Criminal: COMMONWEALTH V. BALDWIN (COA; 2/24/2006)

COMMONWEALTH V. BALDWIN
CRIMINAL

2004-CA-002528
PUBLISHED
REVERSING AND REMANDING (VANMETER)
DATE: 2/24/2006

CA reversed and remanded TC’s order suppressing the search of storage units owned by Baldwin.  The Boone County Sheriff’s Department received a tip from a confidential informant who said that a white male was cooking meth at the Mount Zion storage facility after dark.  Mere hours after receiving this tip, a sheriff visited the facility after dark and saw two white males come out of a unit and jump into a truck after realizing that someone was present.  The license plate from the truck was registered to Baldwin.  The confidential informant confirmed that Baldwin was the person who was cooking meth at Mount Zion.  Weeks later, the sheriff returned to Mount Zion and saw the same truck outside of the same unit at which he earlier saw the two white males.  Baldwin and others came out of the unit, and the sheriff approached.  Baldwin confirmed that he was the owner of the unit.  A drug-detection dog sensed that drugs were in that unit.  A search warrant was obtained and executed shortly thereafter.  Drugs and firearms were found and seized.  Baldwin moved to suppress the search and the TC agreed.  On appeal, the CA said that suppression was improper because a substantial basis existed for the search.  The trial judge’s use of Daubert to assess the drug dog’s reliability was inappropriate because Daubert is reserved for assessing the admissibility of scientific or technical evidence at trial.   

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