Legal Memorandum: Review Standard for a Motion to Suppress in AL

Issue: What is the standard of review in the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals for decision on a motion to suppress?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Motion to suppress; Standard of review; Evidence
Jurisdiction: Alabama
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 04/01/2013

This court’s standard of review on a motion to suppress is summarized below:

The standard of review of a trial court’s ruling on a motion to suppress is as follows:


“Where evidence is presented to the trial court ore tenus in a nonjury case, a presumption of correctness exists as to the court’s conclusions on issues of fact; its determination will not be disturbed unless clearly erroneous, without supporting evidence, manifestly unjust, or against the great weight of the evidence.  However, when the trial court improperly applies the law to the facts, no presumption of correctness exists as to the court’s judgment.


Where the evidence before the trial court was undisputed the ore tenus rule is inapplicable, and [this Court] will sit in judgment on the evidence de novo, indulging no presumption in favor of the trial court’s application of the law to those facts.”

J.T.C. v. State, 990 So. 2d 444, 446 (Ala. Crim. App. 2008 (quoting Ex parte Jackson, 886 So. 2d 155, 159 (Ala. 2004) (internal citations omitted)).