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State v. Johnson

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

October 23, 2019

DEMETRIUS J. JOHNSON Count Offense Sentence

          Assigned on Briefs September 4, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Madison County No. 17-608 Donald H. Allen, Judge

         In November 2017, the Madison County Grand Jury indicted Defendant, Demetrius J. Johnson, for various drug and firearm offenses. Defendant filed a motion to suppress, which was denied by the trial court. Defendant then pled guilty to the offenses, attempting to reserve the following certified question of law for appeal: "Did the affidavit in support of the search warrant establish probable cause within the four corners of said affidavit?" After review, we conclude that this court does not have jurisdiction to address the certified question because the certification did not meet the requirements of State v. Preston, 759 S.W.2d 647 (Tenn. 1988). We, therefore, dismiss the appeal.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Appeal Dismissed

          George Morton Googe, District Public Defender, and Gregory D. Gookin, Assistant District Public Defender, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Demetrius J. Johnson.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Zachary T. Hinkle, Assistant Attorney General; Jody Pickens, District Attorney General; and Matthew Floyd, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Alan E. Glenn and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.



         Factual and Procedural Background

         Defendant's charges arose out of the execution of a search warrant at Defendant's residence on East Deaderick Street in Jackson. According to the State's factual recitation at Defendant's guilty plea submission hearing:

[On] November 3rd, 2016 at approximately 5:36 a.m., the gang unit and Metro Narcotics and the SWAT team with the Jackson Police Department executed a narcotics search warrant at 130 East Deaderick Street. [Defendant] was the target of the search warrant and he reside[d] at that address. Upon arrival officers made contact with numerous people who lived in the house and some family members of [Defendant]. SWAT then proceeded to clear the residence when the[y] encountered [Defendant] coming out of the bathroom. [Defendant] was detained and escorted outside. The officers read the search warrant to him at that time. Sergeant White[, ] who is a member of the SWAT team[, ] informed investigators that [Defendant] had come out of the bathroom and had possibly flushed some marijuana down the toilet. The officers proceeded to the bathroom where they noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the bathroom. There were a couple of small packs of what appeared to be marijuana floating in the toilet and the toilet was running at that time.
There was some loose marijuana, approximately .15 grams lying on the bathroom floor beside the toilet. There was a large plastic bag in the garbage can by the toilet that was wet on the open end and contained marijuana residue. Officers believed the bag was possibly wet from where [Defendant] was dumping marijuana down the toilet. [Defendant] had also lit two incense sticks in the bathroom to cover up the odor of marijuana.
. . . [A]t that time they did conduct a search of the house initially using one of the K-9 units. The dog alerted on the garbage can in the bathroom where [Defendant] had exited and also alerted on the coffee table in [Defendant's] bedroom. During the search of [Defendant's] bedroom, investigators located a black Crown Royal bag containing marijuana.
There was also a clear baggie containing crack cocaine in the Crown Royal bag. Officers also located a digital scale with marijuana residue and a box of sandwich bags on the same coffee table beside the Crown Royal bag. The sandwich bags were probably used to package illegal narcotics. They also located some loose marijuana lying on the floor beside the coffee table.
Sergeant Gilley located a Remington 12 gauge shotgun lying on the floor at the head of [Defendant's] bed. The shotgun was not loaded, but Investigator Rhodes located nine 12 gauge shotgun shells in [Defendant's] bedroom. Investigator Rhodes also located a Jennings [.]32 semiautomatic pistol lying in a pile of clothes next to [Defendant's] bed. That gun was loaded with six rounds in the magazine and no rounds in the chamber.
Investigator Rhodes also located a box containing twenty-nine [.]32 caliber rounds lying in the pile of clothes in close proximity to the handgun. There were three additional rounds lying in the floor in [Defendant's] bedroom.
. . . [Defendant's] wallet contained his ID and Social Security Card on the dresser in this bedroom along with mail addressed to [Defendant]. The address [where] this search was executed was also on his Tennessee ID[.]
. . . [T]hey did take a statement from one of the other residents of the house who stated that the bedroom belonged to [Defendant]. Photos were taken of the evidence and the drugs were seized and sent to the TBI lab. . . . [T]he total amount of marijuana that was ...

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