final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit;
Broward County; David A. Haimes and Elizabeth Scherer,
Judges; L.T. Case No. 14-012725CF10A.
Haughwout, Public Defender, and Jeffrey L. Anderson,
Assistant Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Kimberly T.
Acuña, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach,
court must decide if a Pembroke Pines police officer working
as a special deputy assigned to the Broward County
Sheriff's Office (BSO) Multi-Agency Gang Task Force was
authorized to stop appellant in the City of Hollywood for a
traffic citation. We hold that the state presented
insufficient evidence to demonstrate that the officer had
jurisdiction to stop appellant for a traffic citation.
Therefore, we reverse.
driving in the City of Hollywood, a Pembroke Pines police
officer stopped appellant for a seatbelt violation. At the
time, the officer was working as a special deputy as part of
the Broward County Sheriff's Office Multi-Agency Gang
Task Force. The officer called for a K-9 unit. Another
Pembroke Pines officer, also a member of the gang task force,
arrived with his canine partner. Appellant consented to a
search of his car, and three capsules of heroin were found in
an envelope above appellant's seat.
unsuccessfully moved to suppress the evidence obtained during
the traffic stop as the fruits of an unlawful search, arguing
that the Pembroke Pines officer lacked jurisdiction to stop
his vehicle in the City of Hollywood. During the suppression
hearing, the state's evidence consisted solely of the
officer's Notice of Appointment to the gang task
force and the officer's testimony regarding
his understanding of his authority. The state presented no
evidence during the suppression hearing or at trial
indicating that the stop or the heroin was gang-related.
trial, the evidence showed that appellant had agreed to drive
his roommate and a friend down to Miami from his home in
Hollywood on the day of the stop. While in Miami, the
roommate purchased heroin while appellant waited in his car.
During the ride home, the roommate handed appellant an
envelope containing three small heroin capsules. Appellant
took the envelope and placed it in the driver's side
visor above him.
jury convicted appellant of possession of heroin. Appellant
appeals raising several issues, including the denial of his
motion to suppress.
reviewing a ruling on a motion to suppress, we defer to the
trial court's factual findings, but review its legal
conclusions de novo. Woods v. State, 25 So.3d 669,
670 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010).
officer's appointment as a special deputy is governed by
section 30.09(4)(b), Florida Statutes. That section allows
special deputies to be appointed for a number of permitted
purposes, including undercover investigative work. §
30.09(4)(b), Fla. Stat. (2016).
30.09 has been interpreted as granting only specific, limited
powers to special deputies. See generally Ramer v.
State, 530 So.2d 915 (Fla. 1988). In appointing a
special deputy, a county sheriff may not grant
"unrestrained power" or delegate the sheriff's
law enforcement functions to the deputized official.
Id. at 917-18. Thus, while a special deputy is
authorized to use the powers available to a sheriff when
performing activities specifically allowed by the statute or
as part of the specific program under which he is deputized,
he may not exercise that power when he is acting beyond the
scope of his role as a special deputy. See id. at
the officer's Notice of Appointment to the gang task
force specifically stated that the officer was appointed as a
special deputy pursuant to section 30.09(4)(b). The Notice of
Appointment granted the officer only those "powers of
arrest reasonable and necessary to perform undercover
investigative work for the Task Force." Thus, the terms
of the Notice of Appointment granted members of the ...