United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. STIVERS, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motions to
Suppress (DN 24, 25). For the reasons provided below, the
motions are GRANTED.
parties do not appear to dispute the facts relating to the
present motions. On April 26, 2018, Officer Matthew Johnson
(“Officer Johnson”) of the Shepherdsville Police
Department applied for a warrant to search a home on Hillview
Boulevard in Louisville, Kentucky, believed to be the
residence of Defendant Kenneth Moore (“Moore”).
(Def.'s Mot. Suppress 1, DN 24 [hereinafter Moore's
Mot. Suppress]; Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' Mots. Suppress 1,
DN 26 [hereinafter Pl.'s Resp.]). Moore had previously
been stopped by police and arrested for outstanding bench
warrants while waiting in the parking lot for his girlfriend,
Co-Defendant Lindsey Davis (“Davis”), to return
from a doctor's appointment. (Moore's Mot. Suppress
1-2). In the affidavit supporting his application for the
search warrant, Officer Johnson alleged that he believed
methamphetamine trafficking was occurring at Moore's
residence. (Def.'s Mot. Suppress Ex. 1, at 1-2, DN 24-1
Johnson's affidavit described the Hillview Boulevard
residence and indicated he expected to discover
methamphetamine and associated paraphernalia inside. (Aff.
1-2). Officer Johnson disclosed that he had been an officer
with the Shepherdsville Police Department for two years.
(Aff. 3). The affidavit also contained four pages of standard
recitations regarding drug crimes. (Aff. 3-7). Officer
Johnson “checked a public records data base and
determined that [Moore] listed his address as 1553 Hillview
Blvd” in Louisville, further noted that he had arrested
Moore at that address on March 22, 2017, and that Moore had
received mail at the address in April 2018. (Aff. 3).
addition to Moore's address, Officer Johnson disclosed
information he believed specifically supported probable cause
for a warrant to search Moore's residence for evidence of
drug trafficking. First, he provided that a named informant
told him on April 26 that he had bought one ounce of
methamphetamine from Moore a week earlier on April 19, 2018.
(Aff. 3). Officer Johnson also indicated that he had
previously arrested this named informant with several grams
of methamphetamine in August 2017. (Aff. 3). Officer Johnson
further averred that he spoke with Agent Lori Tomes with the
Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”), who told him
that “an informant with the Greater Hardin County Drug
Task Force ha[d] bought meth from [Moore] in the last three
weeks.” (Aff. 3).
the search warrant issued in response to Officer
Johnson's application yielded evidence of drug
trafficking. On November 6, 2018, Moore and Davis were
charged with possessing with the intent to distribute fifty
grams or more of methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A). (Indictment 1, DN 1). Moore
was also charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of
the drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
924(c)(1)(A). (Indictment 2). On March 22, 2019, both Moore
and Davis moved to suppress the evidence collected pursuant
to that warrant.
motion, Moore argues Officer Johnson's affidavit
contained no evidence he distributed narcotics from the
Hillview Boulevard residence, that he used the address to
store narcotics, or that any suspicious activity had taken
place there. (Moore's Mot. Suppress 2). Moore further
contends that the affidavit lacked any indicia of reliability
for the information provided by the informants and that there
was never any surveillance conducted on his home or any
recorded phone conversations linking drug trafficking to the
residence. (Moore's Mot. Suppress 2). With these facts,
Moore argues the search warrant was unreasonable and invalid
under the Fourth Amendment because the affidavit failed to
establish the requisite nexus between the place to be
searched and any evidence of drug dealing. (Moore's Mot.
Dismiss 4). Additionally, Moore contends the affidavit fails
to support probable cause because it lacked information
establishing the reliability of the informants. (Moore's
Mot. Dismiss 5).
response, the United States argues that even though the
affidavit did not state the drug transactions took place at
the residence, Moore is a known drug dealer and courts have
acknowledged that evidence of drug dealing is likely to be
found where drug dealers live. (Pl.'s Resp. 3).
Additionally, the United States contends the exclusionary
rule does not bar the admission of the evidence obtained from
the search because Officer Johnson conducted the search in
good faith in reliance on the warrant. (Pl.'s Resp. 4).
the Fourth Amendment, “no Warrants shall issue, but
upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and
particularly describing the place to be searched, and the
persons or things to be seized.” U.S. Const. amend. IV.
“The ‘chief evil' deterred by the Fourth
Amendment is the physical invasion of the home. Indeed, the
right of a citizen to retreat into the home and ‘there
be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion' stands
at the core of the Fourth Amendment.” United States v.
Brown, 828 F.3d 375, 381 (6th Cir. 2016) (internal citation
omitted) (citation omitted).
Supreme Court has established a “totality of the
circumstances” test for determining whether probable
cause has been established within the four corners of an
affidavit for a search warrant. Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S.
213, 239 (1983). “To demonstrate probable cause to
justify the issuance of a search warrant, an affidavit must
contain facts that indicate a fair probability that evidence
of a crime will be located on the premises of the proposed
search.” United States v. Abboud, 438 F.3d 554, 571
(6th Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting
United States v. Frazier, 423 F.3d 526, 531 (6th Cir. 2005)).
presented with an application for a search warrant, the
issuing magistrate is tasked with “mak[ing] a
practical, common-sense decision whether, given all the
circumstances set forth in the affidavit . . . there is a
fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will
be found in a particular place.” Gates, 462 U.S. at 238
(1983). “There must, in other words, be a ‘nexus
between the place to be searched and the evidence
sought.'” United States v. Carpenter, 360 F.3d 591,
594 (6th Cir. 2004) (citation omitted). That connection must
be specific and concrete, not “vague” or
“generalized.” Id. at 595. If the
affidavit fails “to set forth sufficient facts ...