Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Session Date August 12, 2014
Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 2012-A-59 Mark Fishburn, Judge
Joshua L. Brand, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gregory Lamont Hall.
Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Caitlin Smith, Assistant Attorney General; Glenn R. Funk, District Attorney General; and Robert Elliot McGuire and Janice Norman, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Norma McGee Ogle, JJ., joined.
D. KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE
The only evidence adduced in this case resulted from a search warrant issued on August 18, 2011. The "affidavit in support of [a] search warrant" stated the following:
This affidavit is made by Detective Ronald L. Kumrow who has been a sworn police officer since 2002, now testifies herein which is based upon your affiant's personal knowledge, upon information received from other law enforcement officers, or upon information obtained from other sources as noted, which your Affiant believes to be true, and is as follows. Your Affiant received information that illegal narcotics were being sold at 1614 17th Ave North. Apt. A Nashville . . . . Within the last 72 hours, your Affiant met with a Confidential Informant, (hereafter referred to as CI). Said CI was searched for contraband and stripped of all personal money and property. Said CI was wired for surveillance purposes. CI was then given previously photocopied buy money and instructed to purchase a quantity of cocaine from 1614 17th Ave North. Apt. A[, ] . . . which the CI did. The said CI was observed walking up to the target location and entered the target door. Said CI then entered inside the residence, and momentarily exit [sic] the same door. The CI then returned to me, where the CI turned over a quantity of a white rock substance. The white rock substance field-tested positive for cocaine base. The CI was then searched and no other contraband was found. Said CI is familiar with crack cocaine from past exposure and experience and has given information that has led to the lawful recovery of illegal narcotics. Affiant will disclose the CI's name to the Judge signing the warrant only. The CI wishes to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal.
Your affiant wishes to search each person(s) on the above premises; From the Affiant's training and experience, he has learned that most persons present at premises where controlled substances are sold, bought, and/or used, have controlled substances, paraphernalia, weapons or other evidence of criminal conduct secreted on their person.
The last page of the affidavit listed Det. Kumrow's "experience and basis of knowledge" regarding "the habits, characteristics, and practices of drug traffickers."
The trial court denied the Defendant's suppression motion, concluding that, in addition to the controlled buy, the affidavit demonstrated that there was ongoing criminal activity occurring at the target residence based, "at least in part, on [Det. Kumrow's] and other police [officers'] investigation." The trial court further concluded that the probable cause for the search warrant was not stale even though the controlled buy had occurred within the past seventy-two hours because Det. Kumrow's information "relating to drug sales at that location" was sufficient to "establish an ongoing nexus that the items contained in the search warrant would be found at the location specified."
At the Defendant's guilty plea submission hearing, the State summarized the evidence against him. On August 19, 2011, the Defendant was inside the target residence, which was within 1, 000 feet of a school, when the search warrant was executed. The Defendant was seen standing next to a toilet, attempting to flush a plastic bag containing what was ultimately determined to be cocaine. In total, the cocaine weighed 29.4 grams. The ...