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State v. Poulton

April 4, 2008


Review of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in 37 Kan. App. 2d 299, 152 P.3d 678 (2007). Appeal from Reno district court; TIMOTHY J. CHAMBERS, judge.


1. Appellate courts can consider issues on appeal in the following circumstances: (1) Cases in which the newly asserted theory involves only a question of law arising on proved or admitted facts and that is finally determinative of the case; (2) cases raising questions for the first time on appeal if consideration of those questions is necessary to serve the ends of justice or to prevent denial of fundamental rights; and (3) cases upholding the judgment of a trial court even though the trial court may have relied on the wrong ground or assigned a wrong reason for its decision.

2. The fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine bars the admission of evidence directly seized during an illegal search as well as evidence obtained indirectly as a result of information learned or leads obtained in the illegal search. Although not all evidence is fruit of the poisonous tree simply because it would not have become known without the illegal actions of the police, the doctrine bars any evidence that becomes known through exploitation of the illegality. Evidence that is sufficiently distinguishable so as to be purged of the primary taint is not considered fruit of the poisonous tree.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rosen, J.

Judgment of the Court of Appeals affirming in part and reversing in part the district court is affirmed in part and reversed in part. Judgment of the district court is reversed, and the case is remanded with directions.

Jackie R. Poulton was convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine, possessing methamphetamine with intent to sell, possessing drug paraphernalia with intent to manufacture, possessing drug paraphernalia with intent to distribute, possessing drug paraphernalia with intent to consume, possessing marijuana, possessing drugs without a tax stamp, and endangering a child.

Prior to trial, Poulton filed motions to suppress the evidence obtained from two searches of his home, both of which the district court denied. The Court of Appeals reversed the convictions based on the November 20, 2003, search, finding that the search was illegal, but affirmed the convictions based on the December 27, 2003, search without addressing Poulton's suppression issue that the second search constituted fruit of the poisonous tree. State v. Poulton, 37 Kan. App. 2d 299, 152 P.3d 678 (2007). We granted Poulton's petition for review, and we now affirm in part and reverse in part the decision of the Court of Appeals.

The relevant facts as stated by the Court of Appeals, follow:

"On November 20, 2003, Ed Mora, a special enforcement officer with the Kansas Department of Corrections, was seeking to serve an arrest warrant on Lisa Lamuz for violating her parole. Mora had been attempting to locate Lamuz for approximately 3 weeks. Deputy Cory Graber told Mora that Lamuz might be staying at a residence at 6112 North Plum in Hutchinson. Mora, Graber, and Deputy Jeremy Hedges went to that address to attempt to serve the arrest warrant on Lamuz.

"Upon arriving at the residence, Graber went to the back of the residence, and Mora and Hedges walked towards the front door. Poulton came out of the house and met the officers on the porch. Mora told Poulton who he was. According to Mora, he asked Poulton if he could speak with him inside, and Poulton responded, '[Y]es, come on in.' Hedges' testimony differed from Mora's in that Hedges never testified that Poulton explicitly consented to them entering the residence. Rather, Hedges testified that Mora asked if he could speak with Poulton and that Poulton responded yes and opened the door and let them in the house.

"According to Mora, once they were inside the residence, he asked Poulton if Lamuz was there. Poulton told Mora that Lamuz was in the back room and that he would go get her. Mora testified that Poulton walked towards the kitchen area of the residence, but he touched Poulton on the arm to stop him. Mora told Poulton that he would get Lamuz. As Mora walked towards the kitchen area, Lamuz walked out of a back room. Mora told Lamuz who he was and that she was under arrest. Mora led her into the front room and attempted to place handcuffs on her. Lamuz told Mora that she was not on parole anymore and that he had made a mistake. Lamuz indicated that she had paperwork showing that she was no longer on parole. Lamuz tried to turn away from Mora, but he forcefully grabbed her and placed her in handcuffs. Approximately five other individuals were in the residence when this incident occurred.

"As Mora was attempting to handcuff Lamuz, Hedges saw Lamuz raise her hand. Hedges immediately called Graber into the residence. Graber entered through the back door as two individuals were attempting to leave the residence. Graber stopped them from leaving. One of the individuals and Poulton went into a back bedroom. Graber saw several rifles and shotguns lying against the doorway. Graber yelled to the other officers that he had seen guns. Graber ordered everyone out of the back bedroom.

"According to Graber, Poulton said that he needed to get Lamuz' shoes out of the bedroom and that Graber could accompany him in there. When Graber went into the back bedroom, he saw a handgun lying on the bed. In addition, Graber saw a test tube containing what appeared to be methamphetamine residue, a razor blade with white powder residue, and an open package of lithium batteries. Graber relayed this information to Hedges who immediately applied for a search warrant.

"The officers confined everyone in the house to one area and handcuffed them. In addition, the officers performed patdown searches for safety reasons. When Poulton was told about the application for a search warrant, he said that his chest was hurting and that he thought he was having a heart ...

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