Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs March 21, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Franklin County Nos.
2016-CR-105-B, 2016-CR-105-C Thomas W. Graham, Judge.
the denial of suppression motions, the defendants, Lucy
Caitlin Alford and Jeremie Alford, entered guilty pleas in
Franklin County Circuit Court to felony possession of
methamphetamine and reserved the right to appeal certified
questions of law relating to the sufficiency of the affidavit
supporting the search warrant issued in this case. The
defendants assert the affidavit, which was based on
information provided by a confidential informant, failed to
meet the two-pronged Aguilar-Spinelli test for
probable cause, lacked independent police corroboration, and
was materially misleading. The State contends the affidavit
was sufficient. Following our review of the record and
pertinent authorities, including the recent Tennessee Supreme
Court decision of State v. Jerry Lewis Tuttle,
S.W.3d, No. M2014-00566-SC-R11-CD, 2017 WL 1246855 (Tenn.
Apr. 5, 2017), we affirm the judgments of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Circuit
A. Isbell, Winchester, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lucy
Jeffery Harmon, District Public Defender, and Kandi Nunley,
Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Jeremie Jackson
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent
C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; J. Michael Taylor,
District Attorney General; and Courtney C. Lynch, Assistant
District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
Ross Dyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
John Everett Williams and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.
ROSS DYER, JUDGE.
and Procedural History
defendants were arrested following the execution of a search
warrant obtained by Detective Kelly Gass with the Winchester
Police Department. The supporting affidavit stated, in
relevant part, as follows:
On September 15, 2015 Investigator James Sherrill with the
Coffee County Sheriff's Department came to me advising he
had spoken with an informant in reference to narcotic traffic
involving Jeremie Alford. Investigator Sherrill has only
known this informant for a short time, but advised he has had
several conversations with this informant in reference to
narcotic traffic. Investigator Sherrill advised the
information given by this informant has been true and correct
due to Investigator Sherrill's investigations into the
informants (sic) information. The informant has also given
information leading to an arrest and conviction in a
marijuana case involving Investigator Chad Partin, former
Coffee County Sheriff's Investigator.
Investigator Sherrill advised he spoke with this informant on
September 15, 2015 and the informant advised he/she had been
to the residence of Jeremie Alford at 500 South Jefferson
[Street] in Winchester, TN and did see a quantity of
methamphetamine within the past 48 hours. The informant
advised he/she observed methamphetamine being weighed out.
The informant knew this to be meth due to Jeremie Alford
referring to it as meth and the informants (sic) past
experience with meth use. The informant advised that he/she
has purchased meth from Jeremie Alford in the past.
Franklin County Grand Jury returned a four count indictment
charging the defendants and Jonathan Lynn Cornelison with:
theft of a handgun valued at more than $1000 but less than
$10, 000; possession of methamphetamine, a Schedule II
controlled substance, with intent to sell or deliver;
possession of Buprenorphine, a Schedule II controlled
substance; and possession of drug paraphernalia. The
defendants subsequently filed a motion to suppress the
evidence collected after the execution of the warrant,
arguing the warrant did ...