Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Police spotted Richard Raymond Dixon II make a right-hand turn. Though he did use his signal, policy pulled Dixon over three miles later on the ground that he did not signal within 100 feet of the intersection. After being asked, Dixon granted permission for the officers to search the vehicle, and the search came up clean. A search of Dixon and his traveling companion did not yield anything, either. The officers called in a drug dog and a female officer. Though the dog did not alert on anything, the female officer found three bagfuls of methamphetamine in Dixon’s companion’s underwear. Both Dixon and his companion were arrested. In a pretrial motion, Dixon filed a motion to suppress introduction of the methamphetamine, saying the police stop was pretextual. Without receiving testimony, the trial court granted Dixon’s motions. The trial court found that the delay between when the officers observed the traffic violation and when they pulled Dixon over was not within a reasonable distance or time. The state requested findings of fact and conclusions of law, which the trial court did. On appeal, the state faults the trial court for conducting the hearing without receiving testimony. The state also faults the trial court for making findings of fact and conclusions of law where no evidence was presented. The state also challenges the substance of the trial court’s ruling. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court first finds that the state did not present any argument in support of its position on its argument that a trial court cannot decide a pretrial motion without hearing testimony. The court finds the point waived. The court also finds that the request for findings of fact and conclusions of law was made by the state, not by Dixon. Consequently, the doctrine of invited error applies, and even if the trial court did err by entering findings of fact, that error “could not enure to the benefit of the State.” The court defers to the trial court’s finding of unreasonable delay in time and distance between alleged traffic violation and pulling Dixon over, noting that nothing interfered with the officers’ ability to stop Dixon’s vehicle earlier. “We do not hold that a delay of this distance will always be unreasonable. In each such instance, the court should properly consider all of the factors surrounding the stop. In that context, we reiterate that the trial court made a specific finding that nothing would have prevented an earlier stop, that the stop was 3.2 miles from the point of the alleged violation, and that the stop was not made either within a reasonable time or a reasonable distance after the alleged violation.” The court adds that even though there were no witnesses to give formal testimony, both sides agreed to the facts involved and the sequence of events. OPINION:Ross, J.; Morriss, C.J., Ross and Carter, JJ.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 1 article* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.