United States District Court, D. Minnesota
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Wilhelmina M. Wright United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on the January 19, 2018 Report and
Recommendation (R&R) of United States Magistrate Judge
Katherine M. Menendez. (Dkt. 46.) The R&R recommends
denying Defendant Jarmell Raymond Mayweather's motion to
suppress evidence obtained from Mayweather's residence
and vehicle pursuant to separate search warrants. Mayweather
filed timely objections to the R&R, and the government
responded. For the reasons that follow, the Court overrules
Mayweather's objections and adopts the R&R.
early 2016, a confidential reliable informant (CRI) advised
Hennepin County law enforcement officers that Mayweather used
his vehicle to sell “large quantities of
cocaine.” Law enforcement officers retrieved the
registration records for the vehicle, confirmed the vehicle
was registered to Mayweather, and thereafter observed
Mayweather “come and go from [the registered] address
freely and at all times.” The CRI subsequently
contacted Mayweather at the direction of law enforcement
officers and requested to purchase cocaine. Law enforcement
officers observed Mayweather meet with the CRI at a
predetermined location, complete the drug transaction, and
immediately return to the address reflected in
Mayweather's vehicle registration. Based primarily on
this information, law enforcement officers obtained search
warrants for Mayweather's residence and vehicle. During
the search of these locations, law enforcement officers
seized cocaine and other drug paraphernalia.
is charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine,
a violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section
841(a)(1). He moves to suppress the evidence obtained from
his residence and vehicle, arguing that probable cause does
not support the search warrants for either location. The
R&R recommends denying Mayweather's motion because
probable cause supports both warrants. Alternatively, the
R&R concludes that the good-faith exception excuses the
lack of probable cause.
objects to the recommendation to deny his motion to suppress
on two grounds. First, he argues, probable cause does not
support either search warrant and, second, the R&R
erroneously concludes that the good-faith exception applies
to the circumstances in which these searches were conducted.
The Court reviews Mayweather's objections de novo.
See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); accord
Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees
the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
U.S. Const. amend. IV. The Fourth Amendment requires that
“no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause,
supported by Oath or affirmation.” Id.;
see also United States v. Fiorito, 640 F.3d 338, 345
(8th Cir. 2011) (recognizing that a search warrant may issue
on a showing of probable cause). Whether probable cause
exists is a “common-sense decision” that weighs
the totality of the circumstances that are detailed in a
warrant application. Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S.
213, 238 (1983). Probable cause does not exist absent a nexus
between the targeted contraband and the location to be
searched. United States v. Tellez, 217 F.3d 547, 549
(8th Cir. 2000). Although suppression of evidence is the
traditional sanction for a violation of the Fourth Amendment,
the exclusionary rule does not apply when an officer relies
in good faith on a search warrant. See United States v.
Leon, 468 U.S. 897, 920 (1984) (establishing the
good-faith exception). The good-faith inquiry is an objective
one that asks whether a reasonably trained officer would have
known that the search was illegal despite a judge issuing the
search warrant. United States v. Proell, 485 F.3d
427, 430 (8th Cir. 2007).
contends that suppression is required because the search
warrants at issue here do not establish a nexus between his
alleged drug dealing and his residence or vehicle. The
absence of probable cause is so apparent, according to
Mayweather, that no reasonable officer, acting in good faith,
would have relied on the warrants. But Mayweather's
argument is unavailing even if an insufficient nexus supports
the warrants. See Id. (recognizing that an analysis
of the good-faith exception may precede a determination of
probable cause when considering a motion to suppress
evidence). A CRI advised law enforcement officers that a
person was selling large quantities of cocaine from a
vehicle, the CRI identified Mayweather as the person selling
cocaine, the identified vehicle was registered to
Mayweather's residence, law enforcement officers observed
Mayweather using the vehicle in a manner consistent with the
distribution of narcotics, and Mayweather returned to his
residence after completing a controlled purchase with the
CRI. A magistrate judge reviewed these circumstances and
determined that there was probable cause to issue a search
warrant for Mayweather's residence and for his vehicle.
The evidence supporting the search warrants is not “so
lacking in indicia of probable cause as to render official
belief in its existence entirely
unreasonable.” Leon, 468 U.S. at 923
(emphasis added) (internal quotation marks omitted); see
also United States v. Houston, 665 F.3d 991, 996 (8th
Cir. 2012) (“After all, it is the magistrate's
responsibility to determine whether the officer's
allegations establish probable cause and, if so, to issue a
warrant comporting in form with the requirements of the
Fourth Amendment.” (internal quotation marks omitted)).
argues that United States v. Herron, 215 F.3d 812
(8th Cir. 2000), supports his argument that suppression is
required. In Herron, the United States Court of
Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed an application of the
good-faith exception because the affidavits supporting the
warrants to search Herron and his residence originally were
prepared to investigate a different subject. 215 F.3d at 814.
Because the affidavits “simply do not say very much
about Mr. Herron or his residence, ” the Eighth Circuit
determined that the affidavits applied to Herron “as an
afterthought.” Id. at 814-15. The present
circumstances are distinguishable. Mayweather was the target
of this investigation from its inception, and the warrant
applications detailed Mayweather's alleged criminal
conduct. The CRI positively identified Mayweather as a drug
dealer, and law-enforcement officers applied for the search
warrants after corroborating the information provided by the
CRI. Herron is, therefore, inapposite.
Mayweather's objections are overruled in light of the
application of the good-faith exception.
on the foregoing analysis, the R&R, and all the files,
records and proceedings ...