Wednesday, January 22, 2014

KYCOA - Harris - Search of Mouth and Fruit of Poisonous Tree Statement

Harris v. Commonwealth COA, 1/10/14, not to be published

The Court found that the trial court erred when it did not suppress the evidence against Mr. Harris. Although the traffic stop was permissible and Mr. Harris consented to a pat-down search, the search produced no weapons or contraband. However, the officer’s hunch that Mr. Harris had something in his mouth was not proven out when Harris opened his mouth and the officer did not see anything. Harris’s statement that he had swallowed Xanax tablets were fruit of the poisonous tree and should also have been suppressed.  

Julia K. Pearson represented Mr. Harris on appeal. Robert Clark and Susie Bookser represented him at the trial level.

Contributed by Emily Rhorer