MCFADDEN, C. J., MCMILLIAN, P. J., and SENIOR APPELLATE JUDGE
Phipps, Senior Appellate Judge.
Albritten was indicted with trafficking in methamphetamine,
possession of Methadone, a controlled substance, possession
of drug-related objects, and possession of marijuana, less
than an ounce. Albritten filed a motion to suppress evidence
found in a camper located in the backyard of his house. The
trial court granted the motion to suppress, and the State
appeals. For the following reasons, we vacate the trial
court's order and remand for further findings.
this Court reviews a trial court's motion to suppress
order, we are
guided by three principles with regard to the interpretation
of the trial court's judgment of the facts. 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 it. 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 judgment.
(Citations and punctuation omitted; emphasis omitted.)
Tate v. State, 264 Ga. 53, 54 (1) (440 S.E.2d 646)
viewed, the evidence at the motion to suppress shows that on
January 18, 2018, several investigators from the Drug Task
Force of the Worth County Sheriff's Office went to 3148
Georgia Highway 112 in Worth County for the purpose of
conducting a "knock and talk" because someone had
called the police to report drug activity at the location, as
well as to perform a search pursuant to a Fourth Amendment
waiver signed by Brooks Knight, a probationer. Knight was not
present on the property, and Knight's address was not the
same as Albritten's address.
the task force arrived at 3148 Georgia Highway, several
people began running away from the house. The task force
attempted to tell those fleeing to stop, but the majority
scattered in different directions. The task force then
secured the area and made sure that nobody was in the woods.
The task force officers managed to gather several of the
individuals who attempted to flee the scene in the backyard
of the house. Although the task force did not have a search
warrant to enter the home, two officers entered the home and
conducted a protective sweep because officers believed that
there might still be people inside the home. Major Haralson
testified that he did so to ensure the safety of his
officers. Major Haralson testified that during the protective
sweep he observed numerous drug-related paraphernalia in
plain view inside the home.
officer then left the scene to obtain a search warrant. The
individuals in the backyard were handcuffed, patted down for
weapons, and were not free to leave the property while they
waited for an officer to return with the search warrant. The
basis for this search warrant was the fact that officers had
seen methamphetamine inside the house. The search warrant was
for the entire premises, including the curtilage of the home
located at 3148 Georgia Highway 112 South. Once the search
warrant was obtained, officers entered the home and found
drug contraband in the kitchen, the laundry room, attic, and
two bedrooms. One of those bedrooms belonged to Albritten. A
camper, parked about 50 to 100 feet from the back porch, was
also searched by officers. The camper was described as
uninhabitable and "just a shell." Inside the
camper, officers found a small hot water heater, a
refrigerator, and about 2.75 ounces of methamphetamine. When
asked if Albritten claimed any ownership in the camper, an
officer responded "[n]ot to my knowledge."
result of their search, Albritten was arrested and charged
with various violations of the Georgia Controlled Substances
Act. During an interview with police after his arrest,
Albritten told an investigator that he had been living in a
bedroom on the property for two to three months.
filed a motion to suppress, which the trial court granted on
the grounds that Albritten should have been free to terminate
his first-tier encounter with law enforcement, that the plain
view doctrine is not applicable in cases where the Fourth
Amendment was violated prior to observing the evidence in
question, and that any contraband discovered after the search
warrant was executed was fruits of the poisonous tree.
State concedes in its appellate brief that the evidence
seized from inside the home pursuant to the search warrant
must be suppressed because the search warrant was based on an
impermissible protective sweep leading to the observance of
items in plain view. The State also concedes that Albritten
had an ownership interest in the home because he had lived
there for several months and one bedroom was determined to be
his, and that the camper likely was in the curitilage of the
property. In its sole enumeration, the State argues that the
trial court erred in granting Albritten's motion to
suppress evidence found within the camper outside the home
because Albritten lacked standing to challenge the seizure.
The State argues that Albritten had no Fourth Amendment
expectation of privacy in the camper located 50 to 100 feet
from the back door of the house because he did not claim an
ownership interest in it.
"warrantless intrusion of a person's home is
prohibited by the Fourth Amendment, absent consent or a
showing of exigent circumstances. But the Fourth Amendment
right against unreasonable searches is a personal one and may
not be asserted vicariously." (Footnotes omitted.)
State v. King, 287 Ga.App. 680, 682-683 (652 S.E.2d
574) (2007). Thus, "[a] person who is aggrieved by an
illegal search and seizure only through the introduction of
damaging evidence secured by a search of a third person's
premises or property has not had any of his Fourth Amendment
rights infringed." (Citations omitted.) Green v.
State, 331 Ga.App. 801, 807 (1) (771 S.E.2d 518) (2015).
The person claiming a violation of his Fourth Amendment
rights bears the burden of demonstrating that he has
"standing to contest such violation, i. e., that he has
a legitimate expectation of privacy in the premises
searched." (Citation omitted.) Atwater v.
State, 233 Ga.App. 339, 340 (2) (503 S.E.2d 919) (1998).
State argues that Albritten lacks standing to contest the
illegal search of the trailer because he did not claim an
ownership interest in the trailer located 50 to 100 feet
behind the house. The State relies upon State v.
Graddy, 262 Ga.App. 98 (585 S.E.2d 147) (2003) for this
assertion. In Graddy, law enforcement executed a
search warrant where they searched a home, a shed and a
workshop. Items for manufacturing methamphetamine were found
in the shed located 25 to 30 feet from the home. Id.
at 101-102 (1). This Court held that the defendant lacked
standing to assert a Fourth Amendment ...