By Gianna DeGuzman
WOODLAND – Detained on suspicion of an abduction, Jimmy Dee Teal consented to a search of his hotel room, where methamphetamine pipes were eventually uncovered.
On July 29, 2018, Scott Farnsworth, a West Sacramento police officer, was dispatched to an unnamed hotel to respond to a call of a possible kidnapping with a weapon involved. His testimony was succinct; he claimed that all potential suspects were detained immediately without resistance, a protective sweep of Room 8 was conducted, and he did not encounter any commotion or anyone in need of aid.
A more in-depth story was elucidated through the 12 minutes of body cam footage presented by the defense. Officer Farnsworth’s testimony was corroborated – the suspects, Jimmy Teal and his girlfriend, “JD,” were detained without a hitch. Teal’s girlfriend revealed to the police that Teal had no warrants and was not on parole, but she was the one who is on probation. When the officer on the scene explained the nature of the detainment to Teal, Teal audibly expressed his surprise several times, motioning to his girlfriend and stating, “This isn’t the one that’s kidnapped. She doesn’t match the description of the one being kidnapped, does she?”
Although the officers didn’t reveal the description of the alleged victim to Teal, they explained that probable cause was attained due to Teal’s Mitsubishi Eclipse sitting in the parking lot, matching the given description. Teal admitted to it being his car, but claimed it was inoperable due to a flat tire. Meanwhile, Farnsworth conducted a protective sweep with his partner, where the methamphetamine pipes were found hidden within the bed frame.
The problem arose when the defense, led by Deputy Public Defender James Bradford, pointed out that the second re-entry was without a warrant. Farnsworth testified that he initially conducted a protective sweep of the hotel room alone, but returned within minutes to conduct a second search with his partner. This is a violation under Penal Code section 1538.5 and allows the court to grant a motion to suppress evidence, claiming that the second sweep was unlawful.
Judge David Reed emphasized several times that additional authority should be invited to support the court. He listed prior rulings from People v. Saunders, People v. Miller, People v. Bowers, and Myers v. Supreme Court that all rule the search invalid, but suggested that the court should not suppress evidence, because it need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.
No ruling was made today. Further arguments are set to resume in six weeks, on August 28 at 9:00 AM.