Search and seizure (plain view); Traffic stop and stereotypes: ROGERS v. COMMONWEALTH (COA 9/12/2008)

CRIMINAL:  Search and seizure (plain view);  Traffic stop and
Published: Affirming
Panel:  Dixon presiding; Combs, Lambert concur
Fayette County
Date Rendered: 9/12/2008

The Court affirmed appellants’ convictions following a joint jury trial.  The Court first held that the trial court did not err by denying appellants’ motion to suppress evidence found in plain view in a hotel room.  The police officer’s failure to disclose that he was investigating a complaint about suspicious narcotics activity was not a ruse so unfair and unconscionable as to be coercive.  The Court distinguished the facts from those in Krause v. Commonwealth, 2006- S.W.3d 922 (Ky. 2006).  The Court then held that the trial court did not err in allowing a police narcotics detective to testify as an expert witness without holding a Daubert hearing.  The record reflected that the officer was well qualified to render an opinion.  Further, as one appellant was convicted of possession of cocaine rather than trafficking, she could not establish that she was prejudiced by an officer’s testimony regarding drug trafficking stereotypes.  The Court finally held that the failure of the trial court to issue written findings of fact following a suppression hearing was not palpable error.  RCr 9.78 did not mandate written findings and, while the court’s failure to make written findings hampered appellate review, the Court was able to review the hearing and concluded that the trail court
adequately conveyed its factual findings.

DR filed 10/13/2008 Opinion by Judge Dixon; Chief Judge Combs and Judge Lambert concurred.

This digest was taken from the COA’s web site with a summary of the September
2008 decisions.  Click here
for the entire digest.

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