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State v. Hayward

Florida Court of Appeals, Fifth District

March 31, 2017

STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellant,
v.
SCOTT BRANDON HAYWARD, Appellee.

         NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Orange County, Alicia Latimore, Judge.

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Pamela J. Koller, Assistant Attorney General, Daytona Beach, for Appellant.

          James S. Purdy, Public Defender, and Robert E. Wildridge, Assistant Public Defender, Daytona Beach, for Appellee.

          EVANDER, J.

         The State appeals an order suppressing evidence secured pursuant to a search warrant. Because there was probable cause to support the search warrant, we reverse.

         The search warrant affidavit was executed by Detective Kuzma on October 7, 2015. Kuzma averred that there was probable cause to believe that cocaine and methamphetamine were being kept at the residence of Appellant, Brandon Hayward, and his girlfriend. After detailing his experience and training, Detective Kuzma attested that earlier that day, he and other officers had used a confidential source to conduct a controlled purchase of four ounces of cocaine from Hayward for $4800. The confidential source requested that Hayward deliver the cocaine to him at a certain IHOP parking lot. Hayward told the confidential source that the delivery would be made in fifteen to twenty minutes.

         At the time Hayward received the call from the confidential source, he was under surveillance by Detective Kuzma and another officer. Detective Kuzma observed Hayward drive from a shopping plaza to his residence. Hayward then exited his car and entered his residence. Approximately fifteen minutes later, Hayward and his girlfriend left their residence and drove to the designated IHOP parking lot. After parking the car, Hayward exited the vehicle while his girlfriend remained in the passenger seat. When uniformed police officers approached Hayward, he unsuccessfully attempted to flee. During the short-lived chase, Hayward threw a clear plastic bag containing suspected cocaine. Kuzma tested the suspected cocaine recovered from the discarded plastic bag using a field presumptive test kit. The field presumptive test indicated a positive reaction to the presence of cocaine. The bag of cocaine weighed 113 grams, or roughly four ounces.

         A search of Hayward's vehicle was conducted and resulted in the discovery of another bag of powder cocaine, a bag of methamphetamine, an electronic scale, and a bag of small blue plastic baggies, all located in the center console of the vehicle. The bag of cocaine weighed 46.9 grams and the bag of methamphetamine weighed 16.5 grams.

         Detective Kuzma concluded his affidavit by reciting, "Your Affiant believes based on his investigation, that additional controlled substances, evidence of distribution of controlled substances, and proceeds from the sale/delivery of controlled substances is stored inside [Hayward's] residence." The search warrant was executed later that day and resulted in the seizure of approximately 274 grams of cocaine.

         Hayward and his girlfriend were jointly charged with trafficking in 28 or more grams of cocaine, trafficking in 200 or more grams of cocaine, trafficking in a controlled substance, conspiracy to traffic in 200 or more grams of cocaine, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Hayward was also charged with resisting an officer without violence.

         Hayward filed a motion to suppress the evidence seized in his residence, asserting that the search warrant affidavit did not contain sufficient facts to establish probable cause that contraband would be found in his residence. At the hearing on the motion to suppress, the trial court heard very brief testimony from Hayward and Detective Kuzma. To establish his standing to contest the warrant, Hayward testified that he lived at the apartment that was the subject of the search warrant. Detective Kuzma testified that everything he included in the search warrant affidavit was true and accurate and that he did not omit any information.

         The trial court granted Hayward's motion, finding that the nexus needed to search Hayward's apartment was not established. The court determined that there were insufficient grounds to establish probable cause to search Hayward's apartment and that the good faith exception did not apply because the affidavit was "completely void of any indicia of probable cause to search Hayward's residence." The State timely appealed the order.

         We conclude that Detective Kuzma's affidavit was sufficient to establish probable cause for the search warrant. Here, Hayward told the confidential source that he would deliver drugs to him in fifteen to twenty minutes. He then drove to his apartment, remained there for fifteen minutes, and then drove directly to the meeting place. He was apprehended with a large quantity of cocaine. Other drugs and paraphernalia were located in his vehicle. The police searched Hayward's apartment later that day. Under these facts, the circumstantial proof of a nexus was sufficient. The police had Hayward under surveillance from the time he spoke to the confidential source until the point of delivery. Hayward told the confidential source that he would meet him in fifteen to twenty minutes. During that brief interval, he drove to his apartment, where he remained for a ...


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