Submitted: August 1, 2018
Defendant's Motion to suppress DENIED.
A. Motoyoshi, Esquire, Andre M. Beauregard, Esquire.
Eason Primos, Judge.
the 13th day of August, 2018, having considered
Defendant Bremonte Palmer's (hereinafter
"Defendant") motion to suppress and the State's
response, as well as evidence and argument offered at a
hearing held August 1, 2018, the Court finds that the motion
to suppress must be DENIED.
seeks suppression of drug contraband seized from his person
pursuant to a police stop of a vehicle in which Defendant was
a passenger on January 2, 2018. The following facts are those
as found by the Court by a preponderance of the evidence.
approximately 3:30 p.m. on the day in question, Troopers
Solda and Holl of the Delaware State Police were conducting
surveillance in Woodside, Delaware, when they observed a red
Dodge Charger (hereinafter the "Vehicle") stop on
the shoulder of the road with its hazard lights on. The
driver of the Vehicle, Donald Bratcher, exited on foot and
approached a house nearby. Bratcher tested the doorknob and,
finding the door to be locked, returned to the Vehicle and
drove away. The Vehicle still had its hazard lights on as it
pulled onto the roadway and did not utilize its turn signal.
Vehicle continued along the road for a short time before
Solda and Holl initiated a traffic stop. The Vehicle pulled
over to the shoulder and Solda and Holl approached on foot.
The officers discovered Bratcher driving the vehicle and also
observed Defendant in the front passenger seat, and another
passenger in the back seat, Savannah Walker.
troopers began to collect information and documentation from
the Vehicle occupants, but Bratcher was unable to produce
registration or insurance documents for the Vehicle, and
Walker was unable to produce identification of any kind.
Trooper Solda also observed that Bratcher was visibly nervous
and had a long round object in his pants pocket that Trooper
Solda considered to be of a shape and size consistent with
either a bundle of heroin or a firearm magazine. Trooper Holl
observed that Defendant appeared very nervous and that he had
a wallet on his lap that contained a large quantity of United
troopers returned to their police vehicle and began to
perform records, documents, and background checks on the
Vehicle and its occupants. The troopers also discussed their
previous experience with Bratcher, and recollected that he
was a suspect in a recently reported shooting. Further
investigative efforts were rendered difficult due to a
malfunction with the onboard computer, which prevented the
verification of insurance information for the Vehicle and
confirmation of Walker's identity and whether she had any
criminal history or active capiases.
officers again approached the Vehicle on foot and requested
that Bratcher step out of the Vehicle. Bratcher was patted
down and drug contraband was discovered in his pants pocket,
at which time he was arrested and placed inside the police
vehicle. Meanwhile, Trooper Holl continued to question
Defendant, who began to exhibit aggressive behavior,
including the use of profanity and "sizing up"
Trooper Holl, i.e., looking at him and his weapon in
a way that made Trooper Holl believe that Defendant was
preparing to assault him. Trooper Holl asked Defendant to
exit the Vehicle and handcuffed him. Upon handcuffing him,
Trooper Holl patted down Defendant and detected a large round
object in his groin area of almost exactly the same shape and
size as the log of heroin earlier found in Bratcher's
pocket. A search later revealed this object to be drug
contraband. The Vehicle's occupants were then transported
to Troop Three.
suppression hearing, the Court sits as the finder of fact and
evaluates the credibility of the witnesses. The party with
whom the burden rests must persuade the Court by a
preponderance of the evidence. Because this ...