United States v. Edwards, 20-3297

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtSt. Eve, Circuit Judge.
Citation34 F.4th 570
Parties UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Jeremiah D. EDWARDS, Defendant-Appellant.
Docket Number20-3297
Decision Date16 May 2022

34 F.4th 570

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Jeremiah D. EDWARDS, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 20-3297

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

Argued September 29, 2021
Decided May 16, 2022


Daniel J. Graber, Attorney, Office of the United States Attorney, Madison, WI, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Michael David Bess, Attorney, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, Chicago, IL, Nancy Cruz, Attorney, Perkins Coie LLP, Madison, WI, Kurt F. Ellison, Tanya M. Salman, Attorneys, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, Madison, WI, S. Edward Sarskas, Attorney, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, Milwaukee, WI, for Defendant-Appellant.

Before Easterbrook, Ripple, and St. Eve, Circuit Judges.

St. Eve, Circuit Judge.

A string of ten armed robberies plagued the Madison, Wisconsin area in the fall of 2018. Law enforcement believed that one man was behind all ten. One of these robberies occurred on the evening of November 4, 2018, when the unidentified suspect, subsequently identified as Jeremiah Edwards, robbed Neil's Liquor in Middleton, Wisconsin. Security camera footage enabled law enforcement officers to obtain a warrant for a GPS tracking device on Edwards's vehicle, a black Mitsubishi Outlander. After another armed robbery, a high-speed chase, and the seizure of key evidence, the government charged Edwards with Hobbs Act robbery, brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. A jury found Edwards guilty of all counts. Edwards appeals, claiming a series of errors. We see no error and affirm.

I. Factual Background

A. The Robbery of Neil's Liquor

On November 4, 2018, a man—subsequently identified as Edwards—robbed Neil's Liquor in Middleton, Wisconsin. Six security cameras captured Edwards and the robbery.

Edwards parked a black Mitsubishi Outlander on a street behind Neil's Liquor, crossed a wooden footbridge connected to the store's parking lot, and entered the liquor store. Moments later, Edwards robbed Neil's Liquor at gunpoint then escaped out the back door. Edwards left the scene on foot, leaving the parked Outlander behind.

Two hours later, a white SUV parked in Neil's Liquor's lot. A man (presumably Edwards), a woman, and a dog exited the SUV and walked onto the wooden footbridge. The pair then split up, with the man driving off in the Outlander and the woman and dog returning to the white SUV.

34 F.4th 577

Detective Schultz of the Middleton Police Department learned the Outlander was registered to Edwards's ex-girlfriend, who told Detective Schultz that she sold Edwards the Outlander in 2016. Based on the security camera footage of the robbery, Detective Schultz's observations, and the statements from Neil's Liquor's cashier and Edwards's ex-girlfriend, Detective Schultz prepared a warrant application to place a GPS tracking device on the Outlander. The supporting affidavit included Edwards's criminal history, which Detective Schultz described as "lengthy ... including but not limited to arrests for" six robberies between 1998 and 2005. Edwards in fact had fifteen arrests and five convictions. A judge issued the warrant, and on November 7, 2018, law enforcement officers placed the GPS tracking device on Edwards's Outlander.

B. The Robbery of O'Reilly Auto Parts

On November 8, 2018, Edwards and co-defendant Kenasha Woods robbed the O'Reilly Auto Parts in Madison, Wisconsin. Woods met Edwards, who she knew as "Moe," through the Moorish Science Temple in Madison. The night of the O'Reilly Auto Parts robbery Edwards offered Woods a ride home after service at the Temple. Edwards and Woods smoked marijuana as they drove. At some point, Edwards pulled a handgun on Woods and ordered her to help him with a robbery. Armed with handguns, they robbed O'Reilly Auto Parts and left the scene in the Outlander.

Law enforcement responded to the robbery and located the Outlander using the GPS tracking device. Edwards and Woods fled, leading the officers on a high-speed chase. When the officers finally caught up to the Outlander, they discovered it crashed and empty. The officers located Woods nearby and brought her to the police station for questioning. Edwards was nowhere to be found.

At the station, officers escorted Woods into an interview room, where Detective Johnson of the Madison Police Department questioned her. Woods initially told a fabricated story. Detective Johnson then opened a binder on the table and momentarily displayed Edwards's booking photo from a previous arrest. Woods saw the photo, but neither Woods nor Detective Johnson mentioned it. Detective Johnson proceeded to explain everything law enforcement knew about "Moe" and the O'Reilly Auto Parts robbery. Woods then positively identified "Moe" as the man in the booking photo and claimed she could pick "Moe" out of a crowd. Detective Johnson showed her Edwards's booking photo. Woods confirmed it was Edwards and noted that Edwards had hair in the photo, but he was now bald. The government obtained a warrant for Edwards's arrest on November 13, 2018, and on November 28, 2018, a grand jury indicted him.

