C. J., MILLER, P. J, and REESE, J.
State appeals from the grant of Audrey Holtzclaw's motion
to suppress evidence police found in her house, which
evidence is the basis for charges that she crossed the guard
line of the county jail with a controlled
substance and that she possessed methamphetamine
(two counts) and alprazolam in violation of the Georgia
Controlled Substances Act. The State contends that the trial court
erred by ruling that (1) an occupant of the home lacked
authority to allow police into Holtzclaw's home, and (2)
Holtzclaw did not thereafter voluntarily give police consent
to search her house. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
are three principles that guide our review of a trial
court's ruling on a motion to suppress.
First, when a motion to suppress is heard by the trial judge,
that judge sits as the trier of facts. The trial judge hears
the evidence, and his findings based upon conflicting
evidence are analogous to the verdict of a jury and should
not be disturbed by a reviewing court if there is any
evidence to support them. Second, the trial court's
decision with regard to questions of fact and credibility
must be accepted unless clearly erroneous. Third, the
reviewing court must construe the evidence most favorably to
the upholding of the trial court's findings and
"to the extent that the controlling facts are undisputed
because they are plainly discernable from [a] recording . .
., we review those facts de novo."
viewed, the record shows that police received a complaint of
drug activity at a particular address in Dawson County. Two
officers arrived at the residence and knocked on the front
door. They could hear activity inside, but initially no one
came to the door; soon thereafter, a man named Shannon
emerged from a garage door where the officers met him. The
officers had independent knowledge that they were looking for
Holtzclaw, who lived at the residence. Shannon explained that
"this is not my house. This is my cousin's house . .
. I don't live here." Shannon said he had come to
visit Holtzclaw, but she was not there. The front door would
not open, so he had found another door unlocked and had
entered the house to wait for Holtzclaw. Shannon explained
that he did not have a key to the house, but Holtzclaw would
be back soon. The officers asked Shannon if they could walk
through the house to see if anyone else was there, and
Shannon said "that's fine with me, but like I said,
this is not my house."
entering the house, police encountered a man named Kevin, who
provided a false name and date of birth. Police started to
arrest Kevin, but he resisted, and an altercation ensued.
After Kevin was subdued, the officers checked the rest of the
house and noticed an odor of marijuana and a marijuana
smoking device in a separate bedroom. After the initial sweep
of the house, Shannon "insisted [on] trying to
contact" Holtzclaw, but officers were unable to reach
her, so they decided to apply for a warrant to search the
investigators arrived, and two officers left the scene to
apply for the warrant; on their way, they were advised that
Holtzclaw had arrived at her residence, so they went back to
speak to Holtzclaw.
Holtzclaw arrived, she observed that "officers [were]
coming in and out of the front door of my house. They were
already in there[, ] and they had already [taken] Kevin to
jail[, ] and Shannon was not there. . . . [Police] were in
there and didn't have permission to be in my house. . .
Nobody was there. Just the police officers with the front
door wide open."
the ensuing conversation with Holtzclaw was recorded on an
audio recorder triggered by police when they began speaking
to her. In that conversation, police asked for consent to
search her house, repeatedly assuring Holtzclaw that she
would have an opportunity to explain the circumstances for
anything they found and whether it was brought there by
visitors. The officer also explained to Holtzclaw that they
had already found "a marijuana pipe" in the house,
and they were in the process of obtaining a search warrant:
"Either way, we're gonna find it, so, search warrant
or not, so, if you think the search warrant's gonna
lessen the blow, I mean, it's not."
declined consent to search her house, but allowed officers to
search her purse and car. Police found a syringe and her
mother's prescription pills in Holtzclaw's car, but
nothing in her purse. A few minutes later, after further
discussion, the officer again asked for consent to search her
house, and Holtzclaw said she did not "want to go to
jail for something someone else did, " pointing out that
other people had stayed in her house the prior night. The
officer again reiterated that he would allow Holtzclaw a
chance to explain whatever they find. Ultimately, Holtzclaw
consented to a search of her house.
the search, police found syringes in Holtzclaw's bedroom
and methamphetamine in a jewelry box on her dresser.
Holtzclaw was arrested and taken to jail, where an additional
packet of suspected methamphetamine was found on her person.
Holtzclaw was charged with crossing the guard line of the
county jail with a controlled substance and possessing
methamphetamine and alprazolam.
moved to suppress the evidence found in her house, arguing
that the police lacked authority to enter it initially and
that her subsequent consent was not voluntarily given.
Following an evidentiary hearing, the trial court granted the
motion, ruling that Shannon did not have authority to allow
police into Holtzclaw's home while she was not there and