U.S. v. Morgan, No. 00-1965

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore Loken, John R. Gibson, and Murphy; Murphy; JOHN R. GIBSON
Citation270 F.3d 625
Docket NumberNo. 00-1965
Decision Date15 May 2001
Parties(8th Cir. 2001) UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF - APPELLANT, v. ROSALIND SARAH MORGAN; FREDINE WALKER; ELIJAH M. JONES, DEFENDANTS - APPELLEES. Submitted:

Page 625

270 F.3d 625 (8th Cir. 2001)
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF - APPELLANT,
v.
ROSALIND SARAH MORGAN; FREDINE WALKER; ELIJAH M. JONES, DEFENDANTS - APPELLEES.
No. 00-1965
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT
Submitted: May 15, 2001
Filed: October 16, 2001

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska.

Page 626

Copyrighted Material Omitted

Page 627

Before Loken, John R. Gibson, and Murphy, Circuit Judges.

Murphy, Circuit Judge.

Rosalind Morgan, Fredine Walker, and Elijah Jones were stopped for a traffic violation on an interstate highway in Nebraska. A large amount of marijuana was discovered in their vehicle, and all three were indicted for possessing and attempting to possess marijuana with the intent to distribute. The district court granted suppression motions, and the government appeals. We reverse.

When Nebraska State Patrol Trooper Goltz was passed by a speeding van with Arizona license plates on Interstate 80 in Buffalo County, Nebraska, he activated his squad video camera and ran a check on the license. He learned that the plate was registered to a Chevrolet sedan rather than a van, and he stopped the vehicle and pulled his car directly behind it.

As Goltz approached the passenger side of the van, he observed two women in the front seat and a man sitting behind the driver. He also saw a large duffel bag, approximately four feet long, next to the man in back. When the passenger rolled down her window, Goltz smelled cigar smoke as well as some kind of deodorizer or perfume. Goltz asked Walker, who was driving, for her license and registration.

Page 628

Walker produced her Michigan driver license, and passenger Morgan gave Goltz an Arizona rental agreement in her name. Goltz noticed that Morgan seemed nervous and did not make eye contact with him. He asked for identification from her and Jones, the passenger in the back seat. Goltz then returned to his car and ran computer checks on all three individuals. With him in the car were a drug dog and a visiting officer from Iowa.

Goltz returned to the van and asked Walker to step out to the rear. She told him that she was traveling from Arizona to her home in the Detroit area and that she had been in the Phoenix area four days, to see friends and shop. Goltz noticed that Walker was nervous and did not stand still or make eye contact with him. He told her he was going to give her a violation card but no citation, because the license mix up was the rental company's fault. Goltz then went to speak with Morgan and noticed a second large duffel bag on the seat directly behind Jones. He observed that the bag was "squared off," as if it contained "some type of square objects." Morgan told Goltz that she had gone to Arizona to visit a relative who had a baby, that Walker had come along for the ride, and that she thought Walker had relatives there. They had flown to Arizona where they stayed a week and then rented the van to return to Detroit with Jones, who was moving back to that area.

Goltz went back to his squad car to fill out the violation card and to wait for the results of the computer checks. He and Walker stood beside his squad car while they waited. Goltz asked Walker if she had visited any other city in Arizona, and she responded that she could not remember. Walker also told Goltz she thought he had made up the license plate violation in order to stop the van.

After Goltz determined that none of the defendants had warrants and that Walker's license was in order, he returned the rental contract and licenses and gave the violation card to Walker. Walker said she did not want to drive anymore and went around to the passenger side of the van. Morgan got out of the van to take up driving and as she walked around the back toward the driver side, Goltz asked her "what she believed law enforcement was doing about the war on drugs." Morgan responded, and a short conversation ensued during which she seemed very nervous and did not look Goltz in the eye. When he asked her whether there was cocaine in the van, she looked at him for the first time and answered "no." When he asked if there was methamphetamine, she maintained eye contact and said "no." When he asked her about marijuana, she looked at the ground and answered "no." Goltz asked Morgan if he could search the van for drugs. Morgan asked what would happen if she refused, and he answered that he would walk his dog around the van. Morgan said "go ahead."

Goltz asked everyone to get out of the van and went back to his patrol car to get his dog. When he walked it over to the van, the dog alerted and began to bite, scratch, and paw at the door seams and back of the van. Something less than ten minutes elapsed between when Morgan had said "go ahead" and when the dog alerted. Goltz searched the van and found three large duffle bags containing what was later determined to be 281 pounds of marijuana. Morgan, Walker, and Jones were placed under arrest.

