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United States of America v. Robert Jefferson

July 18, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROBERT JEFFERSON, DEFENDANT.



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

E-FILED

Monday, 18 July, 2011 10:37:53 AM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

Defendant, Robert Jefferson, was indicted on January 4, 2011, in a Superseding Indictment (#16), with one count of being a felon in possession of a weapon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and one count of knowingly and intentionally possessing more than 500 grams of a mixture and substance containing cocaine, with the intent to distribute it, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B). On December 10, 2010, Defendant filed this Motion to Suppress (#14) and the government filed its Response (#19) on January 13, 2011. An evidentiary hearing was held on May 9, 2011. Defendant filed his Argument in Support of Motion to Suppress (#25) on May 18, 2011. The government filed its Response (#26) on June 20, 2011. For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion to Suppress (#14) is DENIED.

FACTS

Those who testified at the May 9, 2011 evidentiary hearing were: Drug Enforcement Agency agent Rick Dulles; Decatur police officer David Dailey; Decatur police detective Richard Hughes; and Defendant Robert Jefferson.

From August to October 2010 this court authorized the interception of wire communications over two of Juan Britton's cellular phones. From October 2, 2010, to October 9, 2010, agents monitored calls between Britton and Antonio Colon. The calls indicated that Colon would be traveling to Decatur to meet with Britton to sell drugs. On October 9, 2010, Colon spoke with Defendant as he traveled to Decatur. Agents later observed Colon's vehicle parked in the driveway of Defendant's home. Later that day there was a series of calls between Colon and Britton to arrange their meeting. Agents observed a tan Cadillac Escalade, a vehicle associated with Defendant and registered to his sister, leave Defendant's home. Colon then called Britton to tell him he was on his way to the drug deal. After the deal was completed, the Escalade returned to Defendant's home. Colon then entered his vehicle and drove out of Decatur. Colon was stopped by the Illinois State Police and his vehicle searched. A narcotics dog alerted to the presence of drugs, and $28,955 in U.S. currency was recovered. Phone drops in the hours after the drug deal reveal Britton asking Defendant if Colon successfully left Decatur.

The next day, October 10, 2010, the police executed a search warrant at the Leafland Street address where the drug deal between Britton and Colon had taken place. Bags of powder cocaine were recovered. Later that day Britton and Defendant discussed the raid and search of Britton's apartment. Britton asked Defendant, if Defendant were to speak to Colon, to tell Colon Britton was ok. On October 17, 2010, Defendant called Britton and had a conversation officers interpreted to mean Defendant was in contact with Colon and that Colon had requested Defendant collect money Britton owed to Colon.

On October 26, 2010, agents of the DEA and Decatur Police Department initiated surveillance of Defendant's address at 846 E. Whitmer Street. Agents planned to arrest Defendant for various narcotics offenses based on information gathered during the wire interception and observations made by investigating officers. After observing Defendant driving his vehicle, officers initiated an arrest. Defendant was transported to the Decatur Police Department. During the transportation of Defendant, the officer noticed a strong marijuana smell coming from the interior of the squad car. The officer asked Defendant if he had any marijuana on him. Defendant told the officer he had marijuana in his pants pocket. At this point, Defendant had not been issued Miranda warnings pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). The officer conducted a search incident to arrest and recovered 3 grams of marijuana in a plastic baggie in Defendant's pants pocket.

After Defendant's arrest, Detective Richard Hughes presented a complaint for a search warrant to Circuit Judge Thomas Little for Defendant's address of 846 E. Whitmer St., Decatur, in reference to the marijuana found on Defendant. Hughes's complaint for the search warrant asked to "seize the following instruments, articles and things which have been used in the commission of, or which constitute evidence in, the offense of UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF CANNABIS." The items to be seized included cannabis, any and all U.S. currency associated with drug use or trafficking, any and all paraphernalia associated with drug use or trafficking, including firearms and records associated with trafficking. Hughes stated his probable cause was based on a long term investigation the Decatur police and DEA had been conducting into the drug trafficking activities of a group of Decatur subjects, including Defendant. Hughes stated that on October 26, 2010, Defendant was observed alone in his Cadillac Escalade leaving his residence on Whitmer Street, when he was stopped and, during a search incident to arrest, marijuana was located on Defendant's person. After Defendant was taken into custody, his residence was secured and officers kept surveillance on it. Based on those above facts, Hughes believed that Defendant's residence at 846 E. Whitmer, contained a possession of a quantity of marijuana, U.S. currency, and paraphernalia used in the distribution of marijuana.

Based on the complaint filed by Hughes, Judge Little issued a search warrant for Defendant's home for cannabis, any and all U.S. currency associated with drug use or trafficking, any and all paraphernalia associated with drug use or trafficking, including firearms and records associated with trafficking. Pursuant to the search, agents recovered a loaded Glock model 21, .45 caliber pistol, loaded Hi Point .380 caliber pistol, $1,080 in U.S. currency, and 18 bags of powder cocaine.

Motion to Suppress

Defendant's Motion to Suppress seeks to suppress: (1) all evidence recovered because the Decatur police had no probable cause to make a traffic stop on Defendant, as he had not violated any traffic laws; (2) any statements made to the Decatur police because he was not Mirandized; (3) evidence recovered at his home, since there was no probable cause for the search ...


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