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United States v. Bradshaw

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

January 29, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Plaintiff
v.
JEJUAN L. BRADSHAW Defendant

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          Rebecca Grady Jennings, United States District Court District Judge

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant, JeJuan L. Bradshaw's, Motion to Suppress. Defendant filed his Motion to Suppress on June 5, 2018. [DN 15]. After filing a motion for continuance, Plaintiff, the United States of America filed a response to the Motion to Suppress. [DN 21]. On September 11, 2018, a suppression hearing was held. Subsequently, Plaintiff filed a post-hearing response to the Motion to Suppress [DN 29], and Defendant filed a post-hearing memorandum. [DN 30]. On November 30, 2018, United States Magistrate Judge Colin Lindsay issued a Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Recommendation (“R&R”) on the remaining issues, recommending that the Motion to Suppress be denied. [DN 32]. Objections were timely filed by Defendant. [DN 33]. These matters are now ripe for adjudication.

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court OVERRULES Defendant's Objections [DN 33], ACCEPTS Magistrate Judge Lindsay's R&R without modification [DN 32] and DENIES Defendant's Motion to Suppress [DN 15].

         DISCUSSION

         Mr. Bradshaw objects to both the R&R's factual findings and legal analysis. [DE 33]. Mr. Bradshaw objects to the R&R's factual findings on grounds that it incorrectly states that Mr. Bradshaw was the only person in the area when police arrived at Hibbett Sports and that the officers witnessed him leaving the scene of the alarm. Mr. Bradshaw also objects to the R&R's legal analysis and conclusions, asserting that the stop was unconstitutional because the officers lacked reliable information regarding the “type of criminal activity afoot” and information “to specifically identify Mr. Bradshaw as the perpetrator.” [DN 33, at 135].

         A. Standard Of Review.

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 59(b)(1), a district court may refer a motion to suppress to a magistrate judge to conduct an evidentiary hearing, if necessary, and submit proposed findings of fact and recommendations for the disposition of the motion. This Court must “make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specific proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Fed. R. Crim. P. 59(b)(3). After reviewing the evidence, the Court is free to accept, reject, or modify the proposed findings or recommendations of the magistrate judge. Id. Moreover, the Court need not review, under a de novo or any other standard, those aspects of the report and recommendation to which no specific objection is made. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150 (1985). Rather, the Court may adopt the findings and rulings of the magistrate judge to which no specific objection is filed. Id. at 151.

         B. Mr. Bradshaw's Objections To The Findings Of Fact Contained In The R&R.

         Mr. Bradshaw objects to Magistrate Judge Lindsay's characterization of the following facts: (1) “that Mr. Bradshaw ‘was the only person in the area'” [DN 33, at 137]; and (2) “that Mr. Bradshaw ‘was leaving the scene of an alarm.'” [Id.]. The R&R states Bradshaw was the only pedestrian in the area.[1] [DE 32, at 129, citing Sept. 11, 2018 Tr. 19, 31]. It also states that the officers encountered one moving vehicle as they approached the store from across a large parking lot, but that the moving vehicle was at the other end of the parking lot opposite the store. [Id. citing DE 23, Def.'s Exh. 11:54]. The officers then encountered Mr. Bradshaw walking a few feet from the store. [Id. citing DE 23, Def.'s Exh. 1 2:26]. Having reviewed Officer Gadegaard's testimony, the Court finds that the R&R correctly reflects the fact that Mr. Bradshaw was the only pedestrian the officers saw as they arrived at the scene. [DE 32, Sept. 11, 2018 Tr. 19, 30-31]. Additionally, the record shows that although Mr. Bradshaw did not enter Hibbett Sports the morning of the stop, police witnessed him walking away from the general vicinity of the store through a field located directly behind Hibbett Sports. [DE 32, Sept. 11, 2018 Tr. 18-19]. Therefore, the R&R's statement that Mr. Bradshaw “was leaving the scene of an alarm” is a fair characterization of the facts. Accordingly, the Court overrules Mr. Bradshaw's objections to the findings of fact contained in the R&R. As such, the R&R's factual findings are incorporated by reference and relied on as true for purposes of discussing Mr. Bradshaw's objection to Magistrate Judge Lindsay's legal analysis.

         C. Mr. Bradshaw's Objection To The Legal Analysis Contained In The R&R.

         Mr. Bradshaw objects to Magistrate Judge Lindsay's finding that the police officers had reasonable suspicion to stop Mr. Bradshaw outside Hibbett Sports. [DN 33, at 135]. Mr. Bradshaw argues that the stop was unconstitutional because of “[t]he lack of reliable information available to the officers” regarding “whether there was any type of criminal activity afoot and the information known to specifically identify Mr. Bradshaw as the perpetrator.” [Id.]. This objection is identical to the arguments made by the Defendant in his Motion to Suppress and his post-hearing Memorandum. [See DN 15, 30].

         An “objection . . . that merely reiterates arguments previously presented, does not adequately identify alleged errors on the part of the magistrate judge.” Altyg v. Berryhill, No. 16- 11736, 2017 WL 4296604, at *1 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 28, 2017). Therefore, Mr. Bradshaw's general objection and repetition of the arguments previously made in his Motion to Suppress and Memorandum is insufficient to qualify as an objection. Accordingly, the Court need not conduct a de novo review of the Magistrate Judge's report with regard to Mr. Bradshaw's objection. Ells v. Colvin, No. 3:16-CV-00604-TBR, 2018 WL 1513674, at *2 (W.D. Ky. Mar. 27, 2018).

         However, even if the Court were to consider the merits of this objection and conduct a de novo review, the R&R is well-reasoned on this issue. A brief investigatory stop is constitutional if it is “supported by reasonable suspicion to believe that criminal activity may be afoot.” United States v. Arvizu, 534 U.S. 266, 273 (2002) (internal quotations omitted). Reasonable suspicion is not determined by a “neat set of legal rules, ” rather, courts must analyze the “‘totality of the circumstances' of each case to see whether the detaining officer has a particularized and objective basis for suspecting legal wrongdoing.” Id. “Reasonable suspicion entails some minimal level of objective justification for making a stop⎯that is, something more than a . . . ‘hunch,' but less than the level of suspicion required for probable cause.” United States v. Sokolow, 490 U.S. 1, 2 (1989).

         The Court agrees with Magistrate Judge Lindsay's finding that United States v. Moore and United States v. McMillian are analogous to the instant case. [DN 32, at 132]. In Moore, a combination of factors created a reasonable suspicion that the defendant was involved in criminal activity. United States v. Moore, 817 F.2d 1105, 1107 (4th Cir. 1987). Notably, the police officer was responding to a silent alarm when he witnessed the defendant close to the building in question. Id. It was late at night, the defendant was moving away from the building, and he was the only person in the area. Id. Additionally, the court rejected the defendant's argument that the stop was unconstitutional because the police office was “not certain that any crime had actually occurred” on the basis that an officer is “not constitutionally ...


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