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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Jan 11, 2013

Head Comment: CORRECTION: On page 7 of the opinion at line 2 "958 S.W.3d at 734" has been changed to "958 S.W.2d at 734".

Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys 1:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; William E. Young, Solicitor General; Mark A. Fulks, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, the State of Tennessee.

Attorneys 2:

James Bryan Lewis, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Wayne Donaldson.

Judge(s): WADE

An officer stopped the defendant for a traffic violation. When the officer ordered the defendant out of his vehicle to sign the citation, he observed what appeared to be a bag of cocaine on the floorboard of the driver’s side. Charged with possession with intent to sell or deliver twenty-six grams or more of cocaine in a school zone, the defendant moved to suppress the evidence as the product of an unlawful seizure. The trial court sustained the motion, and the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed. This Court granted the State’s application for permission to appeal. Because an officer, after making a lawful stop for a traffic violation, may routinely direct the driver outside of the vehicle, the order of suppression is reversed, and the cause is remanded for trial.