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United States v. Lucas

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

January 3, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
QUENTIN LUCAS, Defendant.

ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, District Judge.

This cause is before the Court on Magistrate Judge Byron Cudmore's Report and Recommendation (d/e 22) that recommends denying Defendant Quentin Lucas's Pretrial Motion to Suppress Evidence and Statements (d/e 17). The Court ADOPTS Magistrate Judge Cudmore's Report and Recommendation (d/e 22) and DENIES Defendant's Motion to Suppress (d/e 17). The authorities performed a proper stop and search of the rental vehicle Defendant rode in as a passenger, police did not coerce Defendant's admission that the gun found in the trunk of the vehicle was his, and Defendant received and knowingly and intelligently waived his rights under Miranda. Miranda v. Arizona , 384 U.S. 436 (1966).

I. BACKGROUND

On December 3, 2013, Magistrate Judge Cudmore held an evidentiary hearing on Defendant's Motion to Suppress. The Government presented the testimony of Illinois State Troopers Dustin Weiss and Steven Ent and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Scott Giovannelli. Defendant testified on his own behalf. 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's vehicle and on his person. This recording equipment malfunctioned about fifteen minutes after Trooper Weiss commenced the traffic stop.

After reviewing the Report and Recommendation, listening to the audio recording of the evidentiary hearing before Judge Cudmore, and reviewing the Memoranda submitted by Defendant and the Government, the Court adopts the facts set forth by Judge Cudmore in his Report and Recommendation as the Court's own. A summary of those facts reflects that Defendant was a passenger in a rental vehicle driven by Andrew Craig. Authorities had conducted controlled heroin buys with Mr. Craig as the suspected heroin distributor. On December 3, 2012, at about 10:30 a.m., a detective with the Springfield Police Department contacted Illinois State Trooper Dustin Weiss regarding Mr. Craig. The detective told Trooper Weiss that Mr. Craig would be traveling to Springfield in a black Dodge Charger and that Defendant Lucas would be in the car with Mr. Craig. The detective asked Trooper Weiss to stop the vehicle if Trooper Weiss established probable cause to do so.

At about 11:00 a.m. on December 3, 2012, Trooper Weiss contacted Illinois State Trooper Steven Ent, who handled a drug-sniffing dog named Zyko. Trooper Weiss asked Trooper Ent to be available that morning so that Zyko could conduct a canine sniff around a vehicle. Trooper Ent agreed to be available with Zyko.

Later that day, Trooper Weiss observed a black Dodge Charger heading west toward Springfield whose occupants matched the descriptions given by the detective. Trooper Weiss used a radar device to confirm that the vehicle was traveling 72 miles per hour in a 65 miles-per-hour speed zone. At that point, Trooper Weiss turned on his flashing lights and stopped the vehicle.

Mr. Craig was driving the vehicle, Defendant rode as a passenger, and a woman named Rayshana Grant rode in the back with her baby. Trooper Weiss told Mr. Craig that he had stopped Mr. Craig for speeding but that Trooper Weiss was only going to give Mr. Craig a warning. Trooper Weiss then collected Mr. Craig's and Defendant's identification and returned to the patrol car to run checks on the Dodge Charger and the two men. By the time Trooper Weiss returned to his patrol car, Trooper Ent was parked behind Trooper Weiss and waiting. Zyko was in the car with Trooper Ent.

The checks revealed that the Dodge Charger was a rental vehicle, Mr. Craig and Defendant had criminal records, and that Defendant was the subject of an order of protection. The parties agree that Mr. Craig had rented the car. After these checks, Trooper Ent directed the driver, Mr. Craig, to come to Trooper Weiss's patrol car so Trooper Weiss could determine whether Ms. Grant and her baby were part of the order of protection against Defendant.

While Mr. Craig sat in the car, Trooper Weiss noticed that Mr. Craig was nervous. Specifically, Trooper Weiss noted that Mr. Craig had sweaty hands and nervously bounced his knee. When Trooper Weiss asked Mr. Craig about Ms. Grant's identity, Mr. Craig confirmed that Ms. Grant and her baby were not part of the order of protection against Defendant.

While Trooper Weiss prepared the warning ticket, Trooper Ent also asked Mr. Craig questions concerning Mr. Craig's reasons for coming to Springfield. Mr. Craig said that he was giving Defendant and Ms. Grant a ride to Springfield. Mr. Craig also said that Defendant and Ms. Grant were staying with Mr. Craig for a week. Later, Mr. Craig said he was going to drive Ms. Grant and Defendant back to Chicago in a couple of days. Trooper Weiss told Mr. Craig he was free to go after completing the warning ticket. According to the warning ticket, Trooper Weiss issued the warning at 11:40 a.m. From the time Trooper Weiss stopped Mr. Craig to the time that Trooper Weiss told Mr. Craig he was free to go, the total duration of the stop was approximately twelve to fifteen minutes. This is also the point at which Trooper Weiss's audio visual recording equipment malfunctioned and ceased operation.

Once Trooper Weiss told Mr. Craig that Mr. Craig was free to leave, Trooper Weiss asked Mr. Craig if anything illegal was in the car and if Mr. Craig would let the Troopers search the vehicle. Mr. Craig answered no to both inquires. Trooper Weiss testified that he asked Mr. Craig these additional questions based on Mr. Craig's apparent nervousness during the traffic stop and the information Trooper Weiss had about Mr. Craig's suspected heroin distribution activities. Even though Mr. Craig did not consent to a search of the vehicle, Trooper Weiss decided that Mr. Craig's nervousness and suspected heroin distribution activities warranted further detention of Mr. Craig, Defendant, and Ms. Grant so that Zyko could perform a four to five minute long canine sniff around the vehicle. Trooper Weiss told Mr. Craig to remain in Trooper Weiss's patrol car while Zyko performed the canine sniff.

At this point, Troopers Weiss and Ent approached the Dodge Charger with Zyko. Trooper Ent testified that he asked Defendant and Ms. Grant to step outside of the vehicle so that Zyko could perform a canine sniff around the car. Trooper Ent did not testify that he frisked Defendant or handcuffed Defendant while Zyko performed the canine sniff.

Conversely, Defendant testified that Trooper Ent removed Defendant from the rental vehicle, searched Defendant's person, handcuffed Defendant, and placed Defendant in the front seat of Trooper Ent's police vehicle before Zyko performed the canine sniff. Defendant said that he was placed in the front seat of Trooper Ent's vehicle because Zyko's cage was in the back of the vehicle.

Zyko, at Trooper Ent's command, performed the canine sniff and alerted on the passenger side of the vehicle. The alert indicated the presence of cannabis, cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin. According to Zyko's certification materials, these are the drugs that Zyko is trained to detect. Once Zyko alerted, Trooper Weiss told Mr. Craig that the Troopers were going to search the vehicle. Trooper Weiss testified that about five minutes elapsed from when Trooper Weiss told Mr. Craig that Zyko would perform a canine sniff to when Zyko alerted. Based on Trooper Weiss's testimony regarding the stop and the canine sniff, the encounter at issue lasted a total of seventeen to twenty minutes. Defendant testified that the traffic stop and investigatory detention took approximately twenty to thirty minutes.

No drugs were found during the search of the vehicle. However, the Troopers did recover a loaded Buck M.22 handgun in the trunk of the vehicle. Both Mr. Craig and Defendant initially denied that the gun belonged to either of them. Thereafter, the Troopers arrested both Mr. Craig and Defendant and took them to speak with Drug Enforcement Agency Special Agent Scott Giovannelli and Springfield Police Department Detective Grant ...


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