APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 18-6405, DIVISION
"B" HONORABLE CORNELIUS E. REGAN, JUDGE PRESIDING
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Paul D.
Connick, Jr. Terry M. Boudreaux Andrea F. Long Meredith
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, KEVIN BARKER Davidson S.
composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Jude G.
Gravois, and Hans J. Liljeberg
G. GRAVOIS, JUDGE.
Kevin Barker, appeals his conviction and sentence for
possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine weighing
less than twenty-eight grams, following the trial court's
denial of his motion to suppress evidence. For the following
reasons, we affirm defendant's conviction and sentence.
HISTORY AND FACTS
October 23, 2018, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney
filed a bill of information charging defendant, Kevin Barker,
with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine
weighing less than twenty-eight grams, in violation of La.
R.S. 40:967(A). Derrick Jones was charged as a co-defendant
in the same bill of information. Defendant entered a plea in
absentia of not guilty at his arraignment on November 19,
2018. On that same date, defendant filed omnibus
motions, including a motion to suppress evidence. On February
11, 2019, the trial court heard only defendant's motion
to suppress evidence. On February 19, 2019, the trial court
denied the motion to suppress.
March 14, 2019, defendant withdrew his not guilty plea and
pled guilty as charged pursuant to State v. Crosby,
338 So.2d 584 (La. 1976). After informing defendant of his
Boykin rights and accepting his Crosby
plea, the trial court sentenced defendant to four years
imprisonment at hard labor, suspended the sentence, and
placed him on three years of active probation. On March 20,
2019, defendant filed a motion for an appeal, which was
granted on March 21, 2019. Defendant's appeal follows
where he challenges the trial court's denial of his
motion to suppress evidence.
defendant pled guilty, the facts of his case were not fully
developed at a trial. The bill of information provides that
on or about October 4, 2018, defendant knowingly or
intentionally possessed with intent to distribute
methamphetamine weighing less than twenty-eight grams.
February 11, 2019 suppression hearing, Detective Allan
Doubleday with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office
testified that on October 4, 2018, at approximately 11:00
a.m., he went to the Boomtown Casino located on Peters Road
in Jefferson Parish after he received information that
morning from a known confidential informant
("CI"). The CI provided that defendant would
deliver "a quantity of methamphetamine and liquid
methamphetamine" to the casino and that he would arrive
at approximately 11:00 a.m. in an Uber accompanied by a black
male. The CI did not know the name of the black male, but he
or she provided screenshots of both
this information and due to time constraints, Detective
Doubleday went to the casino and established surveillance. As
he waited for the suspects to arrive, Detective Doubleday was
able to monitor their Uber on the Uber app, and the CI also
sent Detective Doubleday a text message indicating that the
suspects would be arriving at the casino soon. Detective
Doubleday then observed defendant and the black male from the
previously provided screenshots arrive in an Uber. Both
defendant and the black male carried backpacks, and as
predicted by the CI, walked to the lobby of the casino near
the elevator "where the meet was supposed to
happen." At that point, the suspects were detained and
brought outside of the casino to the parking
Based on the CI's information and his corroboration of
that information, Detective Doubleday believed that defendant
was about to commit a crime. Detective Doubleday
Mirandized both defendant and the black male, who was
identified as Derrick Jones (the co-defendant).
Doubleday testified that Mr. Jones waived his
Miranda rights and elected to speak with him while
defendant remained silent. Mr. Jones proceeded to inform
Detective Doubleday that he had arrived in Louisiana from
Oklahoma a few weeks earlier and was living with defendant in
an apartment. During that time, he learned that defendant was
distributing methamphetamine from that location. He further
provided that defendant had asked him that morning to travel
with him to deliver a quantity of methamphetamine, and when
they went to leave their apartment, defendant asked Mr. Jones
to hold the methamphetamine while they traveled to the
casino. Mr. Jones stated that he had placed the
methamphetamine in a candy box inside of his backpack.
Detective Doubleday testified that after Mr. Jones said that
the methamphetamine was in a candy box inside of the
backpack, the backpack was searched. Detective Doubleday
subsequently discovered a bag of crystal methamphetamine and
also liquid methamphetamine. Defendant did not have any
contraband in his backpack or on his person.
Detective Doubleday's testimony concluded, defendant
argued that there was not any corroboration of the
information provided by the CI. He averred that defendant was
arrested without any probable cause when he was stopped at
the elevator in the casino lobby before any true
corroboration of the tip occurred. He urged that the arrest
was illegal and that the evidence seized thereafter should be
suppressed. The State responded that the CI's specific
information as to the drug deal provided Detective Doubleday
with probable cause to arrest defendant and that Mr. Jones
did not need to consent to a search of his backpack as the
backpack was searched incident to Mr. Jones' arrest.
trial court took the matter under advisement. On February 19,
2019, the trial court denied the motion to suppress evidence,
noting that it had listened to the testimony of Detective
Doubleday. Defendant objected to the ruling, but stated no
particular grounds for his objection.
only assignment of error on appeal, defendant argues that the
trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence.
Defendant argues that Detective Doubleday did not have
reasonable suspicion to detain him, nor did he have probable
cause to effectuate an arrest. More specifically, defendant
argues that the tip provided by the CI did not establish
reasonable suspicion to detain defendant, nor was there
probable cause for his arrest. Defendant alleges that
although some predicative information was correct, none of
his behavior was suspicious, there was no corroborating
behavior, and the CI's veracity and reliability are
unknown. Defendant additionally argues that the searches of
his and Mr. Jones' backpacks were illegal and therefore
the evidence seized from Mr. Jones' backpack should be
State responds that the trial court properly denied the
motion to suppress evidence, as the suppression hearing
testimony shows that the CI's tip accurately predicted
defendant's future conduct in sufficient detail to
justify an investigatory stop. The State avers that Detective
Doubleday's reasonable suspicion ripened into probable
cause to arrest upon a statement made by Mr. Jones. Lastly,
the State asserts that the searches of the backpacks were
lawfully conducted ...