U.S. v. Williams, 2:96 CR 114 B.

Decision Date03 October 1997
Docket NumberNo. 2:96 CR 114 B.,2:96 CR 114 B.
Citation980 F.Supp. 1225
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff, v. Frederick Shawn WILLIAMS, Defendant.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Utah

Leisha Lee-Dixon, U.S. Attorney's Office, Salt Lake City, UT, for Plaintiff.

Robert Booker, Booker & Associates, Salt Lake City, UT, for Defendant.

ORDER

BENSON, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

The Defendant, Frederick Shawn Williams, was indicted by a grand jury and charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute under 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). Defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence obtained form a warrantless search of his vehicle. That motion was referred to a Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). On August 28, 1997, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation to this court recommending that Defendant's motion to suppress be denied. Defendant filed an objection to the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation on September 10, 1997 stating without particularity his objection to the Report and Recommendation but requesting an extension of time in which to file more particularized objections. With his objections, the Defendant filed a motion to dismiss based upon an alleged violation of his constitutional and statutory rights to a speedy trial. It is those motions that are currently before the court.

DISCUSSION

Defendant's motion for an extension of time in which to file more particularized objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation is DENIED. The court hereby finds that the Defendant's objection to the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation inadequately specifies his objections to the Magistrate Judge's proposed findings and, therefore, the court ADOPTS the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge in its entirety. Finally, the court REFERS the Defendant's motion to dismiss based upon the Defendant's right to a speedy trial to the Magistrate Judge under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B).

REPORT & RECOMMENDATION

BOYCE, United States Magistrate Judge.

The defendant, Frederick Shawn Williams, has been indicted by a grand jury and charged with possession of 36 kilograms of phencyclidine (PCP) with intent to distribute (21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1)). The defendant made a motion to suppress evidence obtained from a warrantless search of defendant's vehicle (File Entry # 63). Defendant submitted a memorandum in conjunction with the motion to suppress (See File Entry # 63). The memorandum asserted, first, that defendant was in custody of the officer when a search of defendant's person and vehicle occurred and that there was no valid detention of defendant, the search made of the vehicle was unconstitutional and that no valid consent was given for the search of the vehicle. The United States submitted a response contending the actions of the officer involved were constitutional, the search of the vehicle was legal, and the evidence properly seized (File Entry # 65). Defendant submitted a response (File Entry # 67).

A hearing was held on the defendant's motion to suppress. The matter has been referred to the magistrate judge under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). This report and recommendation is submitted pursuant to the reference on the defendant's motion to suppress.

Evidence

At the hearing on the motion to suppress, Deputy Sevier County Sheriff Phil Barney testified that on June 11, 1996 at 1:00 a.m. he was at milepost 48 on 1-70 talking with Deputy Sheriff Ogden (Tr. p. 6). Ogden was also in Barney's vehicle. The vehicle was stationary facing west. A vehicle came eastbound which was checked by radar which reported the vehicle to be traveling 80 mph. The officers pursued and stopped the vehicle about one mile from where it was detected (Tr. p. 7). The speed limit on the roadway was 75 mph. The officer approached the driver and asked for a driver's license and registration. A license was produced and a rental agreement for the vehicle. The license the driver produced was a temporary Georgia license (Def. Exh. A, Tr. p. 8). The license is dated March 22, 1996 and indicated it was good for 45 days as an interim license (Id. Exh. A). On its face it had expired by June 11, 1996. The officer inquired about the defendant's destination and was told by the vehicle driver, defendant Williams, that he was going to Denver because relatives were graduating from college, but he didn't know what college (Tr. p. 9). The officer returned to his vehicle and ran an NCIC check and a crime information check. There were no warrants on defendant. The dispatcher contacted the officer and advised him that defendant's Georgia license had been suspended (Tr. p. 9). The suspension was in April, 1996 (Id.). The defendant, under the circumstances, could not drive. The vehicle had been rented the day before for seven days. It was rented in Los Angeles (Tr. p. 10).

The officer wrote a citation for driving on a revoked or suspended license and took defendant into custody by handcuffing him. The officer asked the defendant for the names of his relatives who were graduating from college. Defendant had some difficulty in coming up with the names and couldn't give an address to contact them. He said he would have to call to California and ask someone for their address (Tr. pp. 10-11). Defendant said he lived in Los Angeles and was a security guard.

