FROM THE MISSISSIPPI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, CHICKASAWBA
DISTRICT [NO. 47BCR-15-339] HONORABLE MELISSA BRISTOW
Burns Law Firm, PLLC, by: Meagan Burns, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Kathryn Henry, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
BRANDON J. HARRISON, JUDGE
appeal asks whether the circuit court erred when it denied
Anfernee Wells's request to suppress evidence of his
arrest because, he argues, there was no supporting affidavit
for the arrest warrant when the warrant first issued. We hold
that the warrant process was not fatally flawed and affirm
the denial of the motions to suppress.
was tried and convicted for murdering Vincent Stone. Stone
died of a gunshot wound after playing a pickup game of
basketball in a Blytheville park on 22 June 2015. During the
April 2017 trial, two witnesses identified Wells as one of
two gunmen at the Blytheville park that day.
argued to the circuit court before the trial and during the
trial that his arrest for first-degree murder was unlawful.
Here, he essentially repeats that the arrest in Detroit,
Michigan was bad because the warrant authorizing the arrest
was issued without a reasonable-cause affidavit. Wells claims
that the fruits of his arrest-that he gave a false name to
the arresting officers and that he was arrested in Detroit,
making it appear to the jury that he was on the run-should
have been suppressed. The circuit court denied the motions,
concluding that Wells was lawfully arrested, that no federal
or state constitutional violations had occurred, and that
there was no police misconduct.
warrant must be issued by a "neutral and detached
magistrate" and "supported by Oath or
affirmation." U.S. Const. amend. IV; Johnson v.
United States, 333 U.S. 10, 14 (1948). Arkansas Rule of
Criminal Procedure 7.1 sets forth the warrant process in this
(b) [A] judicial officer may issue a warrant for the arrest
of a person if, from affidavit, recorded testimony, or other
documented information, it appears there is reasonable cause
to believe an offense has been committed and the person
committed it. A judicial officer may issue a summons in lieu
of an arrest warrant as provided in Rule 6.1. An affidavit or
other documented information in support of an arrest warrant
may be transmitted to the issuing judicial officer by
facsimile or by other electronic means. Recorded testimony in
support of an arrest warrant may be received by telephone or
other electronic means provided the issuing judicial officer
first administers an oath by telephone or other electronic
means to the person testifying in support of the issuance of
(c) A judicial officer who has determined that an arrest
warrant should be issued may authorize the clerk of the court
or his deputy to issue the warrant.
summarized, the rule authorizes a judge to issue an arrest
warrant if, from the information presented, there is
reasonable cause to believe that an offense has been
committed and the person to be arrested committed it.
Blanchett v. State, 368 Ark. 492, 496, 247 S.W.3d
477, 480 (2007). An arrest warrant is valid when a sworn
complaint or testimony adequately sets forth the underlying
facts and circumstances for an arrest. Id. The State
cannot save an insufficiently supported warrant by arguing
that the police had additional information to support the
probable-cause statement but failed to disclose it to the
issuing judge. Whiteley v. Warden, Wyo. St.
Penitentiary, 401 U.S. 560, 568 (1971). But see Moya
v. State, 335 Ark. 193, 981 S.W.2d 521 (1998) (holding
that additional information known to a police officer but not
previously disclosed to the magistrate may be used for the
limited purpose of determining the good faith of the police
timeline is helpful to further understand this case. The