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United States v. Calligan

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

December 16, 2019




         This matter is before the Court on Defendant's multiple filings (ECF Nos. 134, 135, 137) objecting to Magistrate Judge Susan Collins' Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 132) issued on October 28, 2019, which recommended that this Court deny Defendant's Motion to Suppress Physical Evidence. (ECF No. 128). The Government filed its Notice of No Objection to the Magistrate Judge's Findings, Report, and Recommendation and Response to Defendant's Objections (ECF No. 138) on December 5, 2019, and Defendant filed his reply (ECF No. 139) on December 11, 2019. Defendant's objections are now ripe for determination.

         I. Factual Background

         The basic facts of this case are not in dispute. On May 31, 2017, United States Custom and Border Protection (“CBP”) seized a parcel from an address in Hong Kong containing approximately 100 grams of fentanyl analogues. CBP had identified a second package from the same address, and with the same declared contents and value, being shipped to Defendant at 4218 Encino Drive, Fort Wayne, IN 46816 (the “Target Package”).

         On June 12, 2017, CBP searched the Target Package addressed to Defendant and discovered a clear plastic bag containing approximately 1 kilogram of 5F-ADB, a Schedule I controlled substance used to manufacture synthetic marijuana. When applied to an organic compound, that quantity of 5F-ADB could produce approximately 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of synthetic marijuana. While many substances can be used to make synthetic marijuana, 5F-ADB is one of the most potent.

         This was not the only international package sent to Defendant. Defendant received approximately 58 international packages from 2015 through June 2017. Most of those shipments were sent to the Encino Drive address, but at least one was sent to Defendant's mother's home. Although the existence of these packages is noted in the affidavit attached to the Application for Search Warrant (the “Affidavit”), the Affidavit contains no information regarding the sender of the packages, descriptions of the packages, or lists of their contents.

         According to the Affidavit, the plan was to deliver the Target Package containing the 5F-ADB to Defendant and then execute the search warrant. However, at some point between the issuance of the warrant and its execution, the decision was made to remove the controlled substance from the Target Package and replace it with a sham substance. The application for the search warrant was never updated with this information. In addition, the return on the search warrant indicated that the 5F-ADB was recovered from the Encino Drive residence, which was necessarily false given that the controlled substance was removed prior to delivery.

         II. Legal Analysis

         A. Standard of Review

         When reviewing an objection to a magistrate judge's recommendation, the Court is obliged to analyze the recommendation de novo. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). Thus, the Court can “accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate.” Id. In other words, the Court's de novo review of Magistrate Collins' Report and Recommendation is not limited to her legal analysis alone; rather, the Court may also review her factual findings, and accept, reject, or modify those findings as it sees fit based upon the evidence. Id.

         Generalized objections, absent specific legal authority, do not invoke the district court's obligation to perform a de novo review of a magistrate judge's decision: “De novo review of a magistrate judge's recommendation is required only for those portions of the recommendation for which particularized objections, accompanied by legal authority and argument in support of the objections, are made.” Banta Corp. v. Hunter Publ'g Ltd., 915 F.Supp. 80, 81 (E.D. Wis. 1995). “[W]ithout specific reference to portions of the magistrate's decision and legal discussion on the objected portion, the district court's duty to make a de novo determination does not arise. The general statements that a party ‘objects' and ‘incorporates all arguments previously made to the magistrate' will not suffice.” United States v. Molinaro, 683 F.Supp. 205, 211 (E.D. Wis. 1988); see also Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149 (1985) (holding that “[s]ection 636(b)(1)(C) . . . does not on its face require any review at all . . . of any issue that is not the subject of an objection”).

         B. Defendant's Objections

         1. Reliance on Information Outside the Affidavit

         Relying on United States v. Koerth, 312 F.3d 862 (7th Cir. 2002), Defendant first objects to the Magistrate's reliance on information from outside of the Affidavit, specifically prior rulings from this Court on Defendant's previous motions to suppress, in determining that Defendant was not entitled to a Franks hearing. Defendant asserts that the Magistrate was bound to look “only to the Defendant's motion and the affidavit as filed with the ...

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