Second District Court Of Appeal Reverses Trial Court Order Denying Defendant S Motion To Suppress A
In the matter of Jenkins v. State of Florida, the appellate court granted the defendant's appeal which challenged his convictions following pleas of guilty to charges of cocaine possession with intent to sell, drug paraphernalia possession, & altering a license tag, and remanded for additional proceedings consistent with its opinion. The court ruled that the defendant's arrests due to altering a license tag were unlawful as defendant did not commit the crime in the presence of law enforcement. See § 901.15(1), Fla. Stat. (2009); Baymon v. State, 933 So. 2d 1269, 1270 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006). The specifics of this case were that the police officers stopped defendant's car because he was playing his music very loud, defendant had a tinted plastic cover over his license tag, & didn't make a full stop when he got to a red light The officers arrested the defendant for altering a license tag, a second-degree misdemeanor in violation of Florida Statute 320.061. Incident to arrest, they searched the defendant as well as the auto. The officers discovered cocaine in the defendant's billfold & baggies containing residue of cocaine & a digital scale in the vehicle trunk of the car. Less than one month afterward, cops yet again spotted the defendant's car & defendant's car still had a tinted plastic cover over his license tag.. The police conducted a traffic stop & arrested him once more for obscuring his license tag. The police conducted an inventory search of the vehicle which revealed 700 counterfeit music & video CDs & DVDs. Defendant filed motions to suppress in all cases. Defendant contended that his arrests had been against the law as altering a license tag was a misdemeanor under Florida law and accordingly that is required to be committed in the presence of a law enforcement officer for an arrest to be legal. The Second District Court agreed holding that since the arrests had been against the law, "the law required suppression regarding the evidence seized in any search carried out incident to that arrest." The district court cited to Baymon, 933 So. 2d at 1270 (citing Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471 (1963)).
The district court reversed defendant's convictions for possession with intent to sell cocaine & also possession of drug paraphernalia, defendant's conviction for possession of counterfeit private labels, & remanded those matters for a resentencing on his convictions on account of altering a license tag. The district court further reversed the defendant's probation violation and remanded for consideration of whether or not to revoke, modify, or otherwise continue defendant on probation predicated simply on altering a license tag.
Miami, FL 33131