The officer asked the defendant about three boxes in plain sight in defendant's vehicle which were marked Bacardi rum. Defendant said they contained rum and that they were graduation gifts. There were a couple of small bags in the vehicle. Barney started to inventory the vehicle and turned one of the rum boxes over. It had been opened and repasted. He opened the box and removed a bottle. The seal on the bottle had been broken. The bottle was broken. The seals on the other bottles had been broken (Tr. pp. 11-12). He opened the bottle and smelled it, it was PCP. The officer had smelled PCP several times before (Tr. p. 12). The vehicle was towed to the Sheriff's office. Defendant was given a Miranda1 warning (Tr. pp. 12-13). A further search of the vehicle at the Sheriff's office revealed that each of the boxes of rum, 36 bottles, altogether, were full of PCP (Tr. p. 14).

The vehicle had been rented to defendant Williams (Tr. p. 15). The NCIC or vehicle records check indicated the suspension of defendant's license occurred on April 29, 1996 according to the information transmitted to the officer. The officer advised defendant his license had been suspended for an insurance problem, which was not surprising to the officer because he said a lot of persons get insurance to get a license and then cancel it (Tr. p. 18). The temporary permit had a date of 2/13/2000 but was only a 45 day interim license. Defendant produced no other license (Tr. p. 19, Defendant Exh. A). The defendant may have had insurance on the rental vehicle under the rental contract (Exh. B, Tr. p. 20), however, that would not change his status as an unlicensed driver. Defendant was arrested for driving on a suspended license (Tr. p. 20). Defendant would have to see a judge and post bail (Tr. p. 21). About $600 was seized from the defendant after narcotics were found in the vehicle (Tr. p. 22). At 1:00 a.m. it was not feasible to check on anything about the license. The officer testified he conducted an inventory search on the highway (Tr. p. 27). This is to account for things in the vehicle where it is taken into custody. The license plate check indicated the vehicle was registered to the Hertz Corporation (Tr. pp. 29-30).

Sevier County has a vehicle inventory policy (Tr. p. 32, Defendant Exh. F). A vehicle inventory form was filled out by the officer (See Exh. G, p. 35). This was at the Sevier County Sheriff's Office.

Frederick Shawn Williams, the defendant, testified that he was arrested on June 11, 1996 on 1-70 (Tr. p. 36). He rented a car from the Hertz Company sometime shortly before he was stopped. To get the vehicle he produced Exhibit A, the temporary license from Georgia. He was not made aware of any problem (Tr. pp. 37-38). He obtained insurance on the vehicle through Hertz (Tr. p. 38).

When the defendant rented the vehicle he was not asked if he had any other insurance (Tr. p. 44). There was a video record made of the stop. The event was filmed from Officer Barney's vehicle (Pla. Exh. 1).

The video reflects that at about 12:55 a.m. the officers stopped defendant's vehicle. Officer Barney went to the driver's side of the vehicle and asked for a driver's license and registration. He received a license and thought it was an identification card, but defendant said it was his license. A rental document was presented as the officer asked if it was a rental vehicle. Officer Barney also told defendant he was going 80 mph which was "too fast." The officer asked defendant if he lived in Decatur, he said he now lived in California. In response to the officer's questions he said he was going to Denver. His cousins were graduating from college.

Officer Barney returned to his vehicle and called in a records check on the vehicle and driver. He received information that the vehicle was a Hertz rental and there was no problem with the vehicle. The triple I criminal history check indicated defendant had a drug paraphernalia arrest in January 1986, reference the United States Attorney, Washington, D.C.

A computer check indicated defendant's license, which would have expired 2/13/2000, was suspended April 29, 1996. The reason for the suspension is not clearly determinable from the audio on the video tape. Officer Barney remarked that car rental was not properly obtained if defendant's license had been suspended.

Officer Barney returned to the vehicle and asked defendant additional questions about his journey, his cousins, and his residence in California. He asked about cash and drugs. Defendant denied any arrests and said he had $500 cash in his possession. The officer...

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