STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JERRY LEWIS TUTTLE - Articles

All Content


Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Sep 8, 2015

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

John S. Colley, III, Columbia, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Jerry Lewis Tuttle.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andrew Coulam, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Brent Cooper, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): MCMULLEN

Following the execution of a search warrant for his property and residence, the Defendant-Appellant, Jerry Lewis Tuttle, was indicted by the Maury County Grand Jury in case number 21695 for possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with intent to sell, possession of not less than one-half ounce nor more than ten pounds of marijuana with intent to sell, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was also indicted by the Maury County Grand Jury in case number 22091 for conspiracy to possess marijuana in an amount over 300 pounds with intent to sell or deliver within 1000 feet of a school, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, possession of a firearm with the intent to go armed during the commission of a dangerous felony, and acquiring or receiving property subject to judicial forfeiture pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-11-703. The Defendant-Appellant filed motions to suppress the evidence seized and to dismiss the forfeiture count, which were denied by the trial court following a hearing. At trial, the Defendant-Appellant was convicted in case number 21695 of the lesser included offense of simple possession of cocaine and the charged offense of possession of marijuana with intent to sell; the count charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm was dismissed. In case number 22091, the Defendant-Appellant was convicted of the lesser included offense of conspiracy to possess marijuana in an amount over 300 pounds with intent to sell or deliver as well as the charged offenses of conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, and possession of a firearm with the intent to go armed during the commission of a dangerous felony. Following a bench trial on the judicial forfeiture count, the trial court denied the forfeiture of several items seized but ordered the forfeiture of other items, including the $1,098,050 that is at issue on appeal. After a sentencing hearing on the other counts, the trial court imposed an effective sentence of fifty years with a release eligibility of thirty-five percent. On appeal, the Defendant-Appellant argues: (1) that the search of his property violated his constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures because the affidavit in support of the search warrant did not provide probable cause for the issuing judge to believe that evidence of a crime would be found on his property and in his home; (2) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conspiracy convictions; and (3) he is entitled to the return of the $1,098,050 because the cash seized was obtained by him more than five years prior to the seizure and because the seizing agent failed to deliver a notice of seizure to him at the time the cash was seized. Upon review, we reverse the Defendant-Appellant‘s convictions. However, we affirm the trial court‘s judgment in regard to the forfeiture proceedings.