Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Green

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

January 9, 2020

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PLAINTIFF
v.
WENDELL BERNARD GREEN DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          THOMAS B. RUSSELL, SENIOR JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court upon a motion by the Defendant, Wendell Bernard Green, to suppress all evidence obtained as a result of an illegal police search in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. (DN 21). The Court held a hearing on this matter on October 17, 2019. The parties have each filed their brief in this matter, and upon consideration of these submissions and being otherwise sufficiently advised, Mr. Green's motion to suppress is DENIED.

         Background

         On December 3, 2018, Trooper Williams pulled over Mr. Green for following too closely to another car. (DN 24, Transcript, at 4-5). Trooper Williams testified that “When I first saw the car, it was extremely too close to the car that was in front of him.” Id. at 5. Less than a vehicle's length separated the two cars. Id. Trooper Williams also observed that Mr. Green reduced his speed when he pulled out. Id. at 6. The December 3 traffic stop began at 12:08 P.M. Id. Upon approaching the vehicle, Trooper Williams observed “a large block object covered up with what [he] thought was a blanket at that time.” Id. at 8. Trooper Williams testified that he has “seen this countless amount of times” and he “became suspicious after I even saw it.” Id. at 8. Trooper Williams also testified that he immediately notice that Mr. Green was visibly nervous and even stated into his microphone during the stop that Mr. Green was “shaking like a leaf.” Id. at 19-20. Mr. Green presented Trooper Williams with a South Carolina driver's license and rental papers for the car. Id. at 7. The rental agreement was in someone else's name, who Trooper Williams later learned was Mr. Green's wife. Id. Upon reviewing the rental agreement, Trooper Williams learned that the car should have been returned several days prior and was late. Id.

         Mr. Green told Trooper Williams that he was only following closely behind the other car because it had darted out in front of him. Id. at 9. Trooper Williams testified that Mr. Green was “[v]ery talkative, overly giddy” and that he “saw a couple of 5-Hour Energy drinks, a couple of cell phones” in the car. Id. At 12:09, Trooper Williams asked Mr. Green to accompany him to his patrol car. Id. Mr. Green complied. Once they were in the patrol car, Trooper Williams indicated that he would write Mr. Green a warning notice and would not be issuing a citation for the traffic violation. Id. Trooper Williams testified that issuing a warning notice involves a similar process as issuing a citation and that it is necessary to run records checks. Id.

         While Trooper Williams was working on the warning notice, he asked Mr. Green several questions. Among these questions, he asked Mr. Green about where he came from and where he was going. Id. at 10. Mr. Green first indicated that he was coming from Illinois, but then corrected himself and said he was coming from St. Louis. Id. at 10-11. Trooper Williams asked several questions about St. Louis while he worked on the warning notice. Id. at 27.

         At 12:11, Trooper Williams called in a K9 unit to do a sniff of Mr. Green's car. Id. at 11. The K9 unit arrived at 12:13. Id. At 12:15, Trooper Williams instructed the K9 unit to “go ahead” with the dog sniff. Id. At 12:17, the police dog alerted on Mr. Green's car. Id. at 12. Trooper Williams printed out the citation and handed Mr. Green a copy at 12:19. Id. The entire traffic stop lasted approximately eleven minutes.

         Upon searching Mr. Green's vehicle, the police found approximately 250 pounds of marijuana packaged in vacuum sealed bags and further concealed within suitcases and duffle bags. Id. at 14. The search also revealed five cellular phones. The government later obtained a search warrant to search these phones.

         Legal Standard

         “The Fourth Amendment protects ‘[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.'" United States v. Carpenter, 819 F.3d 880, 886 (6th Cir. 2016) (quoting U.S. Const. amend. IV). If the Government disregards that constitutional command, a defendant may move to exclude the evidence gathered against him. United States v. Haygood, 549 F.3d 1049, 1053 (6th Cir. 2008). It is well settled that, in seeking suppression, “the burden of proof is upon the defendant to show that the search or seizure violated “some constitutional or statutory right.” 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)). In resolving a motion to suppress, the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the Government. United States v. Rose, 714 F.3d 362, 366 (6th Cir. 2013) (citing United States v. Beauchamp, 659 F.3d 560, 565 (6th Cir. 2011)).

         “When considering whether to suppress evidence in a criminal case, a court addresses a mixed question of law and fact.” Thomas v. Arnold, 696 F.Supp.2d 882, 886 (N.D. Ohio 2010) (citing United States v. Hurst, 228 F.3d 751 n.1 (6th Cir. 2000)). “Therefore, a court can appropriately weigh evidence and determine credibility when deciding whether to suppress evidence.” Id.

         Discussion

         I. Trooper Williams did not violate Mr. Green's Fourth Amendment rights during the traffic stop.

         Trooper Williams had probable cause to believe that Mr. Green had committed a traffic violation by driving too closely to another car and the traffic stop was not unreasonably ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.