United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Jeffrey S. Paulsen, United States Attorney's Office,
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55415, for United States of America
Shannon R. Elkins, Office of the Federal Defender,
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55415, for Chris Maurice Welch
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
BOWBEER, United States Magistrate Judge.
case came before the undersigned United States Magistrate
Judge for a pretrial motions hearing on November 15, 2017.
The case has been referred for resolution of pretrial matters
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and District of Minnesota
Local Rule 72.1. In this Report and Recommendation, the Court
will address Defendant Chris Maurice Welch's Pretrial
Motion to Suppress Search and Seizure [Doc. No. 22].
Defendant's nondispositive motions were addressed in a
separate Order [Doc. No. 30]. For the reasons set forth
below, the Court recommends that Defendant's motion to
suppress be denied.
September 27, 2017, Chris Maurice Welch was charged by
Indictment with Felon in Possession of a Firearm - Armed
Career Criminal, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§
922(g)(1) and 924(e)(1). (Indictment [Doc. No. 1].) Defendant
filed pretrial motions, including the motion to suppress, on
October 25, 2017. He originally sought to suppress all
evidence seized from the search of 3xxx Aldrich Avenue North,
Minneapolis, Minnesota, on March 27, 2017, on the following
grounds: (1) as an overnight guest, he had a reasonable
expectation of privacy in the home; (2) the search warrant
lacked probable cause; and (3) the police did not conduct a
controlled buy or otherwise corroborate information obtained
from a confidential informant that Defendant was selling
marijuana. (Def. Mot. Suppress at 1-2 [Doc. No. 22].)
Defendant also moved to suppress physical and forensic
evidence obtained from a buccal swab. (Id.) At the
pretrial motion hearing, Defendant withdrew the portion of
his motion seeking to suppress evidence seized from the
Aldrich Avenue home and told the Court he was seeking to
suppress only the seizure of his DNA from the buccal swab.
(Mot. Hr'g Tr. 4:4-15 [Doc. No. 32].)
Government submitted two exhibits into evidence at the
hearing: a packet of photographs taken inside the Aldrich
Avenue home (Gov't Ex. 1) and a recorded statement
(Gov't Ex. 2). Defendant submitted a photograph as
evidence (Def. Ex. 1). Minneapolis Police Officer Jeffrey
Werner testified for the Government.
requesting and receiving an extension of time to file his
post-hearing memorandum, Defendant filed a memorandum in
support of his motion to suppress on December 13, 2017 [Doc.
No. 37]. The memorandum confirms that Defendant is seeking to
suppress only the DNA evidence seized on March 27, 2017. He
argues the DNA evidence was seized without his permission or
lawful authority, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The
Government filed its post-hearing memorandum on December 18,
2017 [Doc. No. 38], and the Court took the motion to suppress
under advisement on that date.
Werner obtained information from a confidential informant
(CI) that Defendant was storing drugs and weapons at, and
selling drugs from, 3xxx Aldrich Avenue North. (Mot. Hr'g
Tr. 7: 21-25, 8:1-3.) The CI had personally seen Defendant
with drugs and weapons inside the residence within the past
seventy-two hours. (Id. 8:4- 6.) The CI described
the person as having a medium build and a medium afro, and
identified him as Chris Welch. (Id. 8:10-14; Def.
Ex. A at 2.) Officer Werner entered the name on the
Minnesota Department of Motor Vehicles website and located an
individual who matched the description given by the CI. (Mot.
Hr'g Tr. 8:19-21.) He showed a photograph of Defendant to
the CI, who confirmed the person in the photograph as the
person whom he knew to be storing drugs and guns at 3xxx
Aldrich Avenue North. (Id. 8:21-24.)
Werner further corroborated the information from the CI by
conducting surveillance of 3xxx Aldrich Avenue North.
(Id. 9:2.) He observed heavy foot traffic and
short-term vehicle traffic that, in his experience, signified
narcotics activity. (Id. 9:3-7.) A fellow officer,
Officer Schroeder, also conducted surveillance at ¶ 3xxx
Aldrich Avenue North and observed Defendant and another
person sitting inside a vehicle parked in the driveway of
3xxx Aldrich Avenue North. (Id. 9:11-25, 10:1.)
further investigation, Officer Werner learned that Defendant
had been convicted of felony first-degree aggravated robbery
in 2002 and felony third-degree narcotics in 2014. (Def. Ex.
A at 2.) Officer Werner therefore knew that Defendant was
prohibited from possessing a firearm. (Id.)
Werner obtained a search warrant for 3xxx Aldrich Avenue
North, which was executed on March 27, 2017. (Id.
10:2-8.) Defendant was inside the home when the warrant was
executed. (Id. 10:17-19.) Two other males, a female,
and two children were also inside the home. (Id.
10:13:15.) Officers entering the home found Defendant and the
other two men in a bedroom, along with three cellphones that
had been broken in half and damaged. (Id. 11:25,
12:1-6.) Officer Werner believed the phones had been broken
and damaged to prevent law enforcement from retrieving text
messages, data, pictures, and other information that could
link the three men to criminal activity. (Id.
officers executing the search warrant discovered four
firearms in a kitchen closet, a large amount of synthetic
marijuana, some of which was packaged for sale, and digital
scales. (Id. 12:17-22; Gov't Ex. 2.) The guns
were in plain view, and the baggies of marijuana and digital
scales were in a kitchen cabinet. (Mot. Hr'g Tr.
14:20-21, 14:24-25, 15:1-2.) Defendant was arrested for
probable cause-weapons and probable ...