KY: Deputy in one county could go to another to investigate; no motion to suppress lies for statutory violation, if there even was one

A motion to suppress for a statutory violation doesn’t work in Kentucky absent a constitutional violation to found it on. Here, a deputy from one county crossed into another county to investigate. The statute defendant relies on deals with arrest, not investigation, and there is no constitutional violation shown here. Pope v. Commonwealth, 2021 Ky. LEXIS 17 (Feb. 18, 2021):

Given the all-too-often misuse of a motion to suppress as the procedural vehicle to address an alleged statutory violation, we are compelled to reiterate prior holdings. In Copley v. Commonwealth, 361 S.W.3d 902, 905 (Ky. 2012), we stated: “Suppression of evidence pursuant to the exclusionary rule applies only to searches that were carried out in violation of an individual’s constitutional rights.” The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and its application “depends on whether the person invoking its protection can claim a ‘justifiable,’ a ‘reasonable,’ or a ‘legitimate expectation of privacy’ that has been invaded by government action.” Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735, 740 (1979) (citations omitted). “Official conduct that does not ‘compromise any legitimate interest in privacy’ is not a search subject to the Fourth Amendment.” Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U.S. 405, 408-09 (2005). Furthermore, we have previously explained, “evidence obtained in violation of a state statute will not be excluded unless it involves a violation of constitutional rights or the legislature mandates exclusion.” Easterling v. Commonwealth, 580 S.W.3d 496, 502 (Ky. 2019) (citing Beach v. Commonwealth, 927 S.W.2d 826 (Ky. 1996)).

Pope’s motion to suppress and his argument before this Court are void of any explanation as to how the Boyle County deputies violated his constitutional rights. See Johnson, 423 S.W.3d at 725-26. Moreover, the statute he relies on, KRS 431.007, even if applicable in this case (and we have concluded it is not) contains no explicit directive for exclusion of evidence. See Easterling, 580 S.W.3d at 502. As in Johnson, 423 S.W.3d at 726, “the issue [here] is confined to jurisdiction,” an issue we have resolved in favor of the Commonwealth. And because the facts before us “[do] not implicate any independent constitutional principle or protected right,” id., the suppression remedy Pope seeks is not available to him. For this additional reason, we affirm the trial court’s denial of the motion to suppress.

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