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United States v. Carraway

June 1, 2009

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMELLE CARRAWAY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael P. McCUSKEY Chief U.S. District Judge

OPINION

On February 26, 2008, Defendant, Jamelle Carraway, was charged by Indictment (#12) with one count of knowingly possessing 50 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing cocaine base (crack), a Schedule II controlled substance, with intent to distribute in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A). On October 28, 2008, Defendant filed a Motion to Suppress (#26). The government filed its Response to the Motion to Suppress (#39) on December 22, 2008. An evidentiary hearing for the Motion to Suppress (#26) was held on January 7, 2009, the same day as Defendant's bench trial. Following the bench trial, the transcript was filed in this case on March 3, 2009. The government's Position brief (#52) was filed on April 13, 2009. Defendant filed his Reply to the Government's Response to the Motion to Suppress (#53) and his Trial Brief (#54) on May 1, 2009. The government filed its Response to Defendant's Trial Brief (#55) on May 15, 2009. For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion to Suppress (#26) is DENIED and Defendant is found GUILTY of the offense of possession with intent to distribute as charged in the Indictment.

BACKGROUND

Procedural History

Defendant and his co-defendant, Lisa Owens, were charged via criminal complaint on January 31, 2008. On February 26, 2008, a superseding Indictment (#12) was filed. In the Indictment, Defendant and Owens were each charged with one count of knowingly possessing 50 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing cocaine base (crack), a Schedule II controlled substance, with intent to distribute in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A). Owens was also charged with knowingly managing and controlling a house, as lessee and occupant, and knowingly and intentionally making said house available for use for the purpose of unlawfully storing and distributing crack in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 856(a)(2). On July 22, 2008, Owens plead guilty to the second count of the Indictment concerning controlling a house as lessee and making it available for the use and purpose of storing and distributing crack. She was sentenced to 28 months in the Bureau of Prisons on February 13, 2009. The first count, concerning possession of 50 grams or more of crack with intent to distribute, was dismissed by the government at sentencing. Defendant decided to waive his right to a jury trial and instead opted to proceed in a bench trial, which was scheduled for January 7, 2009.

On October 28, 2008, Defendant filed three motions to suppress. However, on December 19, 2008, the court found the second and third motions to suppress to be moot, as the warrants challenged in those two motions did not result in the seizure of any evidence. The government filed its Response to the Motion to Suppress (#39) on December 22, 2008. The court set the first Motion to Suppress (#26) for an evidentiary hearing to be held with the bench trial on January 7, 2009. Following the bench trial, the official transcript of the trial and evidentiary hearing was filed on March 3, 2009. The government's Position brief (#52) was filed on April 13, 2009. Defendant filed his Reply to the Government's Response to the Motion to Suppress (#53) and his Trial Brief (#54) on May 1, 2009. The government filed its Response to Defendant's Trial Brief (#55) on May 15, 2009.

Evidentiary Hearing on the Motion to Suppress (#12) and Bench Trial The first witness called to the stand was Decatur police Detective Chad Ramey. On January 29, 2008, Ramey obtained a search warrant for 2650 South Franklin in the city of Decatur, Illinois. Ramey completed a search warrant form, as well as a complaint for a search warrant with an accompanying affidavit. The court then admitted into evidence government's Exhibit 18A (the search warrant complaint) and 18B (the search warrant itself). The affidavit contained details about the purchase of crack from Defendant. Ramey then read from paragraph 14 of the search warrant complaint, which stated:

"Ramey states that between the dates of January 25th 2007 and January 29th 2007 he met again with Doe and surveillance was established of the apartment building as well as 2650 S. Franklin and none of the vehicles were present. Doe made a telephone call to Jamelle Carraway and ordered a quantity of cocaine. Carraway agreed to sell the cocaine to Doe but told Doe he had to go and obtain the cocaine first. Doe and his vehicle were searched and no contraband was located.

Doe was issued US currency and followed directly to the meeting location and was under constant surveillance."

