United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AND DENYING
DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS
S. NORRIS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendant Jaire Spencer's Motion to Suppress
and Supporting Memorandum, filed January 16, 2019. (ECF No.
25.) The Court referred the motion to the Magistrate Judge
for Report and Recommendation on January 16, 2019. (ECF No.
26.) The Government filed its Response to Motion to Suppress
on January 30, 2019. (ECF No. 27.) Magistrate Judge Pham held
an evidentiary hearing on February 13, 2019.
April 12, 2019, Magistrate Judge Pham issued a Report and
Recommendation (the “Report”), recommending the
motion be denied. (ECF No. 35.) Defendant filed his
objections to the Report on April 18, 2019. (ECF No. 36.) The
Government filed a response to Defendant's objections on
April 29, 2019. (ECF No. 39.) For the reasons set forth
below, the Court ADOPTS the Magistrate
Judge's Report and Recommendation and
DENIES Defendant's Motion to Suppress.
September 27, 2018, the Grand Jury returned an indictment
charging Defendant with being an unlawful user of a
controlled substance, who knowingly possessed a firearm, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3). (ECF No. 2.)
Defendant pleaded not guilty. In his Motion to Suppress and
Supporting Memorandum, Defendant asks the Court to suppress
“any and all physical evidence whether tangible or
intangible; any statements or admissions alleged to have been
made by the Defendant; any and all observations of law
enforcement officers and any other tangible or intangible
evidence obtained during or as a direct or indirect result
from the search of he and his parents' residence located
in Memphis, Tennessee . . . .” (ECF No. 25 at PageID
evidentiary hearing on this motion, the Government called as
witnesses two officers with the Multi-Agency Gang Unit of the
Memphis Police Department, Officer James Reed and Detective
Cody Mills. Defendant called one witness, his father, J.T.
Spencer, and Defendant also testified. As Magistrate Judge
Pham noted, “[b]oth sides provided drastically
different accounts of the events at issue in the instant
motion.” (ECF No. 35 at PageID 213.)
to the officers' testimony, they, along with other
members of the Multi-Agency Gang Unit, went to
Defendant's home on February 1, 2018. (ECF 34 at PageID
56-57, 102-03.) They had been instructed to arrest Defendant
because he had threatened to shoot a police officer.
(Id.) Officer Reed, Detective Mills, and one other
officer approached the residence and knocked on the door.
(Id. at PageID 58, 103-04.) None of the officers had
their weapons drawn. (Id. at PageID 74-75, 80, 84.)
Prior to the officers approaching the residence,
approximately seven to ten additional officers set up a
perimeter around the residence. (Id. at PageID 58,
father, J.T. Spencer, answered the door. (Id. at
PageID 58, 76, 117.) The officers asked if Defