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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Jermaine Donte Murphy appeals his conviction for possession of a controlled substance, namely cocaine, in an amount greater than four hundred grams. The state charged Murphy with two offenses arising out of a traffic stop. In addition to possession of a controlled substance, Murphy was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia in justice court. Before trial on the possession of a controlled substance charge, Murphy filed a motion to suppress and a motion to dismiss the indictment based on the doctrine of collateral estoppel. Murphy alleged he had been acquitted of possession of drug paraphernalia and the justice court found the State failed to prove reasonable suspicion for the detention. After the trial court denied the motions, Murphy pled guilty to possession of a controlled substance. A jury assessed punishment at 10 years’ imprisonment. Murphy’s sole issue on appeal is whether the trial court erred in denying the motion to suppress evidence and the motion to dismiss the indictment based on collateral estoppel. HOLDING:Affirmed. The state argues the issue of speeding was not litigated, the drug paraphernalia case was dismissed, the drug paraphernalia case is not final, and the ruling on the motion to suppress is not an essential element of the offense. The court concludes the state did not rebut the presumption the justice court’s judgment was valid, the issue of reasonable suspicion was litigated, and the prior proceeding was final. However, collateral estoppel does not apply to this case because the justice court’s ruling on speeding was not a ruling on an essential element of the offense. Therefore, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to suppress and motion to dismiss. The justice of the peace signed a findings of fact judgment of acquittal, which the defense introduced into evidence. Provided a judgment is valid on its face, there exists a presumption that the judgment was correct. The state’s evidence failed to rebut the presumption of validity. The state argues, because no evidence was presented in the justice court, nothing was litigated. The court disagrees. The fact that a party wholly fails to meet its burden of proof does not prevent an issue from being litigated. While there is authority that a dismissal is not final for the purposes of collateral estoppel, this case is an acquittal rather than a dismissal. Therefore, the judgment is final. Because the determination of whether the arresting officer had reasonable suspicion to detain Murphy does not concern an essential element of the offense, collateral estoppel does not apply. OPINION:Ross, J.; Morriss, C.J., Ross and Carter, J.J.

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