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United States v. Hamad

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

December 20, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
IAAD HAMAD, Defendant

For Iaad Hamad, Defendant: John Paul Carroll, LEAD ATTORNEY, Attorney at Law, Naperville, IL; Michelle Gonzalez, Michelle Gonzalez & Associates PC, Chicago, IL.

For USA, Plaintiff: Yusef Dale, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. Attorney, Chicago, IL; Pretrial Services; Tyler C Murray, United States Attorney's Office (NDIL), Chicago, IL.

OPINION

Page 853

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

AMY J. ST. EVE, United States District Court Judge.

On December 9, 2010, the government filed a one-count indictment against Defendant Iaad Hamad (" Hamad" ) charging Hamad with being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). (R. 2, Indictment.) On October 9, 2013, Hamad filed a motion to quash his arrest and suppress the firearm and ammunition that Chicago Police Department (" CPD" ) officers seized at his store on October 15, 2010 [1]. For the following reasons, the Court denies Hamad's motion to quash and suppress.

BACKGROUND

On October 15, 2010, inspectors from the Cook County Department of Revenue (" Department of Revenue" ) conducted an inspection of H & Y Chicago Foods (" H & Y" ), a store that Hamad owned, located at 3825 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. The Department of Revenue had a list of prior violators who had sold unstamped cigarettes and H & Y was on that list. Courtney Marshall (" Marshall" ), an intern with the Department of Revenue, initially entered the store in an undercover capacity and purchased a package of Newport cigarettes for $6 rather than the typical $8 or $9. He left the store and presented the package of cigarettes to Jessa Srain and Aaron Glasper, two Department of Revenue agents who noticed that the package did not have the required Cook County tax stamp. The three inspectors re-entered the store and Agent Srain identified herself to Alma Price (" Price" ) and Shanta Price, two store employees who were behind the counter. The Department of Revenue inspectors then went behind the counter to look for additional packages of cigarettes that did not contain the requisite county tax stamp.

During this inspection behind the counter of the store, Agent Srain found an additional unstamped package of cigarettes next to the cash register. In her search for additional cigarettes not bearing the requisite county tax stamp, Agent Srain discovered on the floor behind the counter a plastic bag that contained a large clear jar of white pills and multiple prescription pill bottles. In total, the agents discovered approximately 1500 Hydrocodone pills. While searching behind the counter, Marshall discovered a false floor compartment that held a shoe box containing two loaded ammunition magazines for a 9 mm handgun. Finally, while searching for unstamped cigarettes behind the door to the counter area, Agent Srain found a handgun in a velvet bag underneath a pile of t-shirts. Agent Srain contacted her supervisor who told her to call the CPD.

Agent Srain called the CPD to inform them that she had discovered a gun in her search. At some point later, CPD officers Alejandro Gallegos and Marco Bruno arrived at H & Y and Agent Srain directed them to the locations of the gun and the prescription pills. Hamad was not at H & Y when they arrived. Officer Gallegos encountered Price who told him that she was the manager of the store and that Hamad was the owner of the store. After Price identified herself as the manager of the store, Officer Gallegos read Price her

Page 854

Miranda rights and told her that he was taking her into custody because of the prescription pills and the handgun. Price told Officer Gallegos that she believed the pills were candy and that Hamad told her to sell them for $5 dollars apiece. Price also stated that the handgun and the pills belonged to Hamad, and that Hamad told her she could use the handgun for protection. The CPD officers arrested Price and transported her to the 11th district police station at 3151 West Harrison Street. Later that day, Hamad arrived at the 11th district police station, provided his identification, identified himself as the owner of H & Y, and stated that he owned the handgun that Officer Gallegos had seized from the store. Officer Gallegos then arrested Hamad.[2]

LEGAL STANDARD

" The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures." United States v. Richards, 719 F.3d 746, 754 (7th Cir. 2013). " The jurisprudence of the Supreme Court makes clear that the primary bulwark against such conduct is the procurement of a warrant from a neutral and detached magistrate." United States v. Whitaker, 546 F.3d 902, 906 (7th Cir. 2008) (citing Groh v Ramirez, 540 U.S. 551, 575, 124 S.Ct. 1284, 157 L.Ed.2d 1068 (2004)). Accordingly, " [a] warrantless search is per se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment subject to a few well-established exceptions." United States v. Zahursky, 580 F.3d 515, 521 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Arizona v. Gant, 556 U.S. 332, 338, 129 S.Ct. 1710, 173 L.Ed.2d 485 (2009)). If law enforcement officials conduct a warrantless search, " the government must show by a preponderance of ...


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