United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Covington
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. BUNNING UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon Magistrate Judge Candace J.
Smith's Report and Recommendation (“R&R”)
(Doc. # 95), wherein she recommends that Defendant Quintin
Tyler Brian Davis's Motion to Suppress (Doc. # 67), be
denied. Defendant having filed Objections to the R&R
(Doc. # 99), and the Government having responded to the
Defendant's Objections (Doc. # 101), the R&R is now
ripe for the Court's for review. For the reasons set
forth herein, Defendant's Objections are
sustained in part and overruled in part, the
R&R is adopted in part and rejected in
part, and the Motion to Suppress is denied
in part and granted in part.
August 28, 2018, Cincinnati Police Officer Kowalski observed
what he believed to be a hand-to-hand drug transaction
involving a 2003 Cadillac CTS belonging to the Defendant.
(Doc. # 95 at 3). Officer Kowalski testified that he saw a
man “[run] up to the passenger side window [of the
Cadillac] and reach into the passenger side window and then
[stand] back up” before the Cadillac left the scene.
(Doc. # 87 at 5:14-17). Based on his years of experience as a
police officer, Officer Kowalski believed he had witnessed a
hand-to-hand drug transaction. Id. at 6:3-10. Around
the same time, Cincinnati Police Officer Schaible received a
phone call from a reliable confidential informant who told
him that the Defendant “had just conducted a drug
transaction in the same location that Officer Kowalski was
at.” Id. at 18:2-3. The informant's
description of the alleged drug transaction matched Officer
Kowalski's observations. (Doc. # 95 at 3-4).
following morning, Cincinnati police officers executed a
traffic stop while Defendant was driving the 2003 Cadillac
CTS. (Doc. # 95 at 4). Officers initiated the traffic stop
because the windows of Defendant's vehicle were illegally
tinted. (Doc. # 87 at 51: 9-10). After Defendant noticed two
police cruisers following him, he quickly turned into a
convenience store parking lot. Id. at 4. Officers
Broering and Knapp pulled into the parking lot directly
behind Defendant, exited their vehicles, and approached the
Cadillac. (Doc. # 87 at 53:6-54:5). Officer Broering
testified that he could not see into the car because of the
heavily tinted windows, but that he “could see the
silhouette of Defendant” and saw that Defendant was
turned and looking down towards the center console area of
the car. (Doc. # 95 at 5). Based on his years of experience
as an officer, Officer Broering thought Defendant's
position was “a typical thing that someone would do
when they're trying to hide contraband.” (Doc. # 87
at 44:20-23). Officer Schaible was also at the scene, and he
testified that “he observed [Defendant's]
silhouette through the front windshield of his vehicle and
that [Defendant] was making furtive movements towards the
center console.” (Doc. # 95 at 4-5).
point as he was approaching Defendant's car, Officer
Broering had an unobstructed view into the vehicle. (Doc. #
87 at 58:11-13). He saw that “the cup holder in the
center console [of the car] had been filed with orange
juice” and orange juice was spilled on the seats. (Doc.
# 95 at 5). Officer Broering also saw a “small plastic
bag inside the cup holder that contained orange juice, and
another small plastic bag on the driver's side
floor.” Id. Additionally, Officer Clarkson saw
a white powder substance on Defendant's hands. Government
Exhibit 10. Defendant was ordered out of his car, arrested,
and placed in a police cruiser. (Doc. # 95 at 5).
his arrest, the Defendant was taken to the Gang Unit of the
Cincinnati Police Department on Warsaw Avenue. Id.
at 6. Defendant was placed and handcuffed at a table in the
booking area. Id. At some point shortly after
arriving at the police station, officers read Defendant his
Miranda rights. Id. Defendant then told the
officers that he was not interested in talking at
approximately 10:30 a.m. (Doc. # 87 at 81:19-23). Officer
Stratmann left for approximately thirty minutes and continued
to work on search warrants. (Doc. # 87 at 78:17-25). When
Officer Stratmann returned, he saw the Defendant with his
head on the table. Id. 79:1-4. Officer Stratmann was
alarmed because falling asleep is “one of the symptoms
of an overdose or an exposure” and he was concerned
that Defendant may have been exposed to the drugs that were
found in his car. Id. 79:7-8. Officer Stratmann got
the Defendant up and began questioning him about whether he
had ingested drugs and whether he felt ill. Id. at
79:11-12, 80:3-5. Once Officer Stratmann established that
Defendant was safe, he left and continued working on the
search warrants. Id. at 80:11-14.
Stratmann returned intermittently to check on Defendant and
“carry on conversations with him about the
progression [of] the case.” Id. at 82:5-6. He
told Defendant that police were drafting search warrants in
his case and that his girlfriend had also been stopped by
police. Id. at 68:19-69:6. During one of these
check-ins, Officer Stratmann asked Defendant questions about
the money that was found in the 2003 Cadillac CTS. Officer
Stratmann testified that he asked Defendant “‘Is
this your money,' kind of just administratively to figure
out what the money was from.” Id. at 70:12-14.
