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United States v. Perkins

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

April 4, 2018

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
William Floyd Perkins, Defendant-Appellee.

          Argued: March 14, 2018

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Winchester. No. 4:16-cr-00020-1-Harry S. Mattice, Jr., District Judge.

         ARGUED:

          William Allen Roach, Jr., UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellant.

          Jennifer Niles Coffin, FEDERAL DEFENDER SERVICES OF EASTERN TENNESSEE, INC., Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          William Allen Roach, Jr., UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Knoxville, Tennessee, Terra L. Bay, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for Appellant.

          Jennifer Niles Coffin, FEDERAL DEFENDER SERVICES OF EASTERN TENNESSEE, INC., Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellee.

          Before: BOGGS, BATCHELDER, and THAPAR, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          THAPAR, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         When the triggering event for a warrant did not occur, the government searched the defendant's house anyway. After the district court granted the defendant's motion to suppress, the government appealed. We affirm.

         I.

         Many good Fourth Amendment stories begin with dogs. See, e.g., Florida v. Harris, 568 U.S. 237 (2013) (featuring Aldo the dog). And so it is here. This story began when a dog's sniff alerted law enforcement to a suspicious-smelling package. The dog's sniff was accurate. The package contained methamphetamine. The intended recipient was "B. PERKINS, " with the address "5831 Rowe Gap RD Belvidere, TN 37306." R. 20-1, Pg. ID 78. Further investigation revealed that the defendant, William Perkins, also known as Billy Perkins, resided at 5831 Rowe Gap Road. According to a trusted confidential informant, Perkins was a methamphetamine dealer. The informant had known Perkins for twenty years and had purchased methamphetamine from him within the past six months. Local law enforcement also knew Perkins to be a methamphetamine dealer.

         Based on this information, DEA officer Daniel Warren sought an anticipatory warrant to search Perkins's residence. An anticipatory search warrant differs from a traditional search warrant. Traditional warrants issue upon a showing of probable cause. By contrast, an anticipatory warrant only becomes effective upon the happening of some future event-a "triggering condition"-which establishes probable cause for the search. United States v. Grubbs, 547 U.S. 90, 94 (2006). In this case, Warren proposed the following scheme. Fellow DEA officer Kyle Brewer would pose as a FedEx driver. He would knock at the door of 5831 Rowe Gap Road with the malodorous package in hand. And then Brewer would "hand deliver the above mentioned package to PERKINS." R. 20-1, Pg. ...


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