The van was driven to a state patrol office in Kearney, where a subsequent search revealed an additional ten pounds of marijuana in a suitcase containing women's clothes. All the luggage was taken into the building, and Goltz asked the travelers

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to identify their bags so that they could be stored with the rest of their personal property. Morgan identified the suitcase that had the ten pounds of marijuana in it. At this point, the defendants had not been informed of their Miranda rights or that marijuana had been found in the suitcase.

The defendants filed motions to suppress the marijuana and their statements. After an evidentiary hearing, the magistrate judge issued a report and recommendation that the motion to suppress the marijuana be denied, finding that the traffic stop was permissible, that Morgan's conversation with Goltz concerning the war on drugs was a consensual encounter, and that Morgan had consented to the search of the van. The magistrate judge found alternatively that Goltz had had reasonable suspicion to detain the defendants long enough to walk his dog around the van. The magistrate judge recommended suppression of Morgan's admission that she was the owner of the suitcase because she had not been informed of her Miranda rights, but recommended that other statements of the defendants be admitted.

The district court did not adopt the report and recommendation and granted all motions to suppress. It concluded that Goltz had impermissibly expanded the scope of the traffic stop because he had detained the defendants without their consent or reasonable suspicion. Although Goltz had returned all of their documents, the court found it significant that he had...

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51 practice notes
  • Rodriguez v. United States, No. 13–9972.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 21, 2015
    ...suspicion, in order to conduct a dog sniff.573 U.S. ––––, 135 S.Ct. 43, 189 L.Ed.2d 896 (2014). Compare, e.g., United States v. Morgan,270 F.3d 625, 632 (C.A.8 2001)(postcompletion delay of “well under ten minutes” permissible), with, e.g., State v. Baker,2010 UT 18, ¶ 13, 229 P.3d 650, 658......
  • Rodriguez v. United States, No. 13–9972.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 21, 2015
    ...suspicion, in order to conduct a dog sniff. 573 U.S. ––––, 135 S.Ct. 43, 189 L.Ed.2d 896 (2014). Compare, e.g., United States v. Morgan, 270 F.3d 625, 632 (C.A.8 2001) (postcompletion delay of "well under ten minutes" permissible), with, e.g., State v. Baker, 2010 UT 18, ¶ 13, 229 P.3d 650,......
  • State v. Betts, No. 11–371.
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • August 2, 2013
    ...... which, if they actually existed, would allow the police to make a warrantless search.Id. at 76–77 (citing United States v. Morgan, 270 F.3d 625 (8th Cir.2001)). In Morgan, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that a woman did not voluntarily consent to a search......
  • U.S. v. Escobar, No. 03-4046.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • November 18, 2004
    ...telling a police officer to "[g]o ahead" with a search is not, in and of itself, proof of voluntary consent. See United States v. Morgan, 270 F.3d 625, 631-32 (8th Cir.2001). Further, while Miranda warnings "are not required for consent to a search to be voluntary ... they can lessen the pr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
51 cases
  • Rodriguez v. United States, No. 13–9972.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 21, 2015
    ...suspicion, in order to conduct a dog sniff.573 U.S. ––––, 135 S.Ct. 43, 189 L.Ed.2d 896 (2014). Compare, e.g., United States v. Morgan,270 F.3d 625, 632 (C.A.8 2001)(postcompletion delay of “well under ten minutes” permissible), with, e.g., State v. Baker,2010 UT 18, ¶ 13, 229 P.3d 650, 658......
  • Rodriguez v. United States, No. 13–9972.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 21, 2015
    ...suspicion, in order to conduct a dog sniff. 573 U.S. ––––, 135 S.Ct. 43, 189 L.Ed.2d 896 (2014). Compare, e.g., United States v. Morgan, 270 F.3d 625, 632 (C.A.8 2001) (postcompletion delay of "well under ten minutes" permissible), with, e.g., State v. Baker, 2010 UT 18, ¶ 13, 229 P.3d 650,......
  • State v. Betts, No. 11–371.
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • August 2, 2013
    ...... which, if they actually existed, would allow the police to make a warrantless search.Id. at 76–77 (citing United States v. Morgan, 270 F.3d 625 (8th Cir.2001)). In Morgan, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that a woman did not voluntarily consent to a search......
  • U.S. v. Escobar, No. 03-4046.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • November 18, 2004
    ...telling a police officer to "[g]o ahead" with a search is not, in and of itself, proof of voluntary consent. See United States v. Morgan, 270 F.3d 625, 631-32 (8th Cir.2001). Further, while Miranda warnings "are not required for consent to a search to be voluntary ... they can lessen the pr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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