United States v. Wilson, Case No. 2:13–CR–2–MR–DLH.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Western District of North Carolina
Writing for the CourtMARTIN REIDINGER
Citation995 F.Supp.2d 455
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, v. Eudine Trenae WILSON and Marie Luzinski Raymond.
Decision Date21 January 2014
Docket NumberCase No. 2:13–CR–2–MR–DLH.

995 F.Supp.2d 455

UNITED STATES of America,
v.
Eudine Trenae WILSON and Marie Luzinski Raymond.

Case No. 2:13–CR–2–MR–DLH.

United States District Court,
W.D. North Carolina,
Bryson City Division.

Jan. 21, 2014.


[995 F.Supp.2d 459]


John Daren Pritchard, U.S. Attorney's Office, Asheville, NC, for United States of America.

Richard E. Cassady, The Law Office of Rich Cassady, Franklin, NC, for Eudine Trenae Wilson and Marie Luzinski Raymond.


MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

MARTIN REIDINGER, District Judge.

THIS MATTER is before the Court for resolution of the Defendants' Motions to Suppress [Docs. 39; 42], and the Defendants' Objections [Docs. 85; 86] to the Magistrate Judge's Memorandum and Recommendation (“M & R”) [Doc. 82]. For the reasons that follow, this Court will accept the Magistrate Judge's recommendation that the search of Defendants' persons was unconstitutional, but will reject the Magistrate Judge's recommendation that the search of the Maple Ridge Apartment was constitutional, and will grant Defendants' suppression motions in full.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On February 20, 2013, the Defendants Eudine Trenae Wilson (“Wilson”), Marie Luzinski Raymond (“Raymond”), and Kandace Rhean Griffin (“Griffin”) were charged in a Bill of Indictment with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a Schedule II controlled substance in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). [Doc. 5]. Defendants Wilson and Raymond were also charged with possession with intent to distribute oxycodone in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). [ Id.].

On April 22, 2013, Defendants Wilson and Raymond each filed a motion to suppress. [Docs. 39, 42]. The Magistrate Judge heard the Defendants' suppression motions over the course of two days in June 2013. On September 25, 2013, 2013 WL 7044581, Magistrate Judge Howell issued his M & R. [Doc. 82]. He recommended that the Court grant in part and deny in part Defendants' suppression motions. In particular, the Magistrate Judge recommended that the Court find unconstitutional the warrantless search of the Defendants' persons, following the stop of their car, but recommended the Court find lawful the subsequent warrant-based search of the apartment where Wilson and Raymond stayed. [ Id. at 45–6]. The Magistrate Judge informed the parties they could file any objections to his M & R within fourteen days' of service thereof. [ Id. at 47]. Raymond filed her objections on October 7, 2013, [Doc. 85] and Wilson filed a document adopting Raymond's objections the following day. [Doc. 86].

[995 F.Supp.2d 460]

The Defendants' Motions to Suppress and Objections to the M & R are now ripe for the Court's consideration.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Since the Defendants have raised various specific factual and legal objections to the Magistrate Judge's Memorandum and Recommendation, the Court will review the Magistrate Judge's proposed findings and conclusions de novo.28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R. Crim.P. 59(b)(3).

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The factual background of this case is extensive. The Defendants object only to the omission of certain facts from Magistrate Judge Howell's comprehensive factual recitation contained in his M & R. The alleged factual omissions, according to the Defendants, affect only the determination of the validity of the search warrant at issue. The Court will adopt Magistrate Judge Howell's factual findings as reproduced below, with minor modifications from his M & R based upon the Court's review of the suppression hearing transcript.

I. The September 18, 2012, Traffic Stop and Subsequent Investigation.

In early 2012, the Cherokee Indian Police Department (“CIPD”) was investigating Kandace Griffin and Justina Rattler for selling oxycodone on the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina. (Suppression Hr'g Tr. 142, 212; Jun. 20, 2013). In May of 2012, CIPD Detective Shawn Birchfield relayed to his colleague Detective Matthew Shiver that a black female was staying in a local hotel, paying cash for her room, and selling oxycodone pills to Justina Rattler.1 (Hr'g Tr. 214; Jun. 20, 2013). On September 18, 2012, Shiver received information from a person he knew 2 that a young black female was at Griffin's residence in Cherokee, and that this female was a source of oxycodone for Griffin. (Hr'g Tr. 216–18; Jun. 20, 2013). Detective Shiver asked CIPD Sergeant Daryl Martin to drive by the Griffin residence and get a vehicle description plus the tag number of the vehicle at the residence. (Hr'g Tr. 5–6; Jun. 12, 2013; Hr'g Tr. 216, 218; Jun. 20, 2013).

