from Montgomery Circuit Court (CC-16-441)
WINDOM, PRESIDING JUDGE.
State of Alabama appeals the circuit court's order
suppressing evidence of cocaine discovered in Tommy
Williams's pocket during a traffic stop. For the reasons
that follow, this Court reverses the circuit court's
order and remands the cause for further proceedings.
February 21, 2013, Cpl. A.T. Caffey of the Montgomery Police
Department stopped Williams's automobile because Williams
failed to signal while turning. During the traffic stop, Cpl.
Caffey discovered cocaine in Williams's pocket and
arrested him for possession of a controlled substance. On
April 8, 2016, a Montgomery County grand jury indicted
Williams for unlawful possession of a controlled substance.
See § 13A-12-212(a)(1), Ala. Code 1975. On May
10, 2016, Williams filed a motion to suppress the cocaine
that formed the basis of his indictment. In his motion,
Williams did "not challenge that his traffic stop was
properly initiated due to his turning without signaling, and
thus d[id] not suggest the Officer's action was not
justified at its inception other than the fact that there
[was] no ... ticket ... issued to Williams." (C. 30.)
"Rather, Williams maintain[ed] that all evidence seized
as a result of the ... events, and any and all statements and
derivative evidence flowing therefrom, should be suppressed
because they are the result of a search and seizure of
Williams' person that violated his Fourth Amendment
rights." (C. 30.) Specifically, Williams argued that the
officer lacked any grounds to order him out of his
automobile; therefore, any evidence obtained after he was
ordered out of the automobile should be suppressed.
1, 2016, the circuit court held a suppression hearing during
which the State presented testimony from one witness, Cpl.
Caffey. Cpl. Caffey testified that on February 21, 2013, he
witnessed Williams "turning off of the boulevard onto
Carmichael Road" without signaling. Cpl. Caffey
activated his emergency lights to pull Williams over for
turning without signaling. See § 32-5A-133,
Ala. Code 1975. When Cpl. Caffey activated his lights,
Williams pulled his automobile into the parking lot of a
Waffle House restaurant.
Caffey and his partner approached Williams's vehicle. As
they approached, they saw that "[Williams] was moving
sporadically. He wasn't just sitting still. He wasn't
moving as if he was going for a wallet. He kept moving to the
right side of his body." (R. 5.) When asked the
difference between a driver reaching for his wallet and
Williams's behavior, Cpl. Caffey testified:
"It's a big difference. Most people, they would just
do a single motion to grab a wallet. At the time [Williams]
kept reaching down to his right side and then he would sit
up. Then he would reach to his right side again while
watching me in the mirror approach the vehicle."
Cpl. Caffey reached Williams's automobile, he asked
Williams for his driver's license, tag receipt, and proof
of insurance. Williams provided his driver's license and
tag receipt but did not have insurance. Because of
Williams's behavior and because he was acting nervously,
Cpl. Caffey instructed him to get out of the automobile.
Williams, however, refused and "started playing with
some paper." (R. 7.) Cpl. Caffey again instructed
Williams to get out of the automobile, and Williams again
refused and "started putting his hand in and out of his
right-front side pocket." (R. 7.) At that point, Cpl.
"grabbed his left hand and ... instructed him to stop
putting his hand in his pocket [and to put his right hand out
of the window]. [Cpl. Caffey again] instructed him to step
out of the vehicle .... So [Williams] complied after [Cpl.
Caffey] grabbed his hand. [Cpl. Caffey] opened the door, and
[Williams] stepped out."
(R. 7.) Cpl. Caffey testified:
"Once he stepped out of the vehicle, I conducted a
pat-down immediately. I started on the right side of his body
since that was where he was grabbing, where he was reaching.
Once I started on his pants, I came up to his right-side
pocket. I felt a bulge, and the first word out of his mouth
was it's cocaine."
(R. 8.) Cpl. Caffey testified that he patted down Williams
for weapons because of Williams's erratic movements and