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United States v. Brooks

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

July 2, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
SHAUNETTE BROOKS, and JEROME DIXON, Defendants.

ENTRY ON DEFENDANT JEROME DIXON'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS

TANYA WALTON PRATT, District Judge.

This case comes before the Court on Defendant Jerome Dixon's ("Mr. Dixon") request for a Franks hearing and Motion to Suppress (Filing No. 89). Mr. Dixon, along with co-defendant Shaunette Brooks ("Ms. Brooks"), is charged with violating 21 U.S.C. §§ 846; 841(a)(1), conspiracy to possess and distribute controlled substances, and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. Mr. Dixon asserts that the search of his apartment and the resulting seizure of evidence violated the Fourth Amendment because the search warrant was not properly issued as a material fact was omitted from the warrant affidavit which justifies a Franks hearing and suppression of the evidence found during the search. He also argues the search was invalid because law enforcement officers failed to knock and announce their presence when executing the warrant. For the following reasons, Mr. Dixon's Motion to Suppress is DENIED.

I. BACKGROUND

At approximately 3:10 p.m. on August 13, 2014, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at the shared residence of Mr. Dixon and Ms. Brooks in Indianapolis, Indiana. "Law enforcement gained entry inside the building and apartment by keys which had been provided by BROOKS." (Filing No. 89-3 at 17 ¶ 52.) The officers found Mr. Dixon and his brother inside the apartment. Also inside the apartment, the officers found more than 1, 000 grams of heroin, more than 800 grams of cocaine, approximately $100, 000.00, and other contraband. The officers seized the heroin, cocaine, and cash. This search and seizure led to the charges against Mr. Dixon and Ms. Brooks now pending in this case.

The search warrant had been issued the day before it was executed. On August 12, 2014, Anderson Police Department Detective Keith Gaskill ("Detective Gaskill") appeared before Madison Circuit Court Judge Thomas New, Jr. ("Judge New") to request the issuance of a search warrant for Ms. Brooks' and Mr. Dixon's apartment in Indianapolis. Detective Gaskill presented sworn testimony and evidence in support of the request for the search warrant. The evidence admitted to support the issuance of a search warrant included a probable cause affidavit from Detective Gaskill, a copy of the lease for Ms. Brooks' and Mr. Dixon's shared apartment, a diagram of the apartment complex, a photograph of the exterior of the apartment building that also showed the red Dodge Nitro registered to Ms. Brooks which had been used to deliver heroin, and an aerial photograph of the residence of a co-conspirator.

Detective Gaskill's testimony and affidavit provided extensive detail regarding an ongoing conspiracy and drug operations involving Mr. Dixon and Ms. Brooks. He described five controlled purchases, audio and video recordings, GPS tracking, interviews of witnesses, telephone records, and other sources of information that formed the basis of probable cause to issue a search warrant. After the presentation of testimony and evidence, Judge New issued a search warrant for Ms. Brooks' and Mr. Dixon's shared apartment in Indianapolis.

II. DISCUSSION

Mr. Dixon asserts that the search of his apartment and the resulting seizure of evidence violated the Fourth Amendment, and therefore, the evidence should be suppressed. The Fourth Amendment provides:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Specifically, Mr. Dixon argues that probable cause did not support the search warrant, the search warrant was stale when it was executed, the search warrant did not have a seal, and the officers failed to "knock and announce" when they executed the search warrant. Mr. Dixon also requests an evidentiary hearing.

"If the search or seizure was effected pursuant to a warrant, the defendant bears the burden of proving its illegality." United States v. Longmire, 761 F.2d 411, 417 (7th Cir. 1985). And "[w]here the police have acted pursuant to a warrant, the independent determination of probable cause by a magistrate gives rise to a presumption that the arrest or search was legal." Id. Probable cause affidavits supporting applications for warrants are to be "read as a whole in a realistic and common sense manner, " and "doubtful cases should be resolved in favor of upholding the warrant." United States v. Quintanilla, 218 F.3d 674, 677 (7th Cir. 2000) (citation omitted).

A. There is no need for an evidentiary hearing.

As an initial matter, the Court finds that there is no need for an evidentiary hearing. Where the defendant makes a substantial preliminary showing that a false statement knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless disregard for the truth, was included by the affiant in the warrant affidavit, and if the allegedly false statement is necessary to the finding of probable cause, the Fourth Amendment requires that a hearing be held at the defendant's request. In the event that at that hearing the allegation of perjury or reckless disregard is established by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence, and, with the affidavit's false material set to one side, the affidavit's remaining content is insufficient to establish probable cause, the search warrant must be voided and the fruits of the search excluded to the same extent as if probable cause was lacking on the face of the affidavit. Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154, 155-156 (U.S. 1978); Molina v. Cooper, 325 F.3d 963, 968 (7th Cir. 2003); United States v. Maro, 272 F.3d 817, 821 (7th Cir. 2001).

Mr. Dixon claims the search warrant was factually inaccurate and misleading to the magistrate judge because "the warrant represented that an event occurred at time and place that was impossible, therefore an evidentiary hearing is necessary." (Filing No. 89 at 8.) As stated above, Mr. Dixon bears the burden of making a substantial preliminary showing that a false statement was made knowingly, intentionally, or with reckless disregard for the truth and that the false statement was necessary to the finding of probable cause. Franks at 155-56 (1978); United ...


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