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United States v. Sutton

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

February 10, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TODD SUTTON, Defendant-Appellant

December 12, 2013, Argued

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. No. 2:10-CR-20048 -- Michael M. Mihm, Judge.

For UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee: Linda L. Mullen, Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Rock Island, IL; John Patrick Taddei, Attorney, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Criminal Division, Washington, DC.

For TODD S. SUTTON, Defendant - Appellant: Beau B. Brindley, Attorney, Joshua J. Jones, Attorney, LAW OFFICES OF BEAU B. BRINDLEY, Chicago, IL.

Before BAUER, CUDAHY, and POSNER, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 771

Cudahy, Circuit Judge.

This case concerns the sufficiency of evidence for a search warrant. Defendant Todd Sutton appeals an order denying his motion to suppress the fruits of a search of his cousin's apartment, arguing that the underlying warrant was not supported by probable cause. Agents executing that warrant found more than fifty grams of crack cocaine. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Sutton pleaded guilty, but retained the right to appeal the denial of the motion to suppress. Because the facts indicate that probable cause existed for the search warrant, we now affirm.

This investigation began when Special Agent Kristopher Lombardi of the Kankakee Metropolitan Enforcement Group (KAMEG) received a tip from a confidential informant (CI) that he had seen an

Page 772

individual known as " Cap" in possession of an ounce of cocaine and provided the address of an apartment where he had seen " Cap." The CI was familiar with cocaine and its distribution because he had previously been involved in the sale of narcotics. In an effort to obtain leniency on pending drug charges, the CI was working with KAMEG. In fact, within a six month period prior to this search, he had provided information that had led to another cocaine seizure and arrest.

Acting on the CI's information, Lombardi searched the name " Cap" in a law enforcement database containing aliases of arrestees and suspects. Todd Sutton was listed as a match for the alias " Cap." Lombardi then obtained a booking photo of Sutton and showed it to the CI, who confirmed that the man he identified as " Cap" was Sutton. Lombardi then drove the CI past the address where the CI claimed to have witnessed Sutton in possession of the cocaine. The CI confirmed the location. The CI further informed Lombardi that the apartment's tenant was Nikiya Foster, whom the CI believed to be Sutton's girlfriend. A law enforcement database confirmed that Foster was indeed the apartment's tenant; however, Lombardi later discovered that she was actually Sutton's cousin.

That same day, Lombardi took the CI before a Kankakee County judge when the CI signed a " John Doe" affidavit in support of a search warrant. That affidavit read in relevant part as follows:

Within the past 10 days from May 2nd, 2010 I have seen approximately one ounce of cocaine inside the residence located at 1525 West Station St. Apt. 1W, Kankakee, IL. I am familiar with cocaine and the way it is packaged for sale because I have sold cocaine in the past. I am not currently under the influence of alcohol or drugs. At this time, I am a Confidential Informant Source for KAMEG. I am using an ...

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