Ramey then stated in court that the dates of January 25, 2007, and January 29, 2007, were an incorrect typo and that the correct year should have been 2008. Ramey had inadvertently typed 2007 instead of 2008 because the first part of the affidavit dealt with purchases from 2007. The rest of the facts contained in the affidavit were, to the best of Ramey's knowledge, correct. He believed he had probable cause to take the affidavit and warrant before a judge. On January 29, 2008, Ramey went before state Judge Thomas Little to obtain a warrant. Ramey presented Judge Little with the documents for his review only after they had been previously reviewed by Macon County First Assistant State's Attorney Jay Scott. Scott indicated to Ramey that he believed the warrant and complaint form itself were in correct form and supported probable cause. Ramey then took the documents to Judge Little. Judge Little reviewed the documents for approximately 10 minutes and, without asking any questions, signed the documents in Ramey's presence. Based upon that warrant, a search was executed at around 6:00 p.m. on January 29, 2008, at 2650 South Franklin.

Defendant had been under surveillance that day since about 4:00 p.m. Ramey was part of a team of six to seven officers who had Defendant under surveillance and were following him, staying in constant radio contact with each other and relaying information. They observed Defendant at a bus depot downtown with his girlfriend, Lisa Owens, who worked at the depot. The two of them got in a car together and left the depot headed to the 2650 South Franklin address. Defendant and Owens arrived at the address, and the police drove their van to a side street. Ramey joined the "Emergency Response Team" (ERT), a SWAT type team, to prepare to execute the warrant. Defendant and Owens arrived and entered the residence at approximately 6:00 p.m., and the warrant was executed soon thereafter.

The ERT team made entry through the back door of the house. Ramey's role in searching the house was to process it. If evidence was located, he was notified, would go to the location, photograph it, and would later take custody of it. Ramey entered through the back door of the residence. Defendant was located in the bathroom area of the house and Owens was located in the bedroom, which were both north of the kitchen. On the kitchen counter was located a Kroger bag and a couple of steaks. In a kitchen cabinet was located a black plastic bag. The cabinet had an open glass door above the kitchen counter. Ramey opened the glass door, which he could not see through, and found the black plastic bag inside. The following Exhibit 7 items were all photographs. The government introduced government Exhibit 7B, the Kroger's bag photo. Exhibit 7C were photos of the items found within the brown Kroger style bag, which Ramey, based on his training and experience, believed to be crack. Exhibit 7D was then introduced, which was the photo of the black plastic bag found in the cabinet. Exhibit 7E was then introduced, and Ramey identified 7E, which was found inside the plastic bag, as the photo of packages of crack. The government then introduced Exhibit 7F, which was a photo of the gray digital scale recovered from the cabinet below the kitchen counter. Also recovered were a black plastic bag from Radio Shack and a pair of scissors. The scale was functional and working. The crack that was seized by Ramey from the kitchen and later from Defendant's pocket was moist. The amount of crack recovered in the kitchen was for distribution, not personal use, in Ramey's professional opinion. The actual crack rocks were as follows: 1A-crack from Kroger bag on counter; 1B- crack from black bag in cabinet; 1C- crack from small plastic bag behind black bag; and 1D- crack taken from Defendant's pocket.

In the northwest bedroom about $9,200 in U.S. currency was located inside a dresser drawer. In that bedroom was a closet with men's clothing that was hanging. The money was in bundles. Currency being kept in this way was typical in crack distribution operations. The currency was in bundles of approximately $1,000. Ramey personally searched Defendant in the home. Inside Defendant's pocket Ramey located a plastic bag that appeared to contain crack. Ramey also found a set of keys for the residence on Defendant. Ramey also found a gun that was located in a safe in the northwest bedroom. Defendant was arrested and taken into custody.

Later that evening Ramey had a chance to interview Defendant at the police station. Defendant denied knowing anything about the crack found in the house. Defendant also, at first, denied having any clothing at the residence, but then said Owens had purchased some clothing for him and had it at the house.

After the crack was seized, Ramey sent it for analysis at the Illinois State Police Crime Lab, from whom he later received a forensic report.

Ramey also testified that documents were located at the house indicating Defendant was a resident there. Photographs of Defendant and a Leon Turner were discovered. Documents were found that had Defendant's name on it.

Ramey was then cross examined. No fingerprints were recovered from the digital scale. Also, while the northwest bedroom had men's clothing, ...


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