State v. Wilson, No. SD 31938.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtDON E. BURRELL
Citation404 S.W.3d 917
PartiesSTATE of Missouri, Plaintiff–Respondent, v. Robert S. WILSON, Defendant–Appellant.
Decision Date12 July 2013
Docket NumberNo. SD 31938.

404 S.W.3d 917

STATE of Missouri, Plaintiff–Respondent,
v.
Robert S. WILSON, Defendant–Appellant.

No. SD 31938.

Missouri Court of Appeals,
Southern District,
Division Two.

July 12, 2013.


[404 S.W.3d 919]


Margaret M. Johnston, Jefferson City, for Appellant.

Chris Koster (Attorney General), Jessica P. Meredith, for Respondent.


DON E. BURRELL, Judge.

Robert S. Wilson (“Defendant”) was found guilty after a bench trial of one count of the class B felony of possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. See section 195.211.1 Defendant's sole point on appeal asserts the trial court erred in overruling his motion to suppress and subsequent objection at trial to all evidence seized by the State pursuant to a search warrant because the affidavit supporting the warrant did not establish probable cause for the search. Finding no merit in Defendant's claim, we affirm.

Standard of Review

“In reviewing a motion to suppress, we give great deference to the initial judicial determination of probable cause made at the time of the issuance of the search warrant.” State v. Rush, 160 S.W.3d 844, 848 (Mo.App. S.D.2005). The existence of probable cause is a question of fact, and we will reverse the issuing judge's determination that probable cause exists only if that determination is clearly erroneous. State v. Berry, 801 S.W.2d 64, 66 (Mo. banc 1990). “In conducting the review of whether probable cause exists, the appellate court may not look beyond the four corners of the warrant application and the supporting affidavits.” State v. Neher, 213 S.W.3d 44, 49 (Mo. banc 2007).

Factual and Procedural Background

Defendant does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction, so we will address only those facts relevant to resolve Defendant's challenge to the validity of the search warrant. On February 28, 2008, Detective Shane Keys of the Taney County Sheriff's Department applied for a search warrant for a residence and other outbuildings or garages located at [house number] State Highway BB in Hollister. Detective Keys's supporting affidavit detailed his assignment with the Combined Ozarks Multi–Jurisdictional Enforcement Team (COMET) and his training and experience with narcotics enforcement, confidential informants, and undercover operations. The affidavit identified the residence and “shop building” as the target of a COMET investigation regarding the use and distribution of methamphetamine, and that “Steven Wilson” owned the property.

The affidavit further stated:

Within approximately the past eighteen months I spoke with a confidential source who wishes to remain anonymous for safety purposes. The confidential source admitted that he/she was using methamphetamine had [sic] obtained methamphetamine from a Ron White from his residence behind Empire Electric in Hollister. The confidential source gave me detailed directions and

[404 S.W.3d 920]

descriptions of the residence that were later followed and found to be accurate.

....

Within the past month I spoke with a proven reliable confidential source who wishes to remain anonymous for safety purposes. The confidential source stated he/she had direct knowledge of a Steve who is actively involved in the illegal distribution of methamphetamine from the residence. The confidential source stated that illegal methamphetamine use and distribution was occurring at the residence and garage.

Within the past week I spoke with a separate proven reliable confidential source who wishes to remain anonymous for safety purposes. The confidential source stated that he/she had knowledge of a Steve who is involved in the illegal distribution of methamphetamine. The confidential source stated Steve's residence was located behind Empire Electric in Hollister and gave me detailed descriptions to the residence that I know to be accurate.

Within the past seventy-two hours I spoke with the original confidential source who wishes to remain anonymous for safety purposes. The confidential source stated that he/she was inside of Ron White's residence located behind Empire Electric within the past seventy-two hours and observed what he/she knows to be methamphetamine inside of the residence. The confidential...

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