I.On a July afternoon in 2004, Bennie Dean Herring drove his pickup truck to the Coffee County, Alabama Sheriff’s Department to check on another of his trucks, which was impounded in the Department’s lot. As Herring was preparing to leave the Sheriff’s Department, Coffee County Investigator Mark Anderson arrived at work. Anderson knew Herring and had reason to suspect that there might be an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Anderson asked Sandy Pope, the warrant clerk for the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department, to check the county database. She did and told Anderson that she saw no active warrants for Herring in Coffee County.
Investigator Anderson asked Pope to call the Sheriff’s Department in neighboring Dale County to see if there were any outstanding warrants for Herring there. Pope telephoned Sharon Morgan, the Dale County warrant clerk, who checked her database and told Pope that there was an active warrant in that county charging Herring with failure to appear on a felony charge. Pope relayed that information to Anderson.
Acting quickly on the information, Investigator Anderson and a Coffee County deputy sheriff followed Herring as he drove away from the Sheriff’s Department. They pulled Herring over and arrested him pursuant to the Dale County warrant, and they searched both his person and the truck incident to the arrest. The search turned up some methamphetamine in Herring’s pocket and a pistol under the front seat of his truck. All of that happened in Coffee County.
Meanwhile back in Dale County, Warrant Clerk Morgan was trying in vain to locate a copy of the actual warrant for Herring’s arrest. After she could not find one, she checked with the Dale County Clerk’s Office, which informed her that the warrant had been recalled. Morgan immediately called Pope, her counterpart in Coffee County, to relay this information, and Pope transmitted it to the two Coffee County arresting officers. Only ten to fifteen minutes had elapsed between the time that Morgan in Dale County had told Pope that an active warrant existed and the time that Morgan called her back to correct that statement. In that short interval, however, the Coffee County officers had acted on the initial information by arresting Herring and carrying out the searches incident to that arrest.
Judge(s): Edward Carnes
Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
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