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United States v. Neadeau

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

November 6, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
Duane James Neadeau, also known as, D.J. Neadeau Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          LEO I. BRISBOIS, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to a general assignment, made in accordance with the provisions of Title 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Local Rule 72.1, upon Defendant Duane James Neadeau's (“Defendant”) Motion to Suppress Search of the Defendant. [Docket No. 23]. The Court held a motions hearing on September 29, 2017, regarding the parties' pretrial motions.[1] At the motions hearing, the parties requested the opportunity to submit supplemental briefing which was completed on October 23, 2017, and Defendant's Motion to Suppress Search of the Defendant, [Docket No. 23], was then taken under advisement at that time.

         For reasons discussed herein, the Court recommends that Defendant's Motion to Suppress Search of the Defendant, [Docket No. 23], be GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF RELEVANT FACTS

         A. Background

         Defendant is charged with one (1) count of assault with a dangerous weapon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 113(a)(3), 1151, and 1153(a) and one (1) count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 113(a)(6), 1151, and 1153(a).

         B. Relevant Facts[2]

         The record presently before the Court indicates that on July 17, 2016, Red Lake Police Office Josh Wicker (“Office Wicker”) received a call from police dispatch that a bloody man was walking down the road. (September 29, 2017, Motions Hearing, Digital Recording at 11:12- 11:13 a.m.). Upon responding to an area on the West End Road, Officer Wicker observed that T.P.S, the victim in the present case (“Victim”), was bloody with lacerations on his person. (Id.). Officer Wicker approached the Victim, and he contacted emergency services. (Id.). Officer Wicker also contacted Criminal Investigator Paul Smith (“CI Smith”)[3] to inform him of the situation. (Id.). Emergency services transported the Victim to the Red Lake Indian Services Hospital, and Officer Wicker followed them to the hospital. (Id. at 11:13-11:14 a.m.). CI Smith also responded to the hospital to meet with the Victim. (Id. at 11:47-11:49 a.m.).

         Upon arriving at the hospital, Officer Wicker asked the Victim who had stabbed him. (Id. at 11:14-11:15 a.m.). The Victim informed Officer Wicker that he had been stabbed by Defendant. (Id.). The Victim also told Officer Wicker that Defendant lived “two doors down.” (Id.). Officer Wicker asked the Victim for further information, such as where the incident occurred, however, the Victim responded that finding out that information was “your job.” (Id. at 11:22-11:24 a.m.). Officer Wicker testified that the only information he received from the Victim was that Defendant “stabbed me. He lives two doors down.” (Id. at 11:31-11:34 a.m.). The Victim provided officers with no further information at any time. (Id. at 11:24-11:25 a.m.).

         Officer Wicker subsequently learned the exact location of Defendant's residence from other officers. (Id. 11:15-11:16 a.m.). Officer Wicker informed CI Smith that he believed Defendant was a suspect in the stabbing, and CI Smith instructed Officer Wicker, as well as, other officers to go secure Defendant's residence. (Id. at 11:47-11:50 a.m.). Officer Wicker then responded to Defendant's residence on West End Road. (Id. at 11:14-11:16 a.m.).

         At some point after CI Smith arrived at the hospital, he called Task Force Officer Travis Putrah (“TFO Putrah”) to inform him of the situation. (Id. at 10:41-10:46; 11:49-11:50 a.m.). TFO Putrah testified that, after receiving the information from CI Smith, he attempted to contact Assistant United States Attorney Aanstad to begin securing a search warrant, but he was unable to reach her. (Id. at 10:51-10:53 a.m.). He eventually decide to not pursue a search warrant because of what he described at the hearing as “exigent circumstances, ” including the rain. (Id. at 11:18-11:19 a.m.).

