Monday, February 10, 2014

KYCOA - Wilson - inevitable discovery rule

Wilson v.Commonwealth- COA, 2/7/14, to be published- 

A cell phone, GPS, .380 ammunition, and a .380 caliber handgun were stolen from a man’s car.  In tracking the cell phone on “Mobile Me,” the officers were led to a certain apartment complex.  While officers called the phone and walked along the back of the apartment complex listening for the cell phone to ring, an officer saw five bullets on a patio chair.  The bullets were retrieved as well as a GPS unit discovered in a trash can on the patio; the lid on the trash can was askew. In applying for a search warrant, the officers referenced seeing the ammunition, but concerned with the propriety of the way the GPS unit was discovered, did not reference the GPS in the affidavit for the search warrant.  

While the Court of Appeals found the evidence was illegally seized, it refused to reverse based on the “inevitable discovery rule.”  As the Court stated, “Because we have concluded that the record supports the trial court’s conclusion that the officers had probable cause to obtain a search warrant to search the apartment, both the record and commonsense dictate that the police would have inevitably recovered the suppressed evidence. Consequently, even though this evidence was illegally seized, under the inevitable discovery rule, there was no error. Hence, the items do not require suppression.”  

Karen Maurer of DPA Appeals represented Mr. Wilson on appeal.  Brad Clark of the Lexington trial office represented Mr. Wilson below.  

Contributed by Emily Rhorer