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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Dec 8, 2014

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Thompson J. Kirkpatrick, Manchester, Tennessee (on appeal); and Bethel Campbell Smoot, Jr., District Public Defender, and Laura D. Pickering, Assistant Public Defender (at guilty plea and motion to suppress), Tullahoma, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jonathan Womack.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; Charles Michael Layne, District Attorney General; and Jason M. Ponder, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): THOMAS

The Defendant, Jonathan Womack, pled guilty to possession of less than .5 grams of methamphetamine with intent to sell or deliver. He agreed to a sentence of six years, all of which was suspended after sixty days’ incarceration. As part of the plea agreement, the Defendant reserved a certified question of law challenging the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress the evidence obtained during the warrantless search of his residence, which was conducted following a “knock and talk” encounter and claimed exigent circumstances. After a thorough review of the applicable law, we conclude that the officers encroached upon the curtilage of the Defendant’s home to conduct the “knock and talk” at the backdoor of his residence and that they, thereafter, created any exigent circumstances. However, we further conclude that the evidence found on the Defendant’s person was obtained pursuant to an independent source—a valid warrant for his arrest. Therefore, the order of the trial court denying the motion to suppress is affirmed.