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CARL E. LEE AND TRAVIS HOWARD LEE v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

JULY 13, 1983

CARL E. LEE AND TRAVIS HOWARD LEE
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE BROOM, PRATHER AND ROBERTSON

PRATHER, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

This case is an appeal from the Circuit Court of Jackson County, wherein the appellants, Carl E. Lee and Travis Howard Lee, were convicted of two drug-related crimes. The first count charged both defendants with possession of certain controlled substances, and the second count charged both defendants with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver the same. Following a guilty verdict, the defendants each received a prison term of three years on the first offense and a term of eight years on the second offense to run concurrently. The appellants assert errors in:

(1) The trial court's failure to suppress incriminating evidence obtained as a result of an allegedly inadequate search warrant procedure, and

 (2) The alleged improper comments of the prosecution during argument.

 FACTS

 Officers Terry Warden and Ronnie Wilks of the Jackson County Sheriff's office received information from an informer that there were narcotics at the apartment of the defendants. They obtained a search warrant from a justice court judge at approximately 10:45 p.m., on January 29, 1980, and searched the defendants' residence. The search resulted in the confiscation of one capsule of secobarbital and amobarhital, one methaqualone tablet, 197 capsules containing phencyclidine and 1803.6 grams of marijuana. The officers also found three persons on the premises. Carl E. Lee answered the door. In addition, a female by the name of Debra Fuentes was found upstairs with the other defendant, Travis Howard Lee.

 Incriminating statements were taken from the appellants when they were taken to the sheriff's office. They did not say anything about who the narcotics belonged to, but they did say that the girl had nothing to do with the narcotics that were found at the house.

 Before trial, the defendants pled guilty to the offenses. However, they were subsequently allowed to withdraw their guilty pleas, so that their defense counsel could file a motion to suppress the tangible evidence obtained during the search of the house. That motion was heard prior to the trial and denied by the trial judge.

 LAW

 I.

 The first question presented for determination here is whether or not the affidavit for a search warrant and the sworn testimony of the officers stated sufficient facts and circumstances to enable the justice court judge to ascertain that probable cause existed for the issuance of the search warrant.

 (A.)

 The United States Supreme Court has stated in general language that probable cause exists when the facts and circumstances in a given situation are sufficient to warrant a man of reasonable caution to believe that seizable objects are located at the place to be searched. Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 69 S. Ct. 1302, 93 L.Ed. 1879 (1949); Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 132, 45 S. Ct. 280, 69 L.Ed. 543 (1924). Moreover, the Court has recently, while abandoning past case ...


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