Missouri Supreme Court Update

Missouri Law

State of Missouri Vs Edward Hughes                               


                    On September 9th, 2015, Hughes was the sole rider in the back of a vehicle stopped by police for a traffic violation. Officers Ryan Murphy and Tom Jeffries approached the vehicle and obtained characteristic info from the 3 occupants. The officers ran  an exploration of the occupants’ names and discovered the driving force didn’t have a license and there was a warrant out for Hughes. The officers approached Hughes and asked him to step out of the vehicle. He complied. Officer Murphy vegetable handcuffed Hughes and placed him beneath arrest. Officer Murphy then searched Hughes and found medicine in his pants pocket. Hughes was standing between the officers and also the vehicle he stepped out of. The officers saw a Nike bag was directly next to wherever Hughes was sitting before he was in remission. Officer Murphy asked Hughes if it absolutely was his bag; he responded it was. Officer Jeffries then retrieved the bag from the vehicle and searched it in front of Officer Murphy and Hughes and found medicine and drug appurtenances. Hughes was taken into custody and also the alternative 2 passengers were allowed to depart. Hughes was charged with 2 counts of possession of a drug, specifically hard drug and cocaine base, and unlawful use of drug appurtenances. Hughes filed a motion to suppress the proof obtained from the search of the bag. The tribunal took the motion with the case and denied it after hearing all of the proof. The court found Hughes guilty of all charges and sentenced him to coincident terms of seven years’ imprisonment for the possession of drug charges and thirty days’ for the unlawful use of drug appurtenances charge

Edward Hughes appealled the circuit court’s call overruling his motion to suppress medicine and drug equipment found throughout a warrantless search and seizure of his bag, which police confiscated from the rear seat of the vehicle within which he had been riding. Mr. Hughes argues the circuit court erred in holding this stuff were among his possession or management once the facts showed he was handcuffed outside the open back seat door and within the custody of 2 officers when the bag was confiscated



Review by Supreme Court and Effects on Cases

This Court’s review of the circuit court’s ruling is a two-part inquiry. “The Court defers to the trial court’s determination of credibility and factual findings, inquiring only whether the decision is supported by substantial evidence and it will be reversed only if clearly erroneous.” Carrawell, 481 S.W.3d at 837  “Determinations of reasonable suspicion and probable cause are reviewed de novo.” State v. Grayson, 336 S.W.3d 138, 142 (Mo. banc 2011).The evidence presented before the ruling on the motion to suppress and at trial were one and the same; this Court considers all of this evidence to determine whether sufficient evidence exists in the record to support the circuit court’s ruling. State v. Pike, 162 S.W.3d 464, 472 (Mo. banc 2005); State v. Deck, 994 S.W.2d 527, 534


  Mr. Hughes argues underneath Arizona v. Gant, 556 U.S. 332, 129 S.Ct. 1710, 173 L.Ed.2d 485 (2009), and State v. Carrawell, 481 S.W.3d 833 (Mo. banc 2016), the medicine and drug equipment ought are suppressed.

The Supreme Court affirmed without reaching the issue of whether Gant or Carrawell required the suppression of the evidence, holding that any error was not prejudicial because other unchallenged evidence fully supported the judgment reached by the circuit court. While Mr. Hughes has standing to challenge the seizure of the bag he admitted belonged to him, this Court needn’t reach the problem whether or not Gant or Carrawell needed the motion to suppress to be sustained as a result of no prejudice resulted from it being overruled during this court-tried case. Decent extra proof to support the conviction was introduced by the defense in its interrogation of 1 of the impressive officers and thru the defense’s stipulation to the admission of the laboratory report showing the confiscated things were hard drug and cocaine.


                       Mr. Hughes grounds his Fourth Amendment standing in his ownership of the bag searched and not an interest in the car. In State v. Lane, 937 S.W.2d 721, 722 (Mo. banc 1997), this Court held Lane, a passenger in a car, had Fourth Amendment standing when he sought to suppress evidence discovered in his personal bag because he “retain[ed] an expectation of privacy in his personal luggage regardless of its location.” Like in Lane, Mr. Hughes acknowledges he owns the bag in question, so he has standing to assert a Fourth Amendment violation.

Contact US