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United States v. Mackin

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

May 24, 2017




         The Defendant, Joshua R. Mackin, is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Officers arrested the Defendant pursuant to an arrest warrant, and the charge stems from a search incident to that arrest. This matter is before the Court on the Defendant's fourth Motion to Suppress Evidence [ECF No. 168], filed on April 17, 2017. Pursuant to the same grounds for relief that the Defendant sought in his third Motion to Suppress [ECF No. 158], the Defendant “moves the Court to suppress all property seized from the [D]efendant by arresting offices [sic], all observations made by the arresting officers and all statements made by the Defendant, ” and requests a hearing. (fourth Mot. 1, ECF No. 168.)[1] The Defendant's Prayer for Relief in this fourth Motion is identical to that of the Defendant's third Motion. Additionally, the Defendant's Memorandum of Law in Support of the Defendant's fourth Motion to Suppress, appended to the fourth Motion, is identical to that of the Memorandum of Law in Support of the Defendant's third Motion.

         Although the particular phrases used in the Defendant's fourth Motion detailing the factual issues vary from his prior motions, the Defendant does not introduce any new facts or issues. Accordingly, the Defendant's ultimate grounds for relief have already been previously heard and considered by this Court. The Defendant argues as grounds for relief the following: (1) the officers did not have a search warrant to enter the residence where the Defendant was arrested upon exiting the back door, thus, any items seized and statements made by the Defendant incident to the arrest are inadmissible; and (2) the dispatch did not contain reliable, credible, or sufficient information to identify the Defendant at the address where he was ultimately apprehended. The Defendant has not explained how this current fourth Motion differs from the third Motion he filed on February 3, 2017, the second Motion [ECF No. 145] he filed on September 12, 2016, and the first Motion [ECF No. 107] he filed on November 24, 2015, and the Court cannot discern a difference. Moreover, the Defendant has not explained why his request for a hearing in this matter would cover evidentiary matters other than those covered in his previous briefing and/or the evidentiary hearing held on August 4, 2016. Accordingly, the Court denies the Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence and request for a hearing.


         The purpose of an evidentiary hearing on a motion to suppress is to resolve material factual disputes between the parties. United States v. Villegas, 388 F.3d 317, 324 (7th Cir. 2004) (holding that a hearing is not required in the absence of factual disputes). Material facts are those that would make a difference in the outcome of the motion. Id. The Defendant's most recent fourth Motion presents no new facts or issues, therefore, there is no reason for the Court to revisit its previous decisions.


         A. Search Warrant

         In both the Defendant's second and third Motions, the Defendant moved for the suppression of evidence that the officers obtained when they entered upon the real estate where the Defendant was arrested without a search warrant. The Defendant is yet again seeking the same relief in the form of suppression of items seized and statements made, and once more argues that the officers were required to have a search warrant.

         In his second Motion, the Defendant relied on the Supreme Court's decision in Steagald v. United States, 451 U.S. 204 (1981), to argue that a “[search] warrant is required before entering onto the real estate of a third person in order to arrest an individual who is the subject of [an arrest] warrant.” (second Mot. 2, ECF No. 145.) On November 14, 2016, this Court issued an Opinion and Order [ECF No. 153] denying the Defendant's second Motion without a hearing because “Steagald protected the interests of the third-party owner of the residence, not the suspect himself.” United States v. Jackson, 576 F.3d 465, 468 (7th Cir. 2009); see also United States v. Agnew, 407 F.3d 193, 19 (3d Cir. 2005); United States v. Kaylor, 877 F.2d 658, 663 n.5 (8th Cir. 1989) (“Steagald addressed only the right of a third party not named in the arrest warrant to the privacy of his or her home. This right is personal to the homeowner and cannot be asserted vicariously by the person named in the arrest warrant.”). Because the Defendant is not in the category of persons who are protected by the holding in Steagald, his second Motion “did not present a substantial claim for which disputed issues of material fact would impact the outcome.” (Nov. 14, 2016, Order 2, ECF No. 153.) Accordingly, the Court determined that no evidentiary hearing was necessary for resolution of the Defendant's Motion.

         The Defendant again attempted to raise the same issue, arguing in his third Motion (as he does in this current fourth Motion) that the Court's August 4, 2016, Evidentiary Hearing was restricted to the issue of the Defendant's identity and thus, the issue regarding the alleged necessity for officers to have obtained a search warrant was undecided. On February 23, 2017, this Court issued an Opinion and Order [ECF No. 161] in which the Court held that the Defendant has “overlooked the portion of the docket where the issue he presents was decided” and, “[a]s should be clear by now, the Court does not believe that the search warrant issue necessitates an evidentiary hearing: the issue was presented in the September 12, 2016, Motion; and decided against the Defendant in the Court's November 14, 2016, Opinion and Order.” (Feb. 23, 2017, Order 3, 4 (brackets omitted), ECF No. 161.)

         With this pending fourth Motion, the Defendant is yet again asking the Court to revisit both its Orders of November 14, 2016, and February 23, 2017, without providing any additional facts, evidence, or legal basis that would necessitate such a reversal from this Court. In fact, the Defendant continues to cite to Steagald and Winthrow v. Williams, 507 U.S. 680 (1993) (see fourth Mot. 8; Def.'s Resp. in Supp. of fourth Mot. to Suppress ¶¶ 26, 32, ECF No. 184), which this Court has held in its prior Orders as inapplicable in this case. The Court declines to revisit those Orders and the Court's reasoning therein. The warrant issue has already been decided on multiple occasions by this Court, and this Court has repeatedly held that a hearing on this issue is not necessary.

         B. The Defendant's Identity

         The Defendant argues that the officers did not have sufficient confirmation of his identify prior to seizing him when executing the arrest warrant. However, the pertinent facts concerning the Defendant's identity were already developed during the Evidentiary Hearing conducted on August 4, 2016, and no other facts are necessary to resolve the issues that are presented in the Defendant's current fourth Motion.

         The Evidentiary Hearing concerned the Defendant's first Motion, filed on November 24, 2015. At the start of the hearing, the Court clarified that the hearing was limited to the issue that was specifically set forth in the Defendant's first Motion-that of the Defendant's identity. (Tr. of Mot. to Suppress Evid. Hr'g 29:14-32:32, ECF No. 150.) The Defendant therefore had an opportunity to orally present his argument and cross-examine witnesses concerning the issue of the Defendant's identity. In fact, on numerous occasions throughout the hearing, the Defendant objected and argued that the dispatch call and officer's records failed to contain the requisite information identifying the Defendant at the location where he was arrested. (Id. at 41:3-43:9; 43:18-23; 45:11-46:7; 47:1-11; 50:5-51:12; 63:2-65:24; 68:3-69:4.) On another occasion, the Defendant conducted a voir dire of Officer Brown regarding the information available to him prior to arresting the Defendant. (Id. at 55:19-21; 56:2-63:2.) For each of the objections, the Court overruled the Defendant (id. at 43:10-13; 43:24; 46:8-9; 47:12-13; 51:14-22; 65:25; 69:5), explaining to defense counsel that he would have the opportunity to explore these issues on cross-examination (see, e.g., id. at 46:8-9 (“There are matters that [defense counsel] can inquire upon in cross examination . . . .”); 52:23-35 (“That is an item you can inquire on [] cross examination.”).) Defense counsel did so. (See Id. at ...

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