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United States v. Butler

May 9, 2006

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LARRY BUTLER, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jeanne E. Scott U.S. District Judge

OPINION

This matter comes before the Court on the Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence Seized Pursuant to a Warrant (d/e 6) (Motion). For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is DENIED. The Defendant's request for a hearing is also DENIED.

STATEMENT OF FACTS On February 10, 2004, Pike County, Illinois, Sheriff Paul Petty filed a verified Complaint for Search Warrant (Complaint) to search Defendant Larry Butler's residence located in rural Brown County, Illinois. Motion, Exhibit A, Complaint. The Complaint asked for a warrant to search:

The property and persons of Larry Butler and his residence described as brown single story home with unattached garage. That the residence sits in the rural area of Brown County just south west of Mt. Sterling. That the residence can be driven to by taking the oil and chipped road directly west of the Mt. Sterling Illinois Department of Corrections Prison sight . . . .

Id. at 1. The Complaint then set forth detailed directions to Butler's residence and included a map with the route highlighted. The Complaint sought authority to seize a, ".22 caliber single shot rifle, .22 caliber shells and bullets and proof of residency." Id.

The Complaint then contained Petty's affidavit in support of the requested warrant. Petty stated that on January 1, 2004, Frank Dehart of Griggsville, Illinois, reported the theft of a .22 caliber single shot rifle. Also, on January 1, 2004, Trent Conkright of Griggsville reported the theft of a CD player and CB radio. On February 10, 2004, a juvenile admitted that he participated in these thefts with Josh Taylor of New Salem, Illinois. The juvenile said that Taylor took the rifle. On February 10, 2004, Taylor admitted to the theft of the CD player and CB radio, but he claimed that the juvenile took the rifle.

Petty then stated:

9. That within the past 3 days, I spoke to a confidential source who indicated that the .22 caliber rifle stolen from Dehart was at Larry Butler's residence in rural Mt. Sterling.

That he knows Butler use to live in Perry, IL, Pike County and he knows the rifle was left at Butler's former residence site and was removed by Butler to his residence. That the c/s has observed the firearm within the confines of Butlers [sic] residence. The c/s indicated that the residents at Butler's home are extremely violent and he knows there are a large amount of weapons on the property.

10. That this officer along with Inspector Frazier of the West Central Illinois Drug Task Force have received information in the past year that methamphetamine has been cooked at the residence of Larry Butler and that while cooking said drug, individuals have been assigned as look outs and are armed with firearms.

11. That the c/s providing information in this investigation has proven himself credible in that he has provided other information involving felony activity which has been validated by law enforcement reports, previous investigations, and other confidential information we have received. That his information has lead [sic] to the conclusion of active investigations.

Complaint at 2. The Complaint was signed under oath and dated February 10, 2004.

Based on the Complaint, Judge Diane Lagoski issued a warrant on February 10, 2004 (Warrant), to search "[t]he property and persons of Larry Butler and his residence described as a brown single story home with unattached garage." Motion, Exhibit B, Search Warrant. The Search Warrant also then set forth the detailed directions to Butler's residence contained in the Complaint. The Warrant directed the officers to seize a ".22 caliber single shot rifle, .22 caliber shells and bullets, and proof of residency." Id. The Warrant stated that these items "have been used in the commission of, or which constitute evidence of the offense of: Burglary, Possession of Stolen Property, and Theft." Id.

Law-enforcement officials executed the Warrant on February 10, 2004. During the search of Butler's home, law enforcement officers seized 23 firearms including eight .22 caliber rifles. Law enforcement officials also opened drawers that were too small to hold rifles, but large enough to hold ammunition and proof of residency. Officers found lithium batteries, pseudoephedrine pills, a ziplock bag of crushed powder, and Wal-Mart receipts for tubing and Sudafed. ...


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