Case summaries for Jan. 14 – Jan. 20, 2022
Patrol Car Pat-Down Okay
The circuit court’s credibility determinations are subject to review for clear error but receive deference in the light most favorable to the circuit court’s ruling, so appellant’s own testimony to the contrary does not support reversal. Appellant consented to a pat-down before discussing an unrelated matter in a patrol car so as to be away from third persons arguing with appellant. The patrol car was unlocked, appellant was in the front seat, and appellant was under no restraint, so questions about the contents of appellant’s pockets did not constitute a custodial interrogation requiring a Miranda warning. Circuit court did not err in denying appellant’s motion to suppress.
State of Missouri vs. Kenneth L. Wykert
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD84272
Credibility Determines Motion to Suppress
“Warrantless searches are ‘per se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment[,]’ unless an ‘established and well-delineated’ exception applies.” Such exceptions include a search incident to lawful arrest, which extends as far as defendant could reach to destroy evidence or grasp a weapon. The record includes evidence that defendant was not within reach of defendant’s backpack when arrested, which put the backpack beyond the scope of a search incident to a lawful arrest, and the circuit court found that testimony credible. The circuit court was also free to disbelieve the State’s testimony about processing persons arrested, and whether officers would have followed those procedures, at jail. Appellate courts defer to the circuit’s determinations on credibility, so the circuit court did not clearly err in granting the motion to suppress.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Plaintiff-Appellant v. THOMAS ELVIN BRANSON, Defendant-Respondent
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District – SD37081