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United States v. Evans

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

May 1, 2015

United States of America, Plaintiff,
Malcolm Roy Evans, Defendant.

Thomas M. Hollenhorst Esq., Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney's Office, Minneapolis, MN, for Plaintiff.

James S. Becker, Esq., Office of the Federal Defender, Minneapolis, MN, for Defendant.


ANN D. MONTGOMERY, District Judge.


This matter is before the undersigned United States District Judge for a ruling on Malcolm Roy Evans's Objections [Docket No. 39] to Magistrate Judge Leo L. Brisbois's March 25, 2015 Report and Recommendation [Docket No. 34] ("R&R"). In the R&R, Judge Brisbois recommends denial of Evans's Pretrial Motion to Suppress Fruits of Unlawful Arrest and Search and Seizure[1] [Docket No. 25]. After a thorough de novo review of the record and for the reasons stated below, Evans's Objections are overruled and Judge Brisbois's R&R is adopted.


At approximately 11:50 a.m. on December 29, 2014, a black male armed with a sawedoff shotgun robbed a bank located inside a Hornbacher's grocery store in Moorhead, Minnesota. The robber wore an orange stocking cap, a dark waist length coat, as well as a dark scarf which covered part of his face. The robber exited to the store's parking lot, where he attempted a carjacking by entering an occupied van. The van's occupants, however, fled from the vehicle.

Later that same day, a carjacking occurred in the parking lot of a liquor store in Moorhead. The victim, Raymond Blaha, reported that a black male with a sawed-off shotgun entered his truck and directed him to drive to the West Acres shopping mall in Fargo, North Dakota. According to Blaha, the carjacker wore a dark colored coat and carried a blue backpack. During the drive to West Acres, the carjacker told Blaha that he had previously attempted to carjack another vehicle, but the driver of the car had escaped. After arriving at the West Acres Mall, the carjacker forced Blaha from the vehicle and drove away.

Upon reviewing video surveillance of the bank robbery, investigating law enforcement officers believed the robber may have arrived at Hornbacher's via the city bus system. Moorhead Police Department Detective Voxland identified a male passenger from bus surveillance photos that he believed was consistent with the description of the bank robber. That male boarded a bus at the New Life Center in Fargo on the morning of the robbery at approximately 9:30 a.m., wearing a brown jacket, blue jeans, and a dark colored hat with light colored stripes. He also carried a black backpack. At 11:20 a.m., that same person departed the bus at the intersection of 11th Street and 2nd Avenue, a short distance from Hornbacher's. At 12:34 p.m., video surveillance footage showed the individual boarding a bus at the West Acres Mall in Fargo. At this point, the individual carried a black backpack and wore a red, buttondown long sleeve shirt.

At 12:58 p.m., the man exited the bus at 13th Avenue and 34th Street South in Fargo. Bus surveillance shows him walking north from the bus stop. A Motel 6 is located one block north of this bus stop at 1202 36th Street South. At 2:12 p.m., surveillance captured the individual boarding a bus at the 13th Avenue and 34th Street South intersection. At this time, the individual was no longer carrying the backpack. The man later exited a bus at approximately 3:26 p.m. at the New Life Center in Fargo.

On December 30, 2014, Moorhead Police Department Detective Nelson interviewed two individuals, D.A.S. and R.E.L. Detective Nelson showed both individuals a picture of the suspect taken from the bus system video surveillance. D.A.S. reported that he knew the man in the photograph as "Malcolm, " and that Malcolm often stayed at the New Life Center. D.A.S. also stated that he gave Malcolm the hat he was wearing in the surveillance photo and that Malcolm possessed a sawed-off shotgun. R.E.L. identified the suspect in the surveillance photograph as Malcolm Evans and reported that Evans had sawed off the barrel of a "rifle" in her apartment at some point during the prior week. Detective Nelson also interviewed employees of the New Life Center. The employees also identified the man in the bus surveillance photograph as Malcolm Evans.

During the course of the investigation, detectives determined that Evans had rented rooms 130 and 132 of the Motel 6 at 1202 36th Street South. On the afternoon of December 30, 2014, law enforcement commenced surveillance of the hotel rooms. Officers approached a white male after he exited one of the rooms, and the individual confirmed that Evans was inside. Law enforcement further learned that rooms 130 and 132 were connected by an open pass-through door.

That same day, after Evans departed the hotel, he was arrested and interviewed at the Fargo Police Department. During the interview, Fargo Detective Joshua Loos drafted the search warrant application for rooms 130 and 132. On the evening of December 30, 2014, a state magistrate judge signed the warrant, concluding there was probable cause to believe that contraband or evidence of a crime would be found in the hotel rooms.

Evans filed a suppression motion on March 9, 2015, maintaining that a "four corners" review of the warrant and supporting affidavit reveals a lack of sufficient probable cause to support the search of the Motel 6 rooms. In the R&R, Judge Brisbois recommends denial of the motion, finding that the state magistrate judge had a substantial basis upon which to conclude that probable cause existed for a ...

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