Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Hartsfield

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

February 20, 2018


          Assigned on Briefs, at Knoxville, November 28, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Lawrence County No. 33441 J. Russell Parkes, Judge

         In 2016, the Defendant, Timothy Mark Hartsfield, entered a best interest plea to possession of methamphetamine, possession of synthetic marijuana, and unlawful possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. The Defendant reserved a certified question of law pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b)(2) as to whether the search of the Defendant's residence was valid based on statements made by the investigating officer in the search warrant application. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to ten years of incarceration. After a thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed

          James B. McVeigh, Spring Hill, Tennessee, for the appellant, Timothy Mark Hartsfield.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Alexander C. Vey, Assistant Attorney General; Brent A. Cooper, District Attorney General; and Christi L. Thompson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and J. Ross Dyer, J., joined.



         I. Facts

         This case arises from the Defendant selling drugs inside his home to a confidential informant ("CI") while investigators listened to the transaction over an audio device. The CI wore a camera that recorded the transaction. Following the controlled buy, the CI provided an affidavit detailing the purchase of the drugs from the Defendant, as well as the Defendant's possession of a firearm. Based on the CI's affidavit, law enforcement officers applied for a search warrant, and a magistrate approved the warrant. Investigators subsequently searched the Defendant's home and found drugs and a weapon.

         A. Motion to Suppress

         The Defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence obtained during the search of his home, contending that the chain of custody of the narcotics sold by the Defendant had been broken and contending that sufficient probable cause did not exist to support the search warrant. The trial court held a hearing on the Defendant's motion, during which the following evidence was presented: Investigator Todd Daniels testified that he was employed by the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department and assigned to the narcotics unit. On March 23, 2015, Investigator Daniels met with the CI after the CI contacted him about a potential narcotics purchase. The men met at a grocery store and, after searching the CI, the CI got inside the investigator's van. The CI told Investigator Daniels that he was going to purchase from the Defendant one gram of methamphetamine and a packet of synthetic marijuana. Investigator Daniels installed a recording device on the CI and gave him $175 in marked currency. Investigator Daniels testified that this was done in the situation of a "controlled buy."

         The CI then proceeded to the Defendant's residence in his girlfriend's car, with his girlfriend present. Investigator Daniels agreed that neither the girlfriend nor her vehicle were searched. Once at the Defendant's house, investigators heard over the audio device the CI enter the home and speak with the Defendant. During their conversation, the Defendant spoke of having a .380 caliber gun in his home. The State offered the video recording of the CI and the Defendant's interaction as evidence and then played it in open court. Investigator Daniels confirmed he did not watch the video before applying for the search warrant but relied on what he heard over the audio transmission of the transaction.

         The video showed the CI and the Defendant inside the Defendant's residence. A portion of the .380 caliber weapon is visible on the recording. The video showed the CI giving the Defendant the $175 in marked bills, and the Defendant counting the money. The video recording shows the CI displaying the synthetic marijuana and methamphetamine packages. Investigator Daniels confirmed that the CI, as he had been instructed to do, made the drugs clear in the video recording so that they could be identified. Investigator Daniels agreed that in the application for the search warrant he stated that the video recording showed the drugs and money being exchanged and that that statement was false; he clarified that "counting money" could be heard on the recording but the actual exchange was not recorded.

         On cross-examination, Investigator Daniels testified that he field tested the drugs that the Defendant sold to the CI before he applied for the search warrant. The drugs tested positive for the substances the CI claimed they would be. He stated that, having had prior dealings with the Defendant, Investigator Daniels recognized the Defendant's voice on the recording. Investigator Daniels denied putting any information in the search warrant application that he knew to be false.

         On redirect-examination, Investigator Daniels testified that he did not intentionally make false statements in the search warrant application but acknowledged ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.