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State v. Scott

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

January 16, 2020

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
SAMANTHA GRISSOM SCOTT

          Session May 14, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Warren County No. 18-CR-1805 Larry B. Stanley, Jr., Judge

         The Defendant, Samantha Grissom Scott, pleaded guilty in the Circuit Court for Warren County to possession with the intent to deliver more than twenty-six grams of methamphetamine and to possession of drug paraphernalia. See T.C.A. §§ 39-17-434 (2018) (possession with the intent to deliver methamphetamine), 39-17-425 (2018) (possession of drug paraphernalia). The trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective eight years and ordered her to serve 180 days' confinement with the remainder on probation. On appeal, the Defendant presents a certified question of law regarding the legality of the warrantless entry into her home. We dismiss the appeal because the certified question is not dispositive of the case.

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

          Brent Horst, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Samantha Grissom Scott.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Lisa Zavogiannis, District Attorney General; and Matt Colvard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Norma McGee Ogle, J., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE

         This case relates to the seizure of the Defendant and search of her home on December 20, 2017. Warren County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the Defendant's home at the request of the White County Sheriff's Office to look for Ronnie Dishman, who was the Defendant's stepbrother and who had multiple outstanding arrest warrants from White County. When the deputies arrived at the home, they saw an unknown male, who was later identified as codefendant Scott Bell, enter the home.

         Deputies saw the Defendant inside the home, as well. The deputies set up a perimeter around the home, and the Defendant and codefendant Bell were detained when they left the home approximately thirty minutes later. The Defendant provided the deputies with written consent to search the home to search for Mr. Dishman. Upon searching a bedroom for Mr. Dishman, the police saw a bag containing a "crystal substance" that later field-tested positive for methamphetamine. The deputies obtained a search warrant for the home, which resulted in the seizure of additional methamphetamine from a washing machine. The Defendant was charged with various drug-related offenses. She filed a motion to suppress the evidence found inside the home on the basis that her consent to search was the product of an illegal entry, illegal search, and coercion.

         At the suppression hearing, Warren County Deputy Tyler Glenn testified that the White County Sheriff's Office requested that the Warren County Sheriff's Office attempt to find Mr. Dishman, whom the White County Sheriff's Office believed was armed with a handgun or rifle, at the Defendant's home. Deputy Glenn said that he relied solely upon the information provided by the White County Sheriff's Office that Mr. Dishman would be at the Defendant's home and that he did not conduct an independent investigation to verify the information. Deputy Glenn said that he and five additional deputies drove to the Defendant's home and that everyone was armed with "long arms," which he described as shotguns, because many homes in the area had long driveways and open fields and that "a pistol is not something you want to have . . . if you get into a shootout." Deputy Glenn said that "pretty much everyone" in Warren County owned a rifle or shotgun.

         Deputy Glenn testified that he and the deputies parked in the Defendant's driveway and that Deputy Derek Bowles saw a man, whom Deputy Bowles believed was Mr. Dishman, standing on the porch. Deputy Glenn said that the man looked at Deputy Bowles, entered the home, and locked the door and that Deputy Bowles ran to the door. Deputy Glenn said the deputies surrounded the home. Deputy Glenn said that he could see into the home through a glass front door, that he saw "several subjects running throughout" the home, and that the deputies gave commands for the people inside the home to come outside with their hands up because they were "surrounded." Deputy Glenn said that after about thirty minutes, the Defendant came outside and walked backward toward Deputy Bowles, who placed the Defendant in handcuffs.

         Deputy Glenn testified that after the Defendant was placed in handcuffs, the man inside the home came outside about five minutes later. Deputy Glenn thought that the man was Mr. Dishman but that the man was codefendant Bell. Deputy Glenn said codefendant Bell told the deputies that Mr. Dishman was not inside the home. Deputy Glenn said that Captain Bo Ramsey and Chief Deputy Tommy Meyers arrived at the scene and that the Defendant provided written consent for the deputies to enter the home to search for Mr. Dishman. Deputy Glenn said that they "cleared" the home "in a tactical setting" with their guns drawn. Deputy Glenn said that after they established Mr. Dishman was not inside, the deputies left the home. Deputy Glenn said that when the deputies returned outside, Investigator Roberts stated that he had seen a bag containing methamphetamine on the floor inside a bedroom. Deputy Glenn said that Investigator Roberts and Investigator Stevens asked the Defendant about the bag and that the Defendant declined to provide her consent to further search the home. Deputy Glenn stated that Investigators Roberts and Stevens left the scene and returned several hours later with a search warrant. Deputy Glenn denied attempting to obtain the Defendant's consent to search the home while the investigators obtained the warrant, although he admitted talking to the Defendant about the cold weather and "pretty much everything" not related to what was inside the home.

         On cross-examination, Deputy Glenn testified that he received the information from the White County Sheriff's Office about twenty minutes before going to the Defendant's home and that the only information provided was that Mr. Dishman had outstanding arrest warrants and might have been armed. ...


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