United States District Court, N.D. Indiana
ORDER AND OPINION
THERESA L. SPRINGMANN CHIEF JUDGE.
a civil action to forfeit and condemn to the use and benefit
of the United States $29, 552.00 in U.S. Currency (the
Currency), which was seized during the execution of a search
warrant on Claimant Bryant T. Davis's residence. The
Government alleges that the Currency is subject to forfeiture
pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(6) because it was
furnished in exchange for controlled substances in violation
of the Controlled Substances Act, and is traceable to such an
exchange, or was used and intended to be used to facilitate a
violation of the Controlled Substances Act. The pro se
Claimant became involved in this civil action when he
responded to the Government's Verified Complaint in Rem
[ECF No. 1] by filing a claim to the Currency and a Verified
Answer to the Complaint [ECF No. 5].
December 2, 2016, the Claimant filed a Motion to Dismiss and
Motion for Return of Property to Claimant [ECF No.
On January 17, 2017, the Court denied the Claimant's
Motion and its duplicate, but provided the Claimant with
leave to file a motion to suppress, if warranted. In
response, on March 17, 2017, the Claimant filed the pending
Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Suppress [ECF No.
The Claimant maintains that there was no probable cause to
seize his property because the Government's three
cooperating sources provided false information “while
doing [drug] deals and under the influence.” (Mem. of
Law in Supp. of Mot. to Suppress 5, ECF No. 26). The Claimant
thus seeks to suppress the information obtained from the
Government's sources. (Id.) The Government filed
a Response to the Claimant's Motion to Suppress [ECF No.
27] on March 31, 2017, arguing that the Claimant
“failed to provide any evidence, legal authority or
cogent argument for suppressing the warrant. Alternatively .
. . the facts and circumstances were sufficient to establish
probable cause for issuance of the search warrant.”
(Resp. to Mot. to Suppress 1). Though given leave by the
Court [ECF No. 30], the Claimant did not file a reply.
well established that pro se litigants are not held to the
same standard as a counseled litigant, Glick v.
Gutbord, 782 F.2d 754, 755 n. 1 (7th Cir. 1986),
however, the Court is not “obligat[ed] to do [the
Claimant's] research or make arguments for him.”
Sanders v. Town of Porter Police Dep't, No.
2:05-CV-377, 2006 WL 2457251, at *2 (N.D. Ind. Aug. 22, 2006)
(citing United States v. Smith, 26 F.3d 739, 743
(7th Cir.1994)); see also Mathis v. New York Life Ins.
Co., 133 F.3d 546, 548 (7th Cir. 1998). If a litigant
fails to make a sound argument or file legal arguments with
supporting authority, the litigant effectively waives the
argument. See Mathis, 133 F.3d at 548 (holding that
even pro se litigants are expected to file legal arguments
with supporting authority because “[a] litigant who
fails to press a point by supporting it with pertinent
authority or by showing why it is sound despite a lack of
supporting authority forfeits the point”).
the Claimant is correct that a warrant cannot be issued in
the absence of probable cause to justify a search, see
e.g., United States v. Robinson, 2008 WL
4659369, at *3 (7th Cir. 2008), the Claimant has not
articulated an argument challenging probable cause. Probable
cause exists when the totality of the circumstances known at
the time are sufficient for a reasonably prudent officer to
believe evidence of a crime or contraband will be found in
the place to be searched. Id. If a judge who issued
a warrant found probable cause based on an affidavit, then
“the warrant's validity rests on the strength of
the affidavit.” United States v. Wiley, 475
F.3d 908, 915 (7th Cir. 2007). When reviewing an issuing
judge's finding, the Court pays “great
deference” to the issuing judge, United States v.
McIntire, 516 F.3d 576, 578-79 (7th Cir. 2008) (quoting
Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 236 (1983)), and
evaluates only whether the judge had a “substantial
basis” for concluding that probable cause existed.
Jones v. United States, 362 U.S. 257, 271 (1960).
Fort Wayne Police Department Detective Shane Heath's
Affidavit (Detective Heath Affidavit, ECF No. 27-1) provided
the basis upon which the search warrant [ECF No. 27-2] was
requested. Detective Heath's Affidavit details the
corroborating information provided by all three of the
Government's cooperating sources identifying the Claimant
as keeping the Currency obtained from drug sales in his home.
(see Detective Heath Affidavit 5-6). Moreover, one
of the cooperating sources identified the Claimant in a photo
array and the Fort Wayne Police Department determined the
Claimant's residence through his Bureau of Motor Vehicles
record, property ownership listed at the Allen County
Assessor's Office, and surveillance by Detective Jeremy
Court finds that the information provided in Detective
Heath's Affidavit justified the search and seizure
authorized by the warrant because all three of the
Government's sources stated that the Claimant picked up
the drug proceeds from his father and kept them in his house.
See United States v. Barnes, 909 F.2d 1059 (7th Cir.
1990) (holding that probable cause for the issuance of search
warrant existed on the basis of consistency in the
information provided by the Government's confidential
sources). Additionally, the Claimant's residence was
identified through numerous means and verified through the
use of surveillance.
the Claimant offers no evidence to support suppression of the
information provided by the Government's cooperating
witnesses; instead, the Claimant offers a conclusory
allegation that the information from the Government's
three cooperating sources was false because they were under
the influence of drugs. The Claimant offers no evidence to
demonstrate how he is able to ascertain the alleged mental
impairment of any of the three cooperating sources, nor does
the Claimant cite to authority indicating that suppression on
the basis of an allegation of mental impairment is warranted.
there was probable cause to justify the search and seizure of
the Claimant's home.
these reasons, the Motion to Suppress [ECF No. 26] is DENIED.