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State v. Owens

February 05, 1999

STATE OF TENNESSEE, APPELLEE,
v.
LAMANIS EUGENE OWENS, APPELLANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joe G. Riley, Judge

(Certified Question of Law)

OBION COUNTY

HON. WILLIAM B. ACREE, JR., JUDGE

APPEAL DISMISSED

OPINION

The defendant, Lamanis Eugene Owens, pled guilty in Obion County Circuit Court to possession of marijuana over one-half ounce with the intent to sell, a Class E felony. The guilty plea was entered after the trial court overruled defendant's motion to suppress evidence. Although defendant attempted to reserve the suppression issue as a certified question of law dispositive of the case, he failed to properly do so. The appeal, therefore, is DISMISSED.

I.

The defendant was observed making a turn in his car without signaling. Officer Scott King of the Union City Police Department made a traffic stop based upon the defendant's failure to signal. The defendant could not produce a driver's license, and King learned from the dispatcher that the defendant's driver's license was suspended. The defendant was arrested for driving on a suspended license and placed in King's patrol car.

Officer King then conducted a search of the passenger compartment of defendant's car incident to the arrest. The search yielded 285 grams of marijuana. The defendant was then arrested for possession of marijuana with the intent to sell.

The defendant subsequently filed a motion to suppress, alleging King had made an illegal pretextual stop. The defendant changed theories at the hearing on the motion and claimed the stop was invalid because he did not violate the signal statutes. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 55-8-142(a); 55-8-143(a)(requiring a signal only when other traffic may be affected by such movement).

The trial court overruled the motion to suppress, finding a lawful stop pursuant to a traffic violation. The trial court further held the search incident to a lawful arrest and valid based upon New York v. ...


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