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State v. Reed

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

February 22, 2018

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
RICHARD EUGENE REED

          Session December 19, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 103209 Scott Green, Judge, Mary Beth Leibowitz, Judge.

         The Defendant, Richard Eugene Reed, was convicted by a Knox County Criminal Court jury of possession with intent to sell 0.5 gram or more of cocaine in a drug-free school zone, a Class A felony; possession with intent to deliver 0.5 gram or more of cocaine in a drug-free school zone, a Class A felony; possession with intent to sell 0.5 gram or more of cocaine within a drug-free childcare zone, a Class B felony; possession with intent to deliver 0.5 gram or more in a drug-free childcare zone, a Class B felony; possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class D felony; and unlawful possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, a Class D felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-17-417 (2010) (amended 2012, 2014) (possession of 0.5 gram or more of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver), 39-17-432 (2014) (drug-free school zone and drug-free childcare zone enhancement), 39-13-1324 (2010) (amended 2012, 2014) (possession of firearm during commission of a dangerous felony), 39-17-1307 (2014) (amended 2017) (unlawful possession of a weapon by a convicted felon). The trial court merged the drug-related convictions and sentenced the Defendant to an effective twenty years' confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions and (2) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Criminal Court Affirmed

          Gerald L. Gulley, Jr. (on appeal) and Forrest Wallace (at trial), Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Richard Eugene Reed.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Katherine A. Redding, Assistant Attorney General; Charme Allen, District Attorney General; and Sean McDermott, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE.

         This case arises from a July 5, 2011 warrantless search of the apartment shared by the Defendant and Donna Garrett and the seizure of evidence found during the search. The Defendant filed a pretrial motion to suppress the seized evidence, alleging that the warrantless search was unconstitutional. The Defendant argued that neither he nor Ms. Garrett consented to the search and that although Ms. Garrett's daughter, Junisha Garrett, [1] consented to a search, Junisha was without legal authority as a minor to consent. The Defendant asserted that all evidence obtained during the search should be suppressed as fruit of the poisonous tree.

         SUPPRESSION HEARING

         At the suppression hearing, Knoxville Police Officer Jeff Damewood testified that on July 5, 2011, he responded to the scene of a reported attempted robbery and a shooting near the apartment shared by the Defendant and Ms. Garrett. Officer Damewood stated that witnesses to the robbery and shooting identified a house that the suspects entered. Officer Damewood said that the house contained two apartments, one on the first floor and one on the second floor. Officer Damewood said that he first entered the first floor apartment, that it was empty, and that he knocked on the door to the upstairs apartment. Officer Damewood stated that two women answered the door, that the women said they were alone in the apartment, and that he asked the women if he could search the apartment to look for the suspects. Officer Damewood said that the women consented to the search and that he and other officers entered the apartment.

         Officer Damewood testified that he searched the master bedroom, that he entered the bedroom closet, and that he saw an open box of "baggies" on a shelf. Officer Damewood stated that he could see inside the box and that one of the baggies contained a white substance, which he thought was crack cocaine. Officer Damewood said that he did not touch the box or any of the baggies and that he continued searching the master bedroom for the suspects. Officer Damewood stated that the suspects were not inside the apartment. Officer Damewood said that he told the supervising officer at the scene, Officer Coker, about the baggies inside the master bedroom closet.

         Officer Damewood testified that Ms. Garrett rented the apartment and that Ms. Garrett arrived home as the search for the suspects ended. Officer Damewood stated that Ms. Garrett said she shared the apartment and the master bedroom with the Defendant and that Ms. Garrett consented to a subsequent search of the apartment.

         Officer Damewood testified that he reentered the master bedroom closet and that he seized the box of baggies. Officer Damewood stated that he found a gun, cash, ammunition, and a second box of baggies inside a shoebox in the closet. Officer Damewood stated that he found a plate containing white residue and razor blades under the bed and that he found the Defendant's driver's license and offender identification card on a bedside table.

         Officer Damewood testified that officers saw the Defendant in an alleyway near the house and arrested him. Officer Damewood stated that he did not know the Defendant lived in the apartment before entering and that he learned the Defendant was on probation after finding the Defendant's offender identification card.

         Officer Damewood testified that baggies were generally used to package drugs for selling and that seeing the box of baggies on a shelf inside the closet was suspicious. Officer Damewood stated that the shelf was below eye level and that he could see inside the box. Officer Damewood said that the master bedroom door was not locked.

         Shondia Grimes testified for the defense that she was Ms. Garrett's cousin and that the Defendant was Ms. Garrett's boyfriend. Ms. Grimes stated that she was in the apartment with Junisha and that Junisha was age fifteen or sixteen at the time. Ms. Grimes said she heard a knock at the door, that she and Junisha answered the door, and that she saw police officers with their guns drawn standing outside. Ms. Grimes stated that the officers said they were looking for suspects from a shooting and asked if anyone was inside the apartment. Ms. Grimes stated that she told the officers the suspects were not in the apartment but that the officers asked if they could search the apartment. Ms. Grimes said that she told the officers she did not live in the apartment, that she could not consent to a search, and that the officers eventually went inside the apartment. Ms. Grimes stated that she did not know if Junisha allowed the officers inside.

         Following the hearing, the trial court denied the Defendant's motion to suppress. The court found that Junisha consented to the initial search and that no legal authority showed that a "teenage person cannot give permission to search or enter an apartment." The court found that after Officer Damewood observed what he believed was crack cocaine in plain sight, officers obtained consent from Ms. Garrett for an ...


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