United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
B. RUSSELL, SENIOR JUDGE.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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)).
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.
Trooper Williams did not violate Mr. Green's Fourth
Amendment rights during the traffic
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 ...