STATE OF TENNESSEE V. JAMES ROBERT CHRISTENSEN, JR. - Articles

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Posted by: Landry Butler on Apr 7, 2017

Head Comment: With dissenting opinion by Lee

Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys 1:

Charles A. Brasfield (at trial and on appeal) and Amber G. Shaw (at trial), Covington, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Robert Christensen, Jr.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andre´e S. Blumstein, Solicitor General; Rachel E. Willis, Senior Counsel; Caitlin Smith, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and James Walter Freeland, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): BIVINS

James Robert Christensen, Jr., (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a jury of resisting arrest, promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine, initiating the manufacture of methamphetamine, and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. Prior to trial, the Defendant moved to suppress evidence obtained through what he claimed was an illegal search. The trial court denied the Defendant's motion and also denied the Defendant's motion seeking an interlocutory appeal. On direct appeal following trial, the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the trial court's judgments, including the trial court's ruling on the suppression issue. We granted the Defendant's application for permission to appeal in order to address the legality of the police officers' warrantless entry onto the curtilage of the Defendant's residence. We hold that the officers' entry onto the Defendant's property was constitutionally permissible in spite of the posted “No Trespassing” signs near the Defendant's unobstructed driveway. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals.