Session March 7, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Dyer County No. 16-CR-58 R. Lee
Moore, Jr., Judge
Rodney Paul Starnes, II, was indicted by the Dyer County
Grand Jury for one count of possession with intent to sell or
deliver synthetic cannabinoids. Defendant filed a motion to
suppress, alleging that the affidavit in support of a search
warrant was defective and failed to give rise to probable
cause because the affidavit contained no information
establishing a confidential informant's basis of
knowledge. The trial court granted Defendant's motion
based upon the then controlling authority of State v.
Jacumin, 778 S.W.2d. 430 (Tenn. 1989), and the State
appealed. Following our review of the record and pertinent
authorities, including the Tennessee Supreme Court's
recent decision in State v. Tuttle, 515 S.W.3d 282
(Tenn. 2017), we reverse the judgment of the trial court and
remand for further proceedings in the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Reversed and Remanded
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; C. Phillip
Bivens, District Attorney General; and Lance E. Webb,
Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State
R. Creasy, Dyersburg, Tennessee (on appeal) and James E.
Lanier; District Public Defender; and Sean P. Day, Assistant
Public Defender (at trial) for the appellee, Rodney Paul
T. Woodall, P.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Robert L. Holloway, Jr.,
T. WOODALL, PRESIDING JUDGE.
19, 2016, the trial court conducted a hearing on
Defendant's motion to suppress. The search warrant and
supporting affidavit were made exhibits to the hearing. The
relevant portions of the affidavit stated:
2. A Confidential Source, hereafter referred to as CS, has
contacted the affiant concerning suspect Rodney Starnes,
"AKA Hot Rod" selling synthetic cannabinoids from
his residence at 55 Kari Circle. CS stated that Mr. Starnes
is a well[-]known synthetic cannabinoid dealer and that CS
has previously bought synthetic cannabinoids from Mr.
3. A vehicle registration query revealed that Rodney Starnes
has a gold 2011 Ford pick[-]up truck currently registered to
him at the address of 55 Kari Circle[, ] Dyersburg, TN with
an expiration date of 11/30/15. A driver's license check
also revealed that 55 Kari Circle Dyersburg, TN 38024 belongs
to Rodney Starnes.
4. On Monday 11-09-15[, ] Inv. Stoney Hughes and Deputy Chief
Glen Cook were conducting a stationary observation of Mr.
Starnes['s] residence on 55 Kari Circle after receiving
complaints from neighbors that a vehicle pulls up every day
at approximately 1530 hours and picks up narcotics. At
approximately 1528 hours a dark blue Ford sedan occupied by a
white male and a white female received a package from a
female individual who exited the residence at 55 Kari Circle.
The registration on the sedan came back to 210 Holly Springs
Cemetery Road Dyersburg, TN 38024. The residence belonging to
Mr. Starnes['s] brother identified as Michael Bryson.
5. On 11-12-2015 Deputy Chief Glen Cook, Inv. Stoney Hughes,
Inv. Ken Simpson, Deputy Danny Petrie, and affiant conducted
a second stationary observation of the residence at 55 Kari
Circle. Deputy Chief Glen Cook observed a gold Ford sedan
pull up at the residence and the driver of the aforementioned
vehicle go to the rear door of the residence. Then the driver
and a female got into the vehicle and left heading towards
Finley. Affiant observed the passenger of the vehicle not
wearing a seatbelt and a small child not restrained in the
vehicle. Affiant then initiated a traffic stop on said
vehicle on Oak Street in Finley. During the traffic stop a
green substance believed to be marijuana was discovered
during a consent search of the vehicle. The occupants were
identified as Jessica Ramirez and Felicia Brooks. Miss Brooks
was identified as Mr. Starnes['s] girlfriend. An
interview was conducted by Inv. Hughes. Miss Brooks admitted
that Mr. Starnes sells synthetic cannabinoids and she
delivered the package to the car observed by Inv. Hughes ...