Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Session November 14, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Williamson County No. I-CR160015
Joseph A. Woodruff, Judge
Defendant, Jeffery A. Jones, pled guilty in the Williamson
County Circuit Court to DUI .08 % or greater, reserving as a
certified question of law whether the results of his forced
blood draw should have been suppressed because the affidavit
in support of the search warrant contained reckless falsities
and the form nature of the search warrant and affidavit
prevented the magistrate from making an informed judgment as
to probable cause. Following our review, we affirm the
judgment of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
T. Beal and Erin W. Nations, (on appeal); and Ernest W.
Williams (at trial), Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Jeffrey A. Jones.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; M.
Todd Ridley, Assistant Attorney General; Kim R. Helper,
District Attorney General; and Tristan R.P. Poorman,
Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State
E. Glenn, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
John Everett Williams and Norma McGee Ogle, JJ., joined.
E. GLENN, JUDGE
after midnight on July 24, 2015, Deputy Gregory Wilhelm of
the Williamson County Sheriffs Office stopped the Defendant
for driving with a broken headlight. He detected the odor of
alcohol emanating from the Defendant's vehicle and person
and observed a cup of amber-colored liquid underneath the
passenger seat. In addition, the Defendant, whose eyes were
"bloodshot" and "watery, " fumbled for
his insurance and registration, swayed and lost his balance
as he exited his vehicle, and was "slow-speaking with a
slight slur" as he answered the deputy's questions.
After the Defendant failed the horizontal gaze nystagmus test
and refused to participate in any further field sobriety
tests, Deputy Wilhelm placed him under arrest for DUI and
obtained a search warrant for a blood draw, which was
executed at the hospital. The Defendant was subsequently
indicted by the Williamson County Grand Jury for one count of
DUI and one count of DUI .08 % or greater, both Class A
March 18, 2016, the Defendant filed a motion to suppress the
results of his blood draw on the basis that it violated his
Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to be free from
unreasonable search and seizure. Specifically, he alleged
that the preprinted form nature of the affidavit in use in
Williamson County was insufficient to establish probable
cause and that it was obvious from the videotape of the
traffic stop that the information checked by the deputy was
initial April 28, 2016 suppression hearing, Williamson County
Magistrate Tim Cotton testified that he read the affidavit
before he made his determination as to probable cause but did
not question the deputy about his specific experience with
Wilhelm testified that he had handled several DUI stops
during the three years he had been employed with the
Williamson County Sheriffs Department. He had no previous law
enforcement experience prior to being hired by the Williamson
County Sheriffs Department. He said he completed six to eight
weeks of field training, served as a patrol officer for six
months, and then was assigned as a school resource officer.
However, during all school breaks he was reassigned to
midnight patrol. He did not know how many DUI stops he had
made during his entire three years as an officer, but he
recalled that he had made two DUI stops in the past three
weeks. Deputy Wilhelm agreed that he marked on the form
affidavit that the Defendant was "unsteady, "
"swaying, " "staggering, " and
"heavy footed" and said that his interpretation of
"heavy footed" is when someone "is unable to
pick up [his or her] feet and take what a normal person would
see as a normal step."
cross-examination, Deputy Wilhelm testified that he had a
reasonable basis to believe that the Defendant was unsteady,
swaying, staggering, and heavy-footed and that all the
information contained in the preprinted paragraphs of the
affidavit detailing his training and experience was true.
Upon questioning by the trial court, Deputy Wilhelm testified
that, as he recalled, the Defendant exhibited a "very
light sway from side to side" when he was speaking with
the Defendant outside his vehicle. He further testified that
he based his characterizations of the ...