United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
ORDER ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION TO DENY DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
T. Fowlkes, Jr. United States District Judge.
the Court is Defendant Charles Ford's Motion to Suppress
filed on July 7, 2017. (ECF No. 38.) The sole issue presented
by the Motion is whether Officers Edwards and Malsom were
constitutionally permitted under the Fourth Amendment of the
United States Constitution to stop Defendant for questioning.
The Motion was referred to the Magistrate Judge, who held a
hearing on the matter in October 2017. (ECF Nos. 47 &
52.) On November 2, 2017, the Magistrate Judge issued a
Report and Recommendation suggesting that the initial
encounter between Officers Edwards and Malsom and Defendant
was consensual and that the resulting seizure occurred
through a valid search incident to arrest such that all
evidence obtained therefrom is free from any taint of
illegality. (ECF No. 55, 7-8.) Plaintiff did not file any
Objections to the Report and Recommendation.
FINDINGS OF FACT
Report and Recommendation, the Magistrate Judge provides, and
this Court adopts and incorporates, proposed findings of fact
in this case. (ECF No. 55, 1-4.)
passed 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) “to relieve some of the
burden on the federal courts by permitting the assignment of
certain district court duties to magistrates.”
United States v. Curtis, 237 F.3d 598, 602 (6th Cir.
2001). Pursuant to the provision, magistrate judges may hear
and determine any pretrial matter pending before the Court,
except various dispositive motions. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(A). Upon hearing a pending matter, “[T]he
magistrate judge must enter a recommended disposition,
including, if appropriate, proposed findings of fact.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(1); see also Baker v. Peterson,
67 F. App'x 308, 310 (6th Cir. 2003). Any party who
disagrees with a magistrate's proposed findings and
recommendation may file written objections to the report and
recommendation. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2).
standard of review that is applied by the district court
depends on the nature of the matter considered by the
magistrate judge. See Baker v. Peterson, 67 F.
App'x 308, 310 (6th Cir. 2003) (citations omitted)
(“A district court normally applies a ‘clearly
erroneous or contrary to law' standard of review for
nondispositive preliminary measures. A district court must
review dispositive motions under the de novo
standard.”). Also, motions to suppress evidence are
among the motions in criminal cases that are subject to
de novo review. See 28 U.S.C. § 636
(b)(1)(A); U.S. Fid. & Guarantee Co. v. Thomas
Solvent Co., 955 F.2d 1085, 1088 (6th Cir. 1992). Upon
review of the evidence, the district court may accept,
reject, or modify the proposed findings or recommendations of
the Magistrate Judge. Brown v. Board of Educ, 47
F.Supp.3d 665, 674 (W.D. Tenn. 2014); see also 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The court “may also receive
further evidence or recommit the matter to the Magistrate
Judge with instructions.” Moses v. Gardner,
No. 2:14-cv-2706-SHL-dkv, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29701, at *3
(W.D. Tenn. Mar. 11, 2015). A district judge should adopt the
findings and rulings of the magistrate judge to which no
specific objection is filed. Brown, 47 F.Supp.3d at
Fourth Amendment under United States Constitution
Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides
that the “right of the people to be secure in their
persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable
searches and seizures, shall not be violated[.]” U.S.
Const. amend. IV. The Fourth Amendment applies to government
intrusions when a person has a reasonable expectation of
privacy. See Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128, 142-43
(1978). When the protections of the Fourth Amendment apply, a
warrant is generally required unless an exception to the
warrant requirement applies. United States v.
Garcia, 496 F.3d 495, 508 (6th Cir. 2007). One exception
to the warrant requirement is a search incident to arrest,
which “permits law enforcement to search items found on
a suspect's person or in a suspect's vehicle at the
time of arrest without a warrant.” United States v.
Lichtenberger, 786 F.3d 478, 487 (6th Cir. 2015).
determining whether the Fourth Amendment's protections
are implicated, the Court must look to the nature of the
encounter between law enforcement and the individual citizen.
United States v. Waldon, 206 F.3d 597, 602 (6th Cir.
2000). Generally, three types of encounters between police
and citizens are challenged in the courts: “(1) the
consensual encounter, which may be initiated without any
objective level of suspicion; (2) the investigative
detention, which, if nonconsensual, must be supported by a
reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal activity; and
(3) the arrest, valid only if supported by probable
cause.” United States v. Avery, 137 F.3d 343,
352 (6th Cir. 1997) (citations omitted).
a consensual encounter, “law enforcement officers may
approach an individual and ask general questions without
having any reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, so long
as the officers refrain from the type of intimidating
behavior that would lead a reasonable person to believe that
the person was not free to leave.” Waldon, 206
F.3d at 603. “Whether an encounter between a police
officer and a citizen is consensual depends on the
officer's objective behavior, not on any subjective
suspicion of criminal activity.” Id. A
consensual encounter does not implicate the Fourth
Amendment's protections because approaching an individual
and asking a few questions does not constitute a
“seizure” or “search”. Florida v.
Bostick, 501 U.S. 434, 434 (1991).
encounter may escalate to a seizure, implicating the Fourth
Amendment, “when a reasonable person, in view of the
circumstances surrounding the encounter with law enforcement
officials, believes he is not free to leave.”
United States v. Winfrey, 915 F.2d 212, 216 (6th
Cir. 1990) (quoting United States v. Mendenhall, 446
U.S. 544, 554 (1980)). Accordingly, a request that the person
stay at a location along with a request for and retention of
the person's property has been held to implicate the
Fourth Amendment. Winfrey, 915 F.2d at 216.
have also articulated what is called an investigative
detention, also known as a Terry Stop, which is
characterized as “a brief, investigatory stop [that is
justified] when the officer has a reasonable, articulable
suspicion that criminal activity is afoot.”
Illinois v. Wardlow, 528 U.S. 119, 123 (2000);
Winfrey, 915 F.2d at 216. “[A]n investigative
detention must be temporary and last no longer than is
necessary to effectuate the purpose of the stop. Similarly,
the investigative methods employed should be the least
intrusive means reasonably available to verify or dispel the
officer's suspicion in a short period of time.”
Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 500 (1983). The
reasonableness of an investigative stop, then, is a dual
inquiry that considers (1) whether the officers' conduct
is supported by articulable suspicion, and (2) whether the
detention and investigative methods used were reasonable
under the circumstances. Winfrey, 915 F.2d at 216.
The government bears the burden of showing that a seizure
based on reasonable suspicion satisfied the conditions of an
investigative Terry seizure. Id.
arrest must be supported by probable cause, which must be
determined under the totality-of-the-circumstances
approach.” United States v. Milam, No.
2:15-cr-20091-SHM, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73256, at *8 (W.D.
Tenn. Mar. 18, 2016) (citing Illinois v. Gates, 462
U.S. 213, 230-31 (1983)). “There is no bright-line test
for determining when an arrest occurs. The analysis of the
conditions and circumstances that rise to the level of arrest
is a fact-sensitive inquiry.” Id. ...