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United States v. Lucas

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

December 11, 2013



BYRON G. CUDMORE, Magistrate Judge.

This matter comes before the Court for a Report and Recommendation on Defendant Quentin Lucas' Pretrial Motions (d/e 17) (Motion). Lucas is charged with the crime of felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. ยง 922(g)(1). Indictment (d/e 4). On December 3, 2013, the Court held an evidentiary hearing on the Motion. The Government appeared by Assistant United States Attorney Bryan Freres. The Defendant appeared in person and by his attorney Michael J. Costello. After careful consideration of the submissions of the parties, the evidence adduced at the hearing, the arguments of counsel, and the applicable law, the Court recommends that the Motion should be DENIED.


The Government presented the testimony of Illinois State Troopers Dustin Weiss and Steven Ent, and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Scott Giovannelli. Lucas testified for the defense.[2] The Government also played the audio visual recording of a portion of the relevant December 3, 2012, traffic stop. The recording was made by the recording equipment in Trooper Weiss' vehicle and on his person. The evidence presented established the following.

Trooper Weiss was assigned to the DEA as a Task Force Officer. He patrolled the interstate highways seeking to interdict the transportation of illegal drugs. On December 3, 2012, at about 10:30 a.m., Weiss was contacted by a detective in the Springfield, Illinois, Police Department (Department). The Department detective informed Weiss that the Department was investigating a man named Andrew Craig for distribution of heroin. The detective told Weiss that heroin had been purchased from Craig in the course of the investigation. The detective told Weiss that Craig was traveling from Chicago, Illinois, to Springfield in a black Dodge Charger and could possibly be transporting heroin. The detective told Weiss that Lucas would be traveling with Craig in the Charger. The detective asked Weiss to stop the vehicle if Weiss established probable cause to stop it.

Weiss contacted Trooper Ent at about 11:00 a.m. Ent handled a drug sniffing dog named Zyko. Weiss asked Ent if he could be available on Interstate 72 (I-72) east of Springfield that morning to conduct a possible open air sniff of a vehicle with Zyko. Ent agreed to come to the vicinity and be available. Ent then drove to the requested area.

Weiss went to mile marker 122 on I-72 east of Springfield and parked in the median. He observed a black Dodge Charger (Charger) heading west toward Springfield whose occupants matched the descriptions given by the Department detective. Weiss followed the Charger in his patrol vehicle. Weiss used a radar device to confirm that the Charger was traveling at a speed of 72 miles per hour. The speed limit was 65 miles per hour. Weiss turned on his flashing lights and pulled the Charger over. Weiss' camera and audio recording equipment came on automatically when he turned on the flashing lights. Weiss could turn the audio on and off. Weiss testified that he turned the audio off when he was not in the presence of any of the occupants of the Charger.

Weiss parked behind the Charger, exited his vehicle, and walked up to the passenger side of the Charger. Craig was driving the Charger; Lucas was in the passenger seat. A woman named Rayshana Grant was in the back seat with her baby. Weiss told Craig that he was stopping him for speeding, but was only going to give him a warning. Weiss collected Craig and Lucas' identification and returned to his vehicle to run checks on the car and the two men.

By the time Weiss returned to his vehicle, Ent was waiting for him. Ent parked his vehicle with his dog Zyko behind Weiss' vehicle. Ent stood outside Weiss' car while Weiss ran the checks. Weiss found that the vehicle was a rental vehicle. It is undisputed that Craig rented the vehicle, not Lucas. Weiss found that Craig and Lucas had criminal records. Weiss also found that Lucas was subject to an order of protection. An order of protection in Illinois is a restraining order directing a person not to be near or otherwise in contact with a specific family or household member being protected by the order. An order of protection is issued when a court has found that the person subject to the order had abused or neglected the person protected by the order. See 750 ILCS 60/214.

Weiss asked Ent to direct Craig to come back to Weiss' vehicle and to determine Grant's identity. Weiss wanted to confirm that Grant and the baby were not involved with the order of protection against Lucas. Weiss wanted to confirm that Lucas was not violating the order of protection.

Craig came back to Weiss' patrol car and sat in the front passenger seat. Weiss testified that Craig was nervous throughout the incident. Craig's hands were sweaty. Craig wiped his hands on this pant legs to remove the sweat. Craig also nervously bounced his knee up and down. Weiss questioned Craig about the identity of the woman. Weiss was able to confirm that she and her baby were not involved in the order of protection against Lucas.

Ent asked Craig about his trip while Weiss prepared the warning. Craig said that he was giving Lucas and Grant a ride to Springfield. Craig said at one point that they were going to stay with him for a week. He later said that he was going to drive them back to Chicago after a couple of days. Craig was also asked about his criminal history. Craig admitted serving time for a drug trafficking conviction.

Weiss completed the warning and gave it to Craig. Weiss told Craig that he was free to go. The total duration of the stop at this point was approximately twelve to fifteen minutes. At this point, Weiss' recording equipment malfunctioned and ceased operating. Weiss testified that he had been having trouble with the equipment.

After Weiss told Craig he was free to go, Weiss asked him if he could ask Craig a couple of questions. Craig said, "What's that?" Weiss asked Craig if he had anything illegal in the car. Craig said no. Weiss asked if he could search the car. Craig said no. Weiss told Craig that Trooper Ent was going to perform an open air sniff of the car with his dog Zyko. Ent testified that he asked the passengers to step out of the vehicle and performed the open air sniff. Lucas testified ...

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