United States District Court, D. Minnesota
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
DONOVAN W. FRANK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court upon Defendant James
Flaherty's (“Defendant”) objections (Doc. No.
196) to Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer's May 22, 2019
Report and Recommendation (Doc. No. 189) insofar as it
recommends that Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence
Obtained as a Result of Search and Seizure be denied.
Court has conducted a de novo review of the record,
including a review of the arguments and submissions of
counsel, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local
Rule 72.2(b). The factual background for the above-entitled
matter is clearly and precisely set forth in the Report and
Recommendation and is incorporated by reference for purposes
of Defendant's objections. In the Report and
Recommendation, the Magistrate Judge found that: (1) the
warrant to search Defendant's residence was valid because
it was properly supported by probable cause; and (2) the
search of the white truck parked in Defendant's driveway
was permissible because it was within the residence's
Magistrate Judge explained that the affidavit for the search
warrant contained enough information to establish a nexus
among the criminal behavior under investigation, the evidence
to be seized, and the places to be searched. She also
affirmed the credibility and reliability of the cooperating
witness, specifically citing the steps law enforcement took
to corroborate the witness' statements. Finding the
search warrant valid, Magistrate Judge Bowbeer relied on
United States v. Coleman, 909 F.3d 925 (8th Cir.
2018) to conclude that the search of the white truck was
permissible because even though it wasn't specifically
identified in the warrant as a location to be searched, it
was parked within the residence's curtilage.
argues that the Magistrate Judge erred when she found that
the warrant authorizing the search of his residence was
supported by probable cause, and that she improperly relied
on Coleman to find that the search of the white
truck was permissible. In Coleman, the police gained
independent probable cause to search a vehicle after a drug
dog alerted. Id. at 927. Defendant argues that
because the police in Coleman already had probable
cause to search the vehicle, the court's ruling that it
was also permissible to search any vehicle parked on the
premises' curtilage is nonbinding dicta that the Court
should not follow.
careful review of Defendant's objections and de
novo review of the record, the Court finds no reason to
depart from the Magistrate Judge's finding that the
search warrant was properly supported by probable cause.
Further, whether or not the Magistrate Judge's reliance
on Coleman was proper, the Court finds that there
was sufficient probable cause to search Defendant's white
truck even without a warrant. See United States v.
Vore, 743 F.3d 1175, 1179 (8th Cir. 2014) (“[T]he
‘automobile exception' permits the warrantless
search of a vehicle if the police had probable cause to
believe the vehicle contained contraband or other evidence of
a crime before the search began.”) (internal quotation
marks and citation omitted)).
law enforcement understood that the white truck belonged to
Defendant. (Doc. No. 164 at 154). On the day of the search,
Defendant exhibited behavior which raised concern that he may
remove or destroy evidence. (Id. at 150.) Law
enforcement observed Defendant re-park the white truck in his
driveway so that the front of the truck faced the street.
(Id. at 155.) Around the same time, law enforcement
observed a different vehicle arrive at Defendant's home
and depart with suspicious looking packages which they
subsequently learned contained one pound of methamphetamine,
one pound of cocaine, seven pounds of marijuana, and five
firearms. (Id. at 159.) While officers may not have
specifically seen something get placed in Defendant's
white truck, the Court finds that based on the totality of
the circumstances, there was probable cause to search it
because there was “a fair probability that contraband
or evidence of a crime” would be found inside of it.
United States v. Cortez-Palmino, 438 F.3d 910, 913
(8th Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted). “A warrantless search of an automobile is not
unreasonable if law enforcement officers have probable cause
to believe that the vehicle contains evidence of criminal
activity.” United States v. Daniels, 809 F.3d
447, 448 (8th Cir. 2016).
upon the de novo review of the record and all of the
arguments and submissions of the parties and the Court being
otherwise duly advised in the premises, the Court hereby
enters the following:
Defendant James Flaherty Hill's objections (Doc. No.
) to Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer's May 22, 2019
Report and Recommendation are OVERRULED.
Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer's May 22, 2019 Report and
Recommendation (Doc. No. ) is ADOPTED.
Defendant James Flaherty Hill's Motion to Suppress
Evidence Obtained as a Result of Search and Seizure (Doc. No.
) is DENIED.