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United States v. Burton

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

June 13, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
RODERICK V. BURTON, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Sharon Johnson Coleman, United States District Court Judge

         Roderick Burton, the defendant, is charged with robbing five banks in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a). Burton, in a consolidated pre-trial motion that incorporates several of his prior pro se filings, [1] now moves this Court to suppress the evidence obtained during a search of his residence, to quash his arrest, and to dismiss the indictment against him. For the reasons set forth herein, Burton's motion [94] is denied.

         Background

         The underlying circumstances of this case are set forth in this Court's prior opinion addressing Burton's first motion to suppress the evidence obtained as a result of the search of his residence. This Court incorporates that description of the facts herein, and adds only those procedural details that are necessary to the resolution of the present consolidated motion.

         Discussion

         Burton first renews his previously denied motion asking this Court to suppress all of the evidence obtained as a result of the search of Burton's residence or, in the alternative, asking this Court to hold a Franks hearing.

         The Fourth Amendment generally requires law enforcement to secure a warrant, particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or things to be seized, before conducting a search. U.S. Const. amend. IV; Maryland v. Dyson, 527 U.S. 465, 466, 119 S.Ct. 2013, 144 L.Ed.2d 442 (1999). The essential protection of the warrant requirement lies in its mandate that the usual inferences reasonable people draw from evidence must be drawn “by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime.” Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 13-14, 68 S.Ct. 367, 92 L.Ed. 436 (1948). A magistrate's determination of probable cause is given great deference on review, and the Fourth Amendment requires no more than a substantial basis for concluding that a search would uncover evidence of a crime. Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 236, 103 S.Ct. 2317, 76 L.Ed.2d 527 (1983).

         A defendant may request an evidentiary hearing to show that a search warrant was invalid and that the search therefore was not constitutionally conducted. Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154, 98 S.Ct. 2674, 57 L.Ed.2d 667 (1978). A defendant is only entitled to such a hearing, however, upon making a substantial preliminary showing that the warrant affidavit contained a false statement or omitted a statement, the affiant made or omitted the statement either intentionally or recklessly, and the statement or omission was material or necessary to the finding of probable cause. Id. at 155-56.

         As an initial matter, this Court notes that the government has provided a properly executed copy of the Application and Affidavit for a Search Warrant at issue in this case, mooting Burton's argument that the Application and Affidavit was never properly signed by Agent Doorley. Although Burton contends that the properly executed search warrant application “raises new questions” when compared to the prior unsigned version, he fails to identify what questions those might be. The version of the search warrant application that Burton was previously provided with was stamped “RECEIVED MAY 21 2015, ” was unsigned by the agent, and appears to bear Magistrate Judge Schenkier's stamped signature. The version that the government has just provided, by contrast, was hand-signed by the agent and Magistrate Judge Schenkier, and is stamped “FILED MAY 21 2015.” There is no doubt in this Court's mind that the document, which was fully executed and filed, provides a valid basis for the search that occurred in this case.

         Burton contends that the search warrant affidavit contains two false statements. The search warrant affidavit states, in pertinent part, that:

CP Clear and Accurint are electronic databases that provide law enforcement with information about individuals derived from public records and proprietary sources. Law enforcement routinely uses these databases to obtain home addresses and other identifying information for individuals. A search of these databases show that utility records and credit reporting records identify BURTON as residing at the Subject Premises since approximately October 2014.

         Burton, however, asserts via a pro se affidavit that Agent Doorley “committed perjury when she stated that a search of utility bills showed defendant lived at 6741 S. Emerald since October of 2014. No such bill exists.”

         As an initial matter, this Court notes that the presumption of validity of an affidavit supporting a search warrant “cannot be overcome by a self-serving statement which purports to refute the affidavit.” United States v. Reed, 726 F.2d 339, 342 (7th Cir. 1984). Burton's affidavit is therefore incapable of undermining the presumed validity of Agent Doorley's sworn statement.

         Agent Doorley's affidavit, moreover, was not premised on the existence of the utility bills but instead on the fact that the CP Clear and Accurint databases showed that utility records and credit reporting records identified Burton as living at the subject premises. Burton does not challenge this account of what the database showed and he does not question the existence of the credit reporting records that the agent identified. Therefore, even if Burton's affidavit was sufficient evidence, Burton still ...


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