United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. Russell, Senior Judge.
matter comes before the Court upon Motion by Defendant Chad
Elliot Bradley (“Defendant”) to suppress certain
evidence uncovered by law enforcement officers in a search
conducted on November 27, 2018 at Defendant's residence
and statements made subsequent to that arrest. [DN 20.] The
United States has responded, [DN 28], and Defendant has
replied. [DN 29.] This matter is ripe for adjudication. For
the following reasons, Defendant's motion is
case arises from Defendant's arrest on November 27, 2018.
As a result of the arrest, Defendant has been charged with
one count of possession of methamphetamine with the intent to
distribute. [DN 1.] ¶ 7:55 p.m. on November 27, 2018,
Deputy Brooke Nelms obtained a search warrant for
Defendant's residence. [Supp. Hrg. R. (Nelms) 62:
¶¶ 21-25, 63: ¶¶ 1-2.] The warrant was
executed that night by detectives and deputies from the
Graves County Sheriff's Department, and the Kentucky
State Police. [Supp. Hrg. R. (Pervine) 28: ¶¶ 1-2.]
The search warrant only authorized a search of
Defendant's home. It did not authorize a search of
Defendant's vehicle or boat. [Supp. Hrg. R. (Edwards) 46:
¶¶ 23-25, 47: ¶¶ 1-4.]
Edwards began searching the residence for drugs and found a
smoking pipe and a marijuana roach. [Supp. Hrg. R. (Edwards)
40: ¶¶ 15-19, 41: ¶¶ 2-8.] Once he
completed the search of the home, Deputy Edwards went outside
and searched Defendant's boat. After searching the boat,
he opened the door of Defendant's black truck and found a
black bag on the seat. [Supp. Hrg. R. (Edwards) 41:
¶¶ 22-25.] According to Deputy Edwards, Trooper
Pervine then came outside to tell him the truck was not
included in the search warrant. [Supp. Hrg. R. (Edwards) 51:
¶¶ 3-4.] Trooper Sullivan arrived with his K9,
Diego, after Deputy Edwards opened the door of the truck.
[Supp. Hrg. R. (Edwards) 43: ¶¶ 5-7.]
arrival, Trooper Sullivan “ran” his K9 around
Defendant's parked truck and the K9 showed a
“change in behavior” between the driver's
door and the rear door. [Supp. Hrg. R. (Sullivan) 7:
¶¶ 10-13, 17 ¶¶ 14-17.] The K9 did not
signal an “alert” but the change in behavior
signaled an odor of narcotics. [Supp. Hrg. R. (Sullivan) 7:
¶¶ 14-16.] Sullivan then ran the K9 around the car
a second time to confirm the change in behavior. [Supp. Hrg.
R. (Sullivan) 8: ¶¶ 9-12.] The K9 exhibited the
same behavior and Sullivan subsequently informed a deputy
that there was enough reason for a search. [Supp. Hrg. R.
(Sullivan) 8: ¶¶ 11-13.] A search was conducted,
and methamphetamine was found. [Supp. Hrg. R. (Sullivan) 20:
Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects
individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. U.S.
Const. amend. IV. Consistent with this, constitutional
jurisprudence provides “the basic rule that
‘searches conducted outside the judicial process,
without prior approval by judge or magistrate, are per
se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment-subject only
to a few specifically established and well-delineated
exceptions.'” Arizona v. Gant, 556 U.S.
332, 338 (2009) (quoting Katz v. United States, 389
U.S. 347, 357 (1967)). One of those exceptions is the
automobile exception. The automobile exception allows
officers to conduct a warrantless search of a vehicle if
there is probable cause to believe the vehicle contains
evidence of a crime. United States v. Lumpkin, 159
F.3d 983, 986 (6th Cir. 1998). “Probable cause exists
when there is a fair probability that contraband or evidence
of a crime will be found in a particular place.”
Smith v. Thornburg, 136 F.3d 1070, 1073 (6th Cir.
1998) (internal quotations omitted). Determination of
probable cause must be judged by a totality of the
circumstances. Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 230
Deputy Edwards' Entry of Vehicle
undisputed that the search warrant did not include
Defendant's vehicle. In order for a search of the vehicle
to legally take place, an exception to the warrant
requirement must have applied. In his testimony, Deputy
Edwards admits to opening the door of the vehicle before
Trooper Sullivan arrived with his K9. Upon opening the door,
he saw a black bag containing a ziplock bag. Shortly after,
Trooper Pervine informed Deputy Edwards that the truck was
not included in the search warrant and Deputy Edwards stepped
seemingly minor, opening the door constituted a search of
Defendant's car. “A search occurs when an
expectation of privacy that society is prepared to consider
reasonable is infringed.” U.S. v. Jacobsen,
466 U.S. 109, 113 (1984). The interior of a car is subject to
the protections of the Fourth Amendment. New York v.
Class, 475 U.S. 106, 114-115 (1986). It is unclear if
Deputy Edwards moved anything in the vehicle. He has no
recollection of doing so. However, this is immaterial because
simply opening the door of the vehicle constitutes a search.
Since there is no indication that Deputy Edwards had any
evidence to establish probable cause, this was a violation of
Defendant's constitutional rights.
Dog Sniff of the Vehicle
parties have stated, a positive detection by a reliable K9
provides sufficient probable cause to search a vehicle.
Florida v. Harris,568 U.S. 237, 246-247 (2013).
When a K9 is certified by a bona fide organization, the court
may presume probable cause exists unless there is conflicting
evidence. Id. Testimony of the dog's training