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State v. Willis

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

October 27, 2014

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
COREY M. WILLIS

Session June 17, 2014

Direct Appeal from the Circuit Court for Williamson County No. II-CR067378 James G. Martin, III, Judge

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Kim R. Helper, District Attorney General; and Carlin C. Hess, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Robert Wilson Jones and Henry Ambrose, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Corey M. Wilson.

Norma McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Roger A. Page, J., and Larry J. Wallace, Sp. J., joined.

OPINION

Norma McGee Ogle, Judge

I. Factual Background

On June 10, 2013, the defendant was charged by indictment with DUI; DUI, per se; and DUI, second offense. Subsequently, on October 22, 2013, the defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence derived from the traffic stop, alleging that the police acted without reasonable suspicion.

At the suppression hearing, Laura Jackson testified that on January 28, 2013, she lived at 345 Sliders Knob Avenue. Around 3:30 a.m., she was awakened by a loud noise and lights shining through her open bedroom window. She got out of bed, went to the window, looked outside, and saw a car driving "really fast." As Jackson watched, the car turned down the next road, German Lane. Jackson said that she called the police and told them that

I had seen a car. He'd driven around the cul-de-sac several times, and it was a car that didn't look like it belonged in my neighborhood because it's a dead-end where I live – lived at that time. And he'd driven around several times and then he had turned down – he looked suspicious, what he was doing.
. . . I told them that we'd had cars broken in to [sic], and that someone had recently broken in to [sic] someone's house. We'd had a number of issues, so I just wanted to make sure it was somebody who belonged in the neighborhood because they didn't look like they knew where they were going.

Jackson also told the police that she was a single mother and was concerned that "strange people" might be in her neighborhood.

On cross-examination, Jackson stated that she could tell by the way the lights were shining into her bedroom window that the car had driven around the cul-de-sac a couple of times. She thought the car was a sedan; however, because of the darkness, she could not discern any further details about the car.

Franklin Police Officer Tammy Lee Crowe testified that around 3:30 a.m. on January 28, 2013, she was advised by police dispatch that a complainant had reported an unusual vehicle in the area of Sliders Knob Avenue. She proceeded to the area to investigate, knowing that the area had a history of vehicle burglaries. When she arrived, she did not see any vehicles on Sliders Knob Avenue. After she turned onto German Lane, which was a "dead end" street, she saw a Toyota 4Runner sport utility vehicle (SUV) driving in a wooded area where there were no ...


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