Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hairston v. Commonwealth of Virginia

Court of Appeals of Virginia

April 11, 2017

NAJEE FINIQUE HAIRSTON
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

         FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE CITY OF DANVILLE Joseph W. Milam, Jr., Judge

          M. Lee Smallwood, II, Deputy Public Defender, for appellant.

          Craig W. Stallard, Assistant Attorney General (Mark R. Herring, Attorney General, on brief), for appellee.

          Present: Chief Judge Huff, Judges Chafin and Decker Argued by teleconference.

          OPINION

          MARLA GRAFF DECKER JUDGE.

         Najee Finique Hairston appeals his convictions for possession of cocaine and possession of a cannabimimetic agent, both with the intent to distribute, in violation of Code § 18.2-248, as well as for driving on a suspended license, third or subsequent offense, in violation of Code § 46.2-301. He contends that the circuit court erred by denying his motion to suppress. As the basis for his claim, the appellant argues that the stop of the vehicle he was driving and the seizure of his person were unreasonable because any basis for conducting the stop had grown stale. We hold that the stop and seizure of the appellant were supported by probable cause, which had not grown stale during the three hours that passed after the law enforcement officer observed him driving recklessly in violation of the law. Consequently, we hold that the court's denial of the motion to suppress was correct, and we affirm the challenged convictions.

         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         On March 7, 2015, between 2:15 and 2:30 p.m., Detective Karen Fraser of the City of Danville Police Department was driving on a two-lane road through adjacent Pittsylvania County on her way to begin her shift in Danville at 2:45 p.m. A white Camaro traveling in the same direction passed her vehicle "in a curve on the double [solid-yellow] line[s]." Fraser recognized the car from "dealing with it in the city." As she continued to watch, the Camaro passed a second vehicle and then a third one in a similar fashion, each time crossing the double solid-yellow lines and "veer[ing] into the left lane of oncoming traffic." The third of these traffic violations occurred within a mile of the Danville city limits. Additionally, the Camaro was "traveling at a high rate of speed" as it drove toward the city.

         Detective Fraser continued to follow the car as it entered the city limits. She did so because she "planned on taking warrants out on the person for reckless driving" and needed "to know who the driver was." When the Camaro stopped at a traffic light, she photographed its license plate. Fraser then pulled into the lane adjacent to the Camaro's right side, and while the cars were three to five feet apart, she photographed the driver. Additionally, the driver lowered the front passenger window, giving her an unobstructed view of his face. The driver, who was alone in the car, was not the person she knew to be its owner, and she did not recognize him. After he made some comments to her, while still stopped at the traffic light, she told him that she was a police officer. Fraser added that "as soon as [she] found out who he was[, ] . . . [she] would be trying to obtain a warrant on him for the way he was driving."

         When Fraser arrived at the police precinct to begin her shift, she showed the photographs to other officers and described the man by race and hairstyle. None of the officers were able to identify him. Fraser asked them to look for the Camaro while on duty that night because she "wanted to try to obtain the driver's information."

         At about 5:00 p.m. that evening, while Detective Fraser was on patrol with Officer L.D. Land, he pointed out a white Camaro and asked Fraser if it was the car she had seen earlier. Fraser positively identified the car and determined that its driver was the same person she had seen driving in a reckless manner earlier that day. She also looked at the photographs she had taken and confirmed that the license plate number matched.

         Fraser told Land to stop the car so that she could identify the driver. The Camaro pulled into a convenience store, and Land parked behind it. Officer Land approached the driver, who was the appellant.[2] Detective Fraser went to the passenger's side and recognized the passenger as the owner of the vehicle.

         As soon as Land made contact with the appellant, before the officers had identified the appellant by name, Land detected the odor of burned marijuana. The officers ordered the occupants out of the car and searched it. They found a large quantity of cocaine and synthetic marijuana, as well as various packaging materials and other paraphernalia.

         The appellant was arrested for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of a cannabimimetic agent with the intent to distribute. He was later indicted for those offenses, as well as for driving on a suspended license, third or ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.