part.

Factual and Procedural Background

On March 7, 2004, Missouri State Highway Patrolman Mark Reynolds stopped a vehicle driven by Mr. Harmon for speeding on U.S. Highway 63. Mr. Wilson was a passenger in the vehicle. Trooper Reynolds approached the vehicle on the passenger side. Trooper Reynolds instructed Mr. Harmon to exit his vehicle and to sit in the patrol car while Trooper Reynolds wrote him a summons for speeding. While Mr. Harmon was still in the patrol car, Trooper Reynolds asked Mr. Harmon if he had anything illegal in the vehicle. Mr. Harmon responded that he did not. Trooper Reynolds asked Mr. Harmon for permission to search the vehicle. Mr. Harmon consented.

Trooper Reynolds directed Mr. Harmon to stand in front of his vehicle. Trooper Reynolds also asked Mr. Wilson to stand in front of Mr. Harmon's vehicle, but to face a different direction and to stand far enough apart from Mr. Harmon that they could not communicate. Trooper Reynolds then began to search the vehicle. During his search, he discovered two duffle bags, one black and one blue. When Trooper Reynolds opened the blue duffle bag, he discovered marijuana in a plastic bag. Trooper Reynolds then handcuffed Mr. Wilson and placed him in the patrol car. He also handcuffed Mr. Harmon and had him stand in front of the patrol car. Trooper Reynolds first questioned Mr. Wilson about the marijuana and the duffle bags. Mr. Wilson told Trooper Reynolds that he owned the blue duffle bag, but that he was unaware of any marijuana. Trooper Reynolds then questioned Mr. Harmon. Mr. Harmon told Trooper Reynolds that both bags and the marijuana were his. Although Trooper Reynolds told Mr. Harmon that Mr. Wilson had said the blue duffle bag was his, Mr. Harmon continued to claim both bags. Trooper Reynolds then read Mr. Harmon the Miranda warnings.

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After reading Mr. Harmon the Miranda warnings, Trooper Reynolds put Mr. Harmon in the patrol car where Mr. Wilson was. Trooper Reynolds then told Mr. Wilson that he needed to read him the Miranda warnings. Before doing so, however, he asked Mr. Wilson whether one of the duffle bags was his. When Mr. Wilson again stated that the blue duffle bag was his, but he was unaware of the marijuana, Trooper Reynolds read Mr. Wilson his Miranda warnings. Trooper Reynolds then reviewed Mr. Wilson's previous statements and had Mr. Wilson confirm them. After the confirmation, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Harmon were left alone in the back seat of the patrol car. At this time, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Harmon talked about the duffle bags and marijuana. Neither Mr. Wilson nor Mr. Harmon was aware that the patrol car's audio/visual recorder was recording their conversation. In the course of this conversation, Mr. Wilson made incriminating statements regarding the possession of the marijuana.

Sergeant B.N. Anderson arrived on the scene to assist Trooper Reynolds. In explaining the circumstances of the search, Trooper Reynolds advised him that he had smelled marijuana on Mr. Harmon during the traffic stop. When the search was complete, Sergeant Anderson transported Mr. Harmon to the Randolph County jail and Trooper Reynolds transported Mr. Wilson. On the drive to the Randolph County jail, Trooper Reynolds continued questioning Mr. Wilson about the duffle bags and marijuana. During this conversation, Trooper Reynolds had Mr. Wilson describe the other contents of the blue duffle bag.

Subsequently, Trooper Reynolds completed an arrest report in which he related the circumstances surrounding the traffic stop and search. In the arrest report, Trooper Reynolds stated that he "could smell a faint odor of marijuana emanating from inside the vehicle" when he first approached Mr. Harmon's car. Trooper Reynolds also stated that he "could smell a faint odor of marijuana about" the person of Mr. Harmon when Mr. Harmon was sitting in the patrol car waiting for Trooper Reynolds to finish writing the summons for speeding. The arrest report also stated that Trooper Reynolds asked for permission to search the vehicle after Trooper Reynolds had issued the summons for speeding. Finally, in the arrest report, Trooper Reynolds stated that, when he opened the blue duffle bag, he immediately smelled "a strong odor of marijuana." He also stated in his arrest report that he arrested Mr. Wilson and Mr. Harmon for possession of marijuana, he noted the times that he read them the Miranda warnings, and he set out the incriminating statements that Mr. Wilson and Mr. Harmon had made to him.

Mr. Wilson was charged with felony possession of marijuana, under section 195.202, RSMo 2000.2 Mr. Wilson filed a motion to suppress the marijuana, his statements to Trooper Reynolds, and the statements made during his conversation with Mr. Harmon in the back seat of the patrol car. A hearing was held to determine whether the evidence should be suppressed. At the hearing, Trooper Reynolds testified that he had asked Mr. Harmon for consent to search the vehicle prior to issuing Mr. Harmon the summons for speeding. Trooper Reynolds further testified that he told Mr. Harmon that he smelled marijuana emanating from Mr. Harmon's person prior to requesting consent to search the vehicle. Trooper Reynolds testified that, during the search, he noticed a "strong odor of

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marijuana" while he was in the back seat of Mr. Harmon's car, but prior to opening the blue duffle bag. Trooper Reynolds stated that he placed Mr. Wilson and Mr. Harmon under arrest immediately after finding the marijuana. Trooper Reynolds conceded that he questioned Mr. Harmon prior to giving him Miranda warnings and stated it was inadvertent and "a mistake" not to have read the Miranda rights. He stated that is why, after reading the Miranda warnings, he asked questions that were very similar to the questions asked prior to the Miranda warnings. Trooper Reynolds acknowledged that he also questioned Mr. Wilson prior to giving him his Miranda rights and, then, after reading him the Miranda warnings, asked him the same questions he had asked prior to reading the Miranda warnings.

The audio/video recording of the entire stop, including the conversation of Mr. Wilson and Mr. Harmon in the back of the patrol car, was admitted in evidence at the hearing. Not all of the statements made by Trooper Reynolds, Mr. Harmon, and Mr. Wilson outside the patrol car were audible, likely due to the wind at the scene. Mr. Wilson also testified as to the circumstances surrounding the search and his statements.

The trial court found that Trooper Reynolds lacked probable cause to search the vehicle. The trial court also found that Mr. Harmon's consent "was not freely, voluntarily, and knowingly given." Consequently, the trial court suppressed the marijuana found during the search of the vehicle. The trial court further found that Mr. Wilson's statements both before and after he was read the Miranda warnings should be suppressed. Finally, the trial court suppressed Mr. Wilson's recorded statements in the back of the patrol car "which were recorded without his knowledge." The State filed this interlocutory appeal.

Standard of Review

A trial court's order suppressing evidence is entitled to interlocutory appeal under section 547.200.1. "Review of a trial court's decision as to a motion to suppress evidence is limited to a determination of whether there is substantial evidence to...

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