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State v. Tollis

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

August 29, 2019

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
ANTHONY T. TOLLIS

          Session: May 29, 2019

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for Hamilton County No. 294649 Barry A. Steelman, Judge

         The Defendant, Anthony T. Tollis, entered a plea of nolo contendre to sexual exploitation of a minor. 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 computer was lawful based on the search warrant. 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 Criminal Court Affirmed

          Mike A. Little, Deputy Public Defender; Ted Engel and Victoria L. Smith, Assistant Public Defenders, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anthony T. Tollis.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; M. Todd Ridley, Assistant Attorney General; Neal Pinkston, District Attorney General; and Leslie A. Longshore, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which John Everett Williams, P.J., and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., J., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE

         I. Facts

         This case arises from the discovery of sexual images of minors stored on the Defendant's home computer. Based on information received from a family member staying at the Defendant's home for a few days, law enforcement sought and obtained a search warrant for the Defendant's computer. Investigators subsequently searched the Defendant's computer and found images of underage nude girls. For this conduct, a Hamilton County grand jury indicted the Defendant for one count of sexual exploitation of a minor and two counts of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor.

         A. Motion to Suppress

         The Defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence obtained during the search of his computer, contending that the search warrant authorizing the search was not based on sufficient probable cause. The affidavit in support of the search warrant and the warrant itself were attached to the motion. The facts contained in the affidavit in support of the search warrant were as follows:

On December 5, 2014, Mr. James Tollise went to visit his uncle, [the Defendant], at his residence located [in Hamilton County].
The [Defendant's] residence . . . is more particularly described as a brick duplex with a brown roof. [The Defendant] resides on the left side of the duplex when viewing the duplex from [the street], which is the side located closest to the driveway.
Mr. James Tollise stated that his uncle, [the Defendant], made statements to him about wanting to fulfil[l] [the Defendant's] sexual fantasy about being with a teenage girl. Mr. James Tollise stated that this statement made him suspicious about incidents and statements that have happened in the past.
On December 6, 2014, Mr. James Tollise got on [the Defendant's] computer around [7:00 a.m.].
Mr. James Tollise stated that [the Defendant's] computer was located on a glass desk directly in front of the front door of [the residence]. [Mr. James Tollise] further described the computer as a "custom built" computer with the sides off for ventilation.
Mr. James Tollise stated that he clicked on the "My Photos" icon and saw at least fifteen (15) ...

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