He explained that “when you have that kind of money,
[officers] have to put something on the paper [about] what
we're doing with the money.” Id. 72:3-4.
He also asked Defendant whether he was working, in order to
determine where the money came from. Id. at 69:9-
14. Officer Stratmann did not say whether Defendant responded
to the questions about the money; he also did not testify as
to what time the interaction occurred.
1:00 p.m.-approximately two and a half hours after Defendant
said that he was not interested in talking-Defendant asked
Officer Stratmann whether they could speak in a more private
setting. Id. at 81:24-82:2. Officer Stratmann
testified that he responded by telling Defendant that he
“needed to be honest about what happened at the traffic
stop.” Id. at 82:16-17. At that point,
Defendant asked for a cigarette and Officer Stratmann left to
get cigarettes and a lighter. Id. 82:23-25. When
Officer Stratmann returned, Defendant was taken to the
Central Vice Unit of the Cincinnati Police Department. (Doc.
# 95 at 8). There, officers read Defendant his
Miranda rights again, and Defendant signed a waiver.
Id. Officer Baker then proceeded to conduct a
recorded interview with Defendant. Id.
September 13, 2018, Defendant Davis was indicted by a federal
grand jury. (Doc. # 7). The Indictment charged Defendant with
one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent
to distribute controlled substances, one count of aiding and
abetting in possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or
more of a mixture of substance containing a detectable amount
of fentanyl, and one count of aiding and abetting in
possession with intent to distribute a mixture of substance
containing a detectable amount of heroin. Id.
March 27, 2019, Defendant filed a Motion to Suppress any and
all evidence obtained as the result of the traffic stop on
August 29, 2018 and the subsequent questioning. (Doc. # 67).
After the United States filed its Response (Doc. # 80), Judge
Smith held an evidentiary hearing. (Doc. # 85). Following the
evidentiary hearing, the parties submitted supplemental
briefing. (Docs. # 88 and 93). On August 9, 2019, Judge Smith
filed an R&R (Doc. # 95), wherein she recommended that
Defendant's Motion to Suppress (Doc. # 67) be denied.
(Doc. # 95 at 29). On August 23, 2019, Defendant filed
Objections to the R&R (Doc. # 99) to which the United
States responded on September 9, 2019. (Doc. # 101). The
Motion to Suppress (Doc. # 67) and R&R (Doc. # 95) are
now ripe for review.
Standard of Review
to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Federal Rule of Criminal
Procedure 59, a district court may refer a motion to suppress
to a magistrate judge for the preparation of a report and
recommendation. “The magistrate judge must promptly
conduct the required proceedings and enter on the record a
recommendation for disposing of the matter, including any
proposed findings of fact.” Fed. R. Crim. P. 59(b)(1).
If a party files timely objections to the recommendation, the
district court must consider those objections de novo and
“accept, reject, or modify the recommendation.”
Fed. R. Crim. P. 59(b)(3). Failure to object to a Magistrate
Judge's findings or conclusions results in waiver of
those objections. Fed. R. Crim. P. 59(b)(2).
filing of objections to a magistrate's report enables the
district judge to focus attention on those issues-factual and
legal-that are at the heart of the parties'
dispute.” Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 147
(1985). Therefore, objections to a magistrate judge's
R&R must be “specific.” Fed. R. Crim. P.
59(b)(2). Vague, general, or conclusory objections are
improper, will not be considered by the reviewing court, and
are “tantamount to a complete failure to object.”
Cole v. Yukins, 7 Fed.Appx. 354, 356 (6th Cir.
2001); see also Miller v. Currie, 50 F.3d 373, 380
(6th Cir. 1995) (“[A] general objection to a
magistrate's report, which fails to specify the issues of
contention, does not satisfy the requirement that an
objection be filed. The objections must be clear enough to
enable the district court to discern those issues that are
dispositive and contentious.”). Objections that merely
state disagreements with the magistrate judge's
conclusion or restate arguments previously presented to the
magistrate judge are similarly improper. United States v.
Bowers, No. 0:06-cv-7-DLB-REW, 2017 WL 6606860, at *1
(E.D. Ky. Dec. 26, 2017); United States v. Vanover,
No. 2:10-cr-14-DLB-REW, 2017 WL 1356328, at *1 (E.D. Ky. Apr.
raises three objections to the R&R. (Doc. # 99). First,
Defendant objects to Judge Smith's recommended finding
that the officers had probable cause for the warrantless
arrest of Defendant during the traffic stop on August 29,
2018. Id. at 2. Next, Defendant objects to Judge
Smith's determination that Officer Stratmann's
conversation with Defendant at the Warsaw Avenue police
station was not an interrogation. Id. Finally,
Defendant objects to Judge Smith's conclusion that the
officers did not improperly influence Defendant to give
statements after Defendant invoked his right to silence.
Id. The Court will address each of Defendant's
objections in turn.
The warrantless arrest of Defendant was supported ...