In Reviewing Decisions on Motions to Suppress Evidence, W eReview Factual Findings for Clear Error and Questions of Application of the Law to the Facts De Novo.
As noted by the Court of Appeals majority opinion, we must apply differing standards of review to a trial court's factual findings versus its legal conclusions when reviewing a trial court's ruling on a motion to suppress. A more deferential standard of review applies to the trial court's factual findings than to its legal conclusions;
An appellate court's standard of review of the trial court'sdecision on a motion to suppress requires that we first determine whether the trial court's findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence. If they are, then they are conclusive . Based on those findings of fact,we must then conduct a de novo reviewofthetrial court's application of the law to those facts to determine whether its decision is correct as a matter of law.[6l
MICHAEL SHAWN PAYTON V. COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
TO BE PUBLISHED
OPINION OF THE COURT BY CHIEF JUSTICE MINTON – AFFIRMING
SCHRODER, J., CONCURS, IN PART, AND DISSENTS, IN PART, BY SEPARATE OPINION
Our standard of review from a denial of a motion to suppress is twofold. First, we must determine whether the findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence. If so, those findings are conclusive. Kentucky Rules of Criminal Procedure (RCr) 9.78; Adcock v. Commonwealth, 967 S.W.2d 6, 8 (Ky. 1998). If not, the factual findings must be overturned as clearly erroneous. Farmer v. Commonwealth, 169 S.W.3d 50, 53 (Ky. App. 2005). Second, we must perform a de novo review of those factual findings to determine whether the lower court’s decision is correct as a matter of law. Ornelas v. United States, 517 U.S. 690, 697, 116 S. Ct. 1657, 1662, 134 L. Ed. 2d 911 (1996); Commonwealth v. Banks, 68 S.W.3d 347, 349 (Ky. 2001); Garcia v. Commonwealth, 185 S.W.3d 658, 661 (Ky. App. 2006); Stewart v. Commonwealth, 44 S.W.3d 376, 380 (Ky. App. 2000).
LEATHERMAN (RACHEL) VS. COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
LAMBERT (PRESIDING JUDGE)
TAYLOR (CONCURS) AND HENRY (SENIOR STATUS JUDGE) (CONCURS)
TO BE PUBLISHED