Search based on anonymous tip without any corroborating evidence not valid.

Search based on anonymous tip without any corroborating evidence not valid. 

A jury returned guilty verdicts against Ricky E. Flowers (Defendant) on the charges of possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to use and possession of methamphetamine, a controlled substance.  The trial court entered judgment and sentenced Defendant to concurrent, three-year terms on each offense. Defendant contended that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress, and subsequently admitted evidence at trial that the police found on Defendant’s person and inside his duffel bag because the officer who stopped him lacked reasonable suspicion to conduct a warrantless search of his duffle bags, which contained evidence that was admitted into evidence after a motion to suppress was sustained.  On appeal to the Southern District, the case was reversed and remanded because the officer lacked reasonable suspicion for the search.  The crucial evidence in this case used to justify the search was based upon the dispatch information that he had received because when the officer first observed the Defendant, he was standing alone outside on a deck talking on the phone, and he was unable to corroborate the tip coming from an unknown source that the Defendant was threatening to assault another male and to do damage to a vehicle.  In other words, this was nothing more than an anonymous tip without any corroborating evidence strictly forbidden by the law.  State v. Flowers, 2013 WL 3027866 (Mo. App. S.D., 2013). (SD32073, 6/18/2013)

Comment Howard: This case has a pretty good summary of the law that police officers should know front and back.  You have to scratch your head as to why a case like this was not triaged early in the process.

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