LAW ENFORCEMENT JURISDICTION: JOHNSON V. COM. (COA 5/25/2007)

JOHNSON V. COM.
CRIMINAL:  Law Enforcement Jurisdiction
2005-CA-002173
PUBLISHED: AFFIRMING;
JUDGES:  NICKELL PRESIDING; COMBS AND MOORE CONCURRING
DATE RENDERED: 5/25/2007
COUNTY:  BREATHITT

CA affirmed TC’s order denying Defendant’s motion to suppress alleging lack of law enforcement jurisdiction. Discovery revealed that officers from several jurisdictions participated in the investigation of this and other drug-related cases under the purported authority of a multi-jurisdictional agreement executed pursuant to KRS 65.290-.300. This agreement formed an entity known as Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education, Inc. (hereinafter “UNITE”). Johnson’s sole contention is that the circuit court erred in ruling that UNITE had jurisdiction to act in a law enforcement capacity on January 19, 2004, despite having failed to comply with the statutory framework set forth in KRS 65.210 to 65.300. The uncontroverted evidence presented to the trial court reveals the criminal complaint, which was presented to the magistrate, was filed by a Jackson city police officer and the ensuing warrant was served by another officer from the Jackson Police Department. An undercover officer from an unknown agency was present when the OxyContin sale was consummated. There is no indication in the record that this officer had anything more to do with the investigation. It is further uncontroverted that the offense, arrest, and conviction all occurred within the corporate limits of Breathitt County. KRS 95.019(1) empowers the Jackson Police Department to make lawful arrests within the boundaries of Breathitt County. Although the officers involved referred to themselves as UNITE officers, they were actually employed by the City of Jackson and had been assigned by the chief of police to work on the recently formed task force. This assignment did not strip them of their statutorily granted arrest powers. Johnson is unable to point to any authority to the contrary.

Digested by Scott C. Byrd @ www.olginandbyrd.com

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