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United States v. Bohn

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

April 7, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
RONALD BOHN

OPINION AND ORDER

ROBERT L. MILLER, Jr., District Judge.

Ronald Bohn has moved to suppress tangible statements and evidence developed from a series of searches of a residence on April 18, 2012. The court heard evidence and argument on April 6, and now denies the motion.

I

The events at issue in this case took place about three years ago. Three-year-old events can tax the human memory, as shown by the hearing conducted on defendant Ronald Bohn's motion to suppress on April 6. The witnesses' tiring memories make it impossible to find all the case's factual details with any level of confidence, but facts that can be found require the court to deny the motion.

Mr. Bohn was on parole arising from a felony conviction in Michigan. In 2010, he and his parole moved to Indiana. Mr. Bohn met with state parole officer Michael Adams, who explained the rules about being on parole in Michigan. Mr. Bohn signed a paper saying that he understood those rules. Those rules included this:

I understand that I am legally in the custody of the Department of Correction and that my person and residence or property under my control may be subject to reasonable search by my supervising officer or authorized official of the Department of Correction if the officer or official has reasonable cause to believe that the parolee is violating or is in imminent danger of violation a condition to remaining on parole.

David Hartzler became Mr. Bohn's supervising officer in November 2010.

The rest of the events in this case all took place in 2012 unless a different year is specified.

Mr. Bohn owned a house located on Koher Road in Syracuse, Indiana. When he bought it, he told Mr. Hartzler he wasn't going to move into the Koher Road house until spring. Mr. Bohn's file said he lived with his daughter at her home on Grandview (and had since he came to Indiana). Mr. Bohn never told Mr. Hartzler that he had moved from the Grandview address.

On April 18, Nicole Gingrich called Mr. Hartzler. She reported that as she drove her daughter Rowen and Rowen's boyfriend to school a pill bottle appeared. Rowen and her boyfriend said the bottle contained Vicodin, Oxycontin and morphine. Rowen said she and her friends were getting drugs at Mr. Bohn's house on Koher Road. The boyfriend said Mr. Bohn had guns and more drugs at the Koher Road house.

Mr. Hartzler was familiar with Nicole and Rowen Gingrich, as well as the house of Koher Road before April 18. He had gone to the house on February 12 after an anonymous report that Mr. Bohn was providing girls with drugs at the house (and that some of the girls were then selling what they got from Mr. Bohn). Mr. Hartzler went to the Koher Road house, where he encountered Mr. Bohn, Terry Young, and 15-year-old Rowen Gingrich. When Mr. Hartzler asked why a 15year-old girl was there, Mr. Bohn said he was tutoring her. Mr. Bohn asked Rowen Gingrich to call her mother. Nicole Gingrich came to the house and assured Mr. Bohn that everything was fine. While at the Koher Road house, Mr. Hartzler noticed a large brass porthole fitting.

Terry Young testified telephonically at the suppression hearing. He said he signed a 6-month lease for the Koher Road house in January, and advanced three months' rent. Mr. Young testified that while he was at the Koher Road house on February 12, Mr. Hartzler asked to walk through the house, and Mr. Bohn said Mr. Hartzler would have to ask Mr. Young, who gave permission.

After getting Mrs. Gingrich's call on April 18, Mr. Hartzler met with his supervisor, Bobby Yarborough, and they decided Mr. Hartzler had reasonable cause to believe Mr. Bohn was violating his parole, so Mr. Hartzler should search the Koher Road house. Mr. Hartzler didn't tell Mr. Yarborough that Mr. Bohn had rented the house to Mr. Young (if, indeed, Mr. Hartzler understood that to be the case). Because of the report that guns were at the house, Mr. Hartzler asked the county police to send officers with him.

The county police had been investigating a series of burglaries that had taken place in an area in which Koher Road was located. Detective Joshua Spangle had gotten word from an anonymous source that a man named Bohn had been taking property from his employer and had stored the stolen goods at his home. Detective Spangle didn't know who this Bohn fellow was, or where his home was ...


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