         Officer Wicker was the first to arrive at Defendant's residence, and he arrived at approximately 1:01 a.m. (Id. at 11:47-11:50 a.m.). Officer Wicker, CI Smith, and TFO Putrah each provided testimony describing the location and layout of Defendant's residence. On the date of the incident now at issue, TFO Putrah completed a sketch of Defendant's residence with the surrounding layout. (Def. Ex. 1).[4]

         Defendant's residence is located on the North side of West End Road approximately a couple hundred yards from where Officer Wicker discovery the Victim, and it is surrounded by woods rendering it unable to be seen from the road. (September 29, 2017, Motions Hearing, Digital Recording at 11:04-11:05 a.m.; 11:26-11:29 a.m.; 11:34-11:37). The front of the residence faces South, and it does not have a fence or gate enclosing any portion of it. (Id. at 10:51-10:52 a.m.; 11:05-11:06 a.m.; Def.'s Ex. 1). There are entrances on the South and East side of the residence, however, there is no entrance to the residence on the back of the residence. (Def.'s Ex. 1; September 29, 2017, Motions Hearing, Digital Recording at 11:06-11:07 a.m.). When officers arrived at the residence, there were three vehicles parked in front of the residence. It was raining and dark at Defendant's residence when the officers arrived. (Id. at 11:17-11:18 a.m.; 11:53-11:54 a.m.).

         Upon arriving at the residence, Officer Wicker and Officer Graves parked in the driveway in the front of the residence. (Id. at 11:26-11:27 a.m.). Officer Wicker immediately began checking the driveway, front porch area, and front area of the residence for blood. (Id. at 11:27-11:29 a.m.). Officer Wicker then went around the house to proceed to the back yard as he could not see the back yard from the front yard. (Id. at 11:28-11:30 a.m.). Officer Wicker testified the officers could only see where they illuminated the yard with their flashlights as there were no yard lights or other sources of light. (Id. at 11:27-11:29 a.m.). Neither officer knocked on the front door before beginning to search the front or back yard. (Id.).

         Upon searching the back yard, Officer Wicker discovered two pools of blood, a bent knife in the shape of a U, and a trail of blood leading to the woods with a matted down section of grass. (Id. at 11:15-11:16 a.m.). Officer Wicker described the pools of blood as a large amount of blood consistent with the wounds on Victim's body. (Id. at 11:16-11:17 a.m.). All of the items of evidence, including the two pools of blood, the bent knife in the shape of a U, and the trail of blood leading to the woods with a matted down section of grass, were found in the rear of the residence and were not visible from either the front of the residence or the driveway. (Def. Ex. 1; September 29, 2017, Motions Hearing, Digital Recording at 11:00-11:01 a.m.; 11:18-11:19 a.m.; 11:29-11:30 a.m.). Officer Wicker also discovered tire tracks on the East side of the residence. (Id. at 11:15-11:16 a.m.). Officer Wicker also testified that he believed the rain was washing away the pools of blood and washing blood off of the knife. (Id. at 11:17-11:18 a.m.).

         At some point after Officer Wicker began looking around the back yard of Defendant's residence, TFO Putrah called Officer Wicker, and Officer Wicker informed him that rain was washing away blood discovered in the yard. (Id. at 10:46-10:48 a.m.). TFO Putrah then called CI Smith and instructed him to begin securing items of potential evidence. (Id.).

         In an effort to stop the blood from washing away, Officer Wicker covered the discovered knife with a brown paper bag which he testified was “decently effective” at preventing the rain from washing the blood away. (Id.). At some time while Officer Wicker was searching the back yard, another officer informed Officer Wicker that he had seen a person inside the home move one of the curtains. (Id. at 11:38-11:40 a.m.). After discovering the aforementioned evidence in the back yard of Defendant's residence, Officer Wicker and Officer Graves taped off the area where the evidence was located and took pictures of the evidence they had discovered. (Id. at 11:15-11:17 a.m.).

         At approximately 2:06 a.m., and after first searching and securing the back yard of Defendant's residence, Officer Wicker knocked on the front door of Defendant's residence. (Id. at 11:34-11:37). No one responded to Officer Wicker's knock. (Id.). Officer Wicker found the lack of response suspicious, and the officers entered the residence. (Id.). Upon entry into the residence, law enforcement eventually located two people in the basement, and they placed those two people under arrest after an altercation-based on the officer's entry into the home- occurred. (Id. at 11:03-11:04 a.m.; 11:18-11:19 a.m.). One of those individuals was Defendant. (Id.).

         Sometime thereafter, TFO Putrah arrived on the scene, and Officer Wicker began assisting him in collecting evidence. TFO Putrah testified that while taking photos at the scene he believed blood had washed into the large pools of water. (Id. at 11:07-11:08 a.m.). He also noted that all of the items of evidence were located in the back yard of the residence, and he could not see any of the items of evidence from where he initially parked upon entering the property. (Id. at 11:08-11:09 a.m.).

         II. DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS SEARCH OF ...


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