State v. Warburton

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A-21-0035 State v. Bryan Warburton

A police officer initiated a traffic stop of a vehicle matching the description of one that was used by a woman in a shoplifting incident. The vehicle did not immediately stop and the officer witnessed two people making furtive movements inside. Warburton was driving the vehicle and the female shoplifter was his passenger.

 After the vehicle finally stopped, the woman confessed to the officer that she had shoplifted. The officer removed her from the vehicle and placed her in handcuffs. Meanwhile, another officer requested Warburton step out of the vehicle, handcuffed him, and did a pat-down to check for weapons. During the pat-down, the officer felt a plastic baggie under Warburton’s waistband. Warburton admitted that the baggie contained methamphetamine and that he had more methamphetamine in his underwear. Warburton was arrested. Upon his arrest, Warburton consented to the officers moving his vehicle to a side street instead of having it towed. While moving the car, the officers found more methamphetamine and a sizeable amount of cash.

Warburton was charged with possession with intent to deliver 10 to 28 grams of methamphetamine, a Class ID felony, and possession of drug money, a Class IV felony. He moved to suppress all evidence and statements obtained as a result of the stop and search of him and his vehicle. Finding that the officer had probable cause to stop the vehicle, that the pat-down was lawful, and that all the evidence seized was lawfully obtained because Warburton consented to the officers moving the car (otherwise it would have been inventoried after it was towed), the court overruled Warburton’s motion. On October 28, 2020, a bench trial took place and Warburton was found guilty of both offenses.

Warburton filed a motion for new trial on November 9, 2020. The State filed a motion to quash, arguing that Warburton’s motion was untimely. In response, Warburton withdrew his motion for new trial. Before sentencing, counsel for Warburton--who was a public defender--withdrew from the case because Warburton obtained private counsel. The court sentenced Warburton to a period of 15 to 30 years’ imprisonment on the drug charge and 2 to 2 years’ imprisonment on the drug money charge. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently with each other. Warburton appeals.

On appeal, Warburton argues that the court erred in overruling his motion to suppress because the pat-down was not justified and exceeded the scope of what is permitted by the Fourth Amendment. Warburton also argues that his pre-Miranda statements--that the baggie contained meth and that he had more meth in his underwear--were unlawfully obtained because they were the product of a custodial interrogation not preceded by Miranda warnings. Additionally, Warburton asserts that his trial counsel’s failure to file a timely motion for new trial qualifies as ineffective assistance of counsel. Finally, Warburton claims that his sentences are excessive.

Case Location
Wayne State
Court Type
District Court
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Panel Text
Riedmann, Bishop, and Arterburn, Judges