United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Rebecca Grady Jennings, United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Suppress Evidence (the “Motion”). [DE 17].
Responses and Replies were filed. [DE 26, 27, 37,
The Court held an evidentiary hearing [DE 33] and oral
argument [DE 39], and the matter is now ripe. For the reasons
below, the Court DENIES Evans' Motion.
the course of about one month, Louisville Metro Police
Department (“LMPD”) detectives observed by pole
camera a series of events which they suspected to be evidence
of drug trafficking at 771 S. Shelby Street. [DE 26 at 93].
Defendant, Kevin Lamonte Evans' (“Evans”)
children live at 771 S. Shelby Street. Evans was on house
arrest at his parents' residence immediately next door,
776 S. Shelby Street, and Evans often visited 771 S. Shelby
Street. [Argument Tr. at 268:7-12]. The issue before the
Court is whether a search of 771 S. Shelby Street, based on
officers' belief that drug activity was taking place at
the residence, is constitutional.
one month before the search at issue occurred, on June 26,
2018, detectives observed, by pole camera video, a vehicle
parked outside 771 S. Shelby Street. [Transcript of
Suppression Hearing dated June 28, 2019 (“Supp.
Tr.”) DE 34 at 149:21-22]. The driver was moving a
package between several boxes while inside the vehicle.
[Id. at 150:4-18]. The package aroused the
detectives' suspicions because they could see the
individual “take an item out of a Krispy Kreme box, and
[ ] put it inside another box.” [Id. at
151:15-20]. Based on the size and shape of the object in the
item, the detectives believed it could be a kilo of
narcotics. [Id.]. The detectives then observed
another person approach the car, look into the box, and talk
with the driver. [Supp. Tr. at 151:25-153:12]. The driver
then pulled into a alley “right next to 771
24, 2018, detectives observed Evans, Sisson, and several
other individuals outside 776 and 771 Shelby Street. [Supp.
Tr. at 154:7-156:2; 159:21-160:2]. Sisson had two phones,
both of which were visible on the video feed. [Id.
at 157:10-20]. At some point the other individuals departed
and only Evans and Sisson remained for short time before
Sisson also departed. [Id. at 159:21-160:5]. Just
before Sisson left 771 S. Shelby Street, Evans and Sisson
entered the residence, and exited less than four minutes
later. [Id. at 160:6-24]. After Sisson exited 771 S.
Shelby Street, detectives observed a bulge in his pocket that
was not present when he entered. [Id. at
left the residence on a bicycle. [Id. at 162:18-22].
LMPD conducted a traffic stop after Sisson began riding his
bicycle on the sidewalk in violation of traffic laws.
[Id. at 162:18- 63:20]. Sisson fled. [Id.
at 164:11-19]. As he fled, Sisson discarded items from his
pockets. [Id. at 165:3-166:23]. Detectives searched
the area and found two bags of what appeared to be
methamphetamine and $4, 000 dollars. [Id.]. LMPD was
unable to apprehend Sisson, and detectives did not recover
the cell phones they had previously observed in Sisson's
possession. [Id. at 167:11-168:4].
then returned to 771 S. Shelby Street and entered without a
warrant at approximately 2:09 p.m. [Supp. Tr. at 170:17-23].
The United States alleges that officers entered lawfully
based on exigent circumstances to prevent the destruction of
evidence. [DE 37 at 243- 46]. Upon entering, detectives
observed a marijuana blunt in plain view. [Supp. Tr. at
175:23- 176:11]. Two officers then left to obtain a search
warrant, which was ultimately obtained at 5:35 p.m.
[Id. 199:1-18]. LMPD then searched the residence and
discovered large amounts of methamphetamine, together with
other incriminating evidence of drug trafficking. [Argument
Tr. at 275:23-76:3].
with the events of June 26, 2018 and July 24, 2018, the
warrant affidavit included two additional incidents, all of
which took place inside or immediately surrounding 771 S.
Shelby Street. First, the warrant affidavit described a
shooting that took place in front of 771 S. Shelby Street on
June 16, 2018. [DE 17-1 at 67]. Second, the warrant affidavit
described an investigation and arrest of Evans and another
individual for unlawful possession of a firearm on June 19,
2018, where police recovered $2, 000 from the other
individual who was arrested, a handgun from inside 771 S.
Shelby Street, and a sawed-off assault rifle from the bushes
in front of the residence. [DE 17-1 at 67-68].
the search of 771 S. Shelby Street on July 24, 2018, Evans
was arrested. The grand jury charged Evans and Sisson with
conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute
methamphetamine, possession of a firearm by a felon, and
possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking
crime. [DE 1]. Evans moves to suppress all evidence found as
a result of the search warrant. [DE 17 at 54-56]. Evans also
moves to suppress the marijuana blunt that was observed in
plain view upon the officers' initial entry because the
officers lacked exigent circumstance to enter the residence.
is well settled that in seeking suppression of evidence the
burden of proof is upon the defendant to display a violation
of some constitutional or statutory right justifying
suppression.” United States v.
Rodriquez-Suazo, 346 F.3d 637, 643 (6th Cir. 2003)
(quoting United States v. Feldman, 606 F.2d 673, 679
n.11 (6th Cir. 1979)). The Sixth Circuit has made clear that
the burden of proof on the defendant requesting suppression
extends to both “the burdens of production and
persuasion.” United States v. Chaar, 137 F.3d
359, 363 (6th Cir. 1998); United States v. Patel,
579 Fed.Appx. 449, 453 (6th Cir. 2014).
The Entry of 771 South Shelby Street ...