IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY
APPELLATE DIVISION

STATE OF FLORIDA,

††††††††††† Appellant,

vs.†††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† Appeal No. CRC 99-17977 CFANO

JASON STONER,

††††††††††† Appellee.

_________________________________/

 

Opinion filed _____________________.

Appeal from Order on Motion to Suppress Evidence and Statements

Pinellas County Court

County Judge Amy M. Williams

Robert D. Eckard, Esq.
Assistant State Attorney
Attorney for Appellant

Joy K. Goodyear, Esq.
Assistant Public Defender
Attorney for Appellee

ORDER AND OPINION

††††††††††† THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Stateís appeal from the trial courtís Order granting Defendantís Motion to Suppress Evidence and Statements.† After reviewing the briefs and record, this Court affirms the decision of the trial court.

On review of a motion to suppress, the appellate court is to give deference to a trial courtís factual findings, but legal conclusions are reviewed de novo.† Phuagnong v. State, 714 So.2d 527 (Fla. 1st DCA 1998).† In this de novo review, this Court defers to the factual findings of the trial judge, but this Court will consider whether as a matter of law those facts amounted to a reasonable suspicion to stop the Defendant.

A well-founded articulable suspicion of criminal activity is necessary to justify an investigatory stop.† Berard v. State, 731 So.2d 768 (Fla. 2nd DCA 1999); White v. State, 737 So.2d 1117 (Fla. 2nd DCA 1999).† The facts that Deputy Hamilton based his stop of the Defendant upon were that he saw a man leave a house through a sliding glass door with the screen off, with a small object in his hand, and get into a running car directly outside the residence with its headlights on with another man driving at 9:30 at night.†† The area was well lit, the lights and the television were on in the residence, which were visible to the deputy, there had been no alert to any crime taking place such as a 911 call or alarm, the car did not speed away, the individuals in the car did not do anything suspicious, and the driver immediately stopped the car after the deputy put his car lights on.† These facts do not create a well-founded articulable suspicion of criminal activity. It is therefore

ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the trial courtís Order granting the Motion to Suppress Evidence and Statements is affirmed.

DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida this 5th day of October, 2000.

 

__________________________
CHARLES W. COPE
Circuit Judge
Primary Appellate Judge


___________________________
NANCY MOATE LEY
Circuit Judge


___________________________
R. TIMOTHY PETERS
Circuit Judge

 

Copies furnished to:

The Honorable Amy M. Williams

Robert D. Eckard, Esq.
Assistant State Attorney
P.O. Box 5028
Clearwater, Florida 33758

Joy K. Goodyear, Esq.
Assistant Public Defender
14250 49th Street North
Clearwater, FL 33762