OF JUDGMENT: 07/10/2017
JEFFERSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. LAMAR PICKARD TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: CYNTHIA ANN STEWART
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
LAURA HOGAN TEDDER
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: ALEXANDER C. MARTIN
WILSON, P.J., GREENLEE AND McCARTY, JJ.
After a call from a confidential informant led to his arrest,
Carl Wallace was convicted of possession with the intent to
distribute a variety of controlled substances and for
possession of a firearm by a felon. His one claim on appeal
is that the trial court should have suppressed the evidence
presented against him because the initial traffic stop was
not based on reasonable suspicion or probable cause. Because
it was, the evidence was properly admitted, and we affirm.
This case began when Bobby Bailey, a deputy for the Jefferson
County Sheriff's Department, received a direct phone call
from a confidential informant. The informant told Deputy
Bailey that there was an SUV parked at a gas station in
Fayette, and it reeked so badly that it had a "loud
odor" of what the caller believed to be marijuana. The
informant was not sure of the exact make or model of the SUV
but told the deputy that it was either a white Tahoe or a
white Yukon and that there were three people inside.
Deputy Bailey immediately acted on the tip; he called four
other deputies for backup and drove to the gas station. The
deputy later testified he knew the informant personally and
had found the person to be reliable, which led him to believe
the tip was worth checking out. In his role as a
drug-enforcement officer and investigator for Jefferson
County, Deputy Bailey testified that he "get[s] th[e]se
tips all the time and . . . act[s] on whatever [he] get[s]
because there's a lot of dope in this county."
The deputy left the Sheriff's Department on Highway 33
and turned onto Main Street in the direction of the gas
station. After turning onto Main Street, the deputy noticed a
white SUV coming in his direction. The window of the SUV was
down, and as he passed, the deputy clearly saw that the
driver was not wearing a seatbelt.
The deputy radioed the other law enforcement officers, who
were en route. He then turned his car around, followed the
white SUV for 150 yards, and initiated a traffic stop. The
deputy testified that only about 10 minutes had passed from
the time he received the informant's tip until the time
he pulled over the white SUV.
Like the confidential informant before him, Deputy Bailey
immediately noticed the smell of marijuana coming from the
SUV. He testified that "the scent was so immense . . .
that there was no doubt that it was marijuana." As he
approached, the deputy asked the driver, Carl Wallace,
"Man, what is that scent coming from your vehicle?"
Wallace responded, "Oh, you're talking about my
personal stash?" Wallace then lifted the lid of the
center console to display two small ...