C. Search of Edwards's Outlander

On November 9, 2018, the Madison Police Department obtained a search warrant for the Outlander. Officers searched the vehicle and recovered a loaded 9mm handgun, cash, drugs, gloves, a ski mask, and items from Woods's purse. Law enforcement returned the warrant on November 12, 2018, sealed the Outlander with evidence tape, and stored it in an impound facility without conducting a separate inventory search.

In December 2018, Woods was incarcerated and awaiting trial. Edwards was still missing. The night of her arrest, Woods informed officers that her personal handgun was in a pink purse in the back of "Moe's" car. Now, Woods's counsel asked the government for the money in Woods's purse to fund her jail account. Because the

34 F.4th 578

purse was not in the inventory of seized property, law enforcement believed it must still be in the Outlander.

On January 1, 2019, Detective Johnson broke the evidence tape sealing the Outlander and entered the vehicle through the front passenger side door to retrieve Woods's purse. Realizing that the purse was in the back seat, he reached over the front seat and inadvertently bumped into the sunglasses holder on the ceiling. The holder dislodged and revealed a hidden compartment. As he attempted to reinsert the holder, Detective Johnson immediately recognized a Glock handgun stashed in the compartment. He left the Outlander and contacted a federal prosecutor, who advised Detective Johnson to get a search warrant, which FBI Agent Boxwell obtained. Law enforcement officers searched the vehicle and found a knit cap and Glock handgun bearing Edwards's fingerprints.

II. Procedural Background

On March 25, 2019, law enforcement finally apprehended Edwards in Chicago, Illinois. The grand jury subsequently returned a superseding indictment including additional charges.

A. Motions to Suppress

Edwards filed several suppression motions challenging the evidence linking him to the O'Reilly Auto Parts robbery. First, Edwards sought to suppress evidence resulting from the GPS tracking device. Edwards argued Detective Schultz's affidavit violated Franks v. Delaware , 438 U.S. 154, 98 S.Ct. 2674, 57 L.Ed.2d 667 (1978), and did not support probable cause. Second, Edwards moved to suppress Woods's photo identification of him for violating his due process rights. Third, Edwards sought to suppress the Glock recovered from the Outlander, claiming Detective Johnson violated his Fourth Amendment rights when he entered the vehicle without a warrant.

The magistrate judge held a combined Franks and evidentiary hearing. During the hearing, the magistrate judge reviewed the security camera footage and heard testimony from Detective Schultz, Detective Johnson, and Woods. The magistrate judge then issued a thorough report and recommendation, concluding that Detective Schultz did not misrepresent the security camera footage or intend to mislead the issuing judge by omitting portions of Edwards's criminal history. Recognizing Detective Johnson's actions may have influenced Woods's photo identification, the magistrate judge found the photo identification reliable after considering the Biggers factors. See Neil v. Biggers , 409 U.S. 188, 93 S.Ct. 375, 34 L.Ed.2d 401 (1972). Additionally, the magistrate judge credited Detective Johnson's testimony regarding how he discovered the hidden compartment in the Outlander and concluded the entry did not implicate the Fourth Amendment.

Edwards objected to the magistrate judge's recommendation. On January 21, 2020, the district court entered its opinion and order adopting the report and recommendation, and overruled Edwards's objections. The district court's order questioned Detective Johnson's credibility, suggesting the magistrate judge found Detective Johnson had lied at the evidentiary hearing. The next day, the government moved to reconsider the...

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2 practice notes
  • United States v. Johnson, 20-3272
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 8, 2022
    ...the burden of proving that the evidence is (1) favorable, (2) suppressed, and (3) material to the defense." United States v. Edwards , 34 F.4th 570, 587 (7th Cir. 2022) (quoting United States v. Walter , 870 F.3d 622, 629 (7th Cir. 2017) ). Johnson's evidentiary challenge fails under each B......
  • Martin v. Redden, 21-1937
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • May 16, 2022
    ...fraud was plain, and the court did not abuse its discretion in deciding that it did not need an expert to understand the evidence. See 34 F.4th 570 id.2 Nor did the court err by refusing to take judicial notice of Martin's proposed evidence that the prison still used outdated forms. See Fed......
1 cases
  • Martin v. Redden, 21-1937
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • May 16, 2022
    ...fraud was plain, and the court did not abuse its discretion in deciding that it did not need an expert to understand the evidence. See 34 F.4th 570 id.2 Nor did the court err by refusing to take judicial notice of Martin's proposed evidence that the prison still used outdated forms. See Fed......

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