Sergeant Martin drove by the Griffin residence that same day and observed a black vehicle with a New York tag. (Hr'g Tr. 6–7; Jun. 12, 2013). Martin turned over the vehicle information to Shiver who then ran it through dispatch and discovered that the car was a black Mazda rented from Hertz. (Hr'g Tr. 218–19, Jun. 20, 2013). At some point on either September 18 or 19, 2012, DEA Task Force Officer Courtney Mumm generated an administrative subpoena which was served on Hertz. (Hr'g Tr. 143; Jun. 12, 2013). Hertz disclosed that an individual named David Delly had rented the black Mazda. (Hr'g Tr. 144; Jun. 12, 2013). Billy Stites, another DEA Task Force Officer, as well as a Bureau of Indian Affairs Special Agent, researched David Delly and discovered an open investigation by the Department of Homeland Security regarding the seizure

[995 F.Supp.2d 461]

of currency at the Asheville airport. (Hr'g Tr. 144; Jun. 12, 2013). TFO Stites learned that in February of 2012, the Transportation Security Administration discovered over $30,000.00 in cash concealed in Delly's luggage. (Hr'g Tr. 144, 147; Jun. 12, 2013).

Also, on September 18, 2012, an individual called the CIPD headquarters shortly after Sgt. Martin drove past Griffin's home. CIPD dispatch fielded the call, provided Martin with the caller's phone number, and requested he return the individual's call. (Hr'g Tr. 18; Jun. 12, 2013). When Martin called the phone number provided by dispatch, a woman who identified herself as “Justina” answered the phone. (Hr'g Tr. 8–9, 19; Jun. 12, 2013). Sergeant Martin recognized the individual's voice as Justina Rattler. Martin knew Rattler based on his personal dealings with her in the past concerning driving violations and calls stemming from domestic issues. (Hr.'g Tr. 20–22; Jun. 12, 2013). Martin, however, had never previously dealt with Rattler regarding any drug issues. (Hr.'g Tr. 22; Jun. 12, 2013).

Ms. Rattler began the conversation by asking Martin what the police were doing at Griffin's residence. (Hr'g Tr. 9, 19, 23; Jun. 12, 2013). She then informed Martin that a black female known as “Baby D” was the driver of the black vehicle parked at the Griffin residence. (Hr'g Tr. 9, 19; Jun. 12, 2013). Martin asked Rattler for Baby D's true name but Rattler did not know her name.3 (Hr'g Tr. 19; Jun. 12, 2013). Rattler told Martin that Baby D sold “roxies” 4 to Griffin, and that she (Rattler) had personally bought roxies from Baby D on one occasion earlier in the year. (Hr'g Tr. 10–12, 19, 23; Jun. 12, 2013). Rattler did not disclose to Martin whether she (Rattler) was selling roxies, only that she previously bought roxies from Baby D in 2012. (Hr'g Tr. 12; Jun. 12, 2013). Finally, Rattler informed Martin that Baby D was staying at a motel or cabin ten minutes from Griffin's house and that Baby D had pills and approximately $10,000 in cash located there. (Hr'g Tr. 12, 19–20; Jun. 12, 2013). Rattler did not know the address where Baby D was staying. (Hr'g Tr. 25; Jun. 12, 2013).

Sergeant Martin then relayed to Detective Shiver the information Rattler had given him. (Hr'g Tr. 27; Jun. 12, 2013; Hr'g Tr. 219–21; Jun. 20, 2013). Shiver in turn asked his fellow officers to look out for the black Mazda with New York tags while driving about. (Hr'g Tr. 221–22; Jun. 20, 2013). The following day, various law enforcement officers made a point of looking for the car. (Hr'g Tr. 221–22; Jun. 20, 2013). Shiver was looking in the Bryson City area; Swain County Det. William Reed was checking Highway 74 coming from Sylva; Swain County Det. Roger Neadau was checking around the Reservation; and CIPD Det. Jeff Smith actually spotted the black Mazda parked at the Maple Ridge Apartments as he was driving from Swain County into Cherokee. (Hr'g Tr. 221–2, Jun. 20, 2013; Hr'g Tr. 32, 53, Jun. 12, 2013). Smith drove into the parking lot for the apartment complex and wrote down the tag number. He then passed the vehicle information on to TFO Stites. (Hr'g Tr. 33, 55–56; Jun. 12, 2013). Detective Smith and other CIPD officers then set up surveillance on the black Mazda. (Hr'g Tr. 33, 56; Jun. 12, 2013).

[995 F.Supp.2d 462]

While he was watching the black Mazda, Smith saw a black female get into the vehicle and leave the apartment. (Hr'g Tr. 34, 59; Jun. 12, 2013). Smith contacted CIPD Patrol Officer David Velez to let him know that the suspect vehicle had left the apartment. (Hr'g Tr. 34, 58, 99–100, 169, 170; Jun. 12, 2013). Smith told Velez to try and find reasonable suspicion to pull the black Mazda over and identify the driver. (Hr'g Tr. 58–59, 100; Jun. 12, 2013).

Officer Velez, accompanied in his patrol car by Lt. Glen Welch, located the black Mazda on Highway 19 and proceeded to drive his vehicle alongside the Mazda. (Hr'g Tr. 170–71; Jun. 12, 2013). At that point, Welch told Velez that the driver of the black Mazda was not wearing her seat belt. (Hr'g Tr. 171, 212, 215; Jun. 12, 2013). Velez then dropped back behind the black Mazda and activated his blue lights. (Hr'g Tr. 171; Jun. 12, 2013). Once the Mazda pulled over, Velez approached the vehicle and informed the driver that he was pulling her over because she was not wearing her seatbelt. (Hr'g Tr. 171–2; Jun. 12, 2013). The driver, however, protested and stated that she was in fact wearing her seatbelt. (Hr'g Tr. 172; Jun. 12, 2013). Officer Velez asked the driver for her license and had dispatch run the driver's license and license plate number. (Hr'g...

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13 practice notes
  • United States v. Braddy, 19-12823
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • August 31, 2021
    ...dog's ambiguous behavior." See United States v. Heir , 107 F. Supp. 2d 1088, 1097 (D. Neb. 2000) ; see also United States v. Wilson , 995 F. Supp. 2d 455, 475 (W.D.N.C. 2014) ("A court cannot accept a handler's subjective determination that a dog has made some otherwise undetectable alert, ......
  • Hyatt v. Miller, CIVIL CASE NO. 1:19-cv-00250-MR-WCM
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Western District of North Carolina
    • February 12, 2021
    ...Wilson, where the Court granted a motion to suppress after finding that a canine handler incorrectly believed that his canine alerted. 995 F. Supp. 2d 455, 473 (W.D.N.C. 2014) (Reidinger J.). In Wilson, the question of the dog's alert was before the Court on a motion to suppress where the C......
  • United States v. Fuchs, No. 18-cr-20400-MSN-dkv
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Tennessee
    • September 30, 2019
    ..."perform something less than an alert when encountering certain stimuli. This is sometimes referred to as 'casting.'" U.S. v. Wilson, 995 F. Supp. 2d 455, 474 (W.D.N.C. 2014). Officer Nabors' testimony here describes both "casting" and an "alert" response from Kilo.3 Sitting is a common ale......
  • United States v. Diaz, No. 2:16-cr-00055-DCN
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • April 6, 2018
    ...admits that "you can't get a clear—a clear visual of that on this footage." Tr. 96:1-25. The court in United States v. Wilson, 995 F. Supp. 2d 455 (W.D.N.C. 2014) confronted a similar set of facts. In Wilson, the drug dog's trained indication was to "sit and stare" when it detected narcotic......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
13 cases
  • United States v. Braddy, 19-12823
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • August 31, 2021
    ...dog's ambiguous behavior." See United States v. Heir , 107 F. Supp. 2d 1088, 1097 (D. Neb. 2000) ; see also United States v. Wilson , 995 F. Supp. 2d 455, 475 (W.D.N.C. 2014) ("A court cannot accept a handler's subjective determination that a dog has made some otherwise undetectable alert, ......
  • Hyatt v. Miller, CIVIL CASE NO. 1:19-cv-00250-MR-WCM
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Western District of North Carolina
    • February 12, 2021
    ...Wilson, where the Court granted a motion to suppress after finding that a canine handler incorrectly believed that his canine alerted. 995 F. Supp. 2d 455, 473 (W.D.N.C. 2014) (Reidinger J.). In Wilson, the question of the dog's alert was before the Court on a motion to suppress where the C......
  • United States v. Fuchs, No. 18-cr-20400-MSN-dkv
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Tennessee
    • September 30, 2019
    ..."perform something less than an alert when encountering certain stimuli. This is sometimes referred to as 'casting.'" U.S. v. Wilson, 995 F. Supp. 2d 455, 474 (W.D.N.C. 2014). Officer Nabors' testimony here describes both "casting" and an "alert" response from Kilo.3 Sitting is a common ale......
  • United States v. Diaz, No. 2:16-cr-00055-DCN
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • April 6, 2018
    ...admits that "you can't get a clear—a clear visual of that on this footage." Tr. 96:1-25. The court in United States v. Wilson, 995 F. Supp. 2d 455 (W.D.N.C. 2014) confronted a similar set of facts. In Wilson, the drug dog's trained indication was to "sit and stare" when it detected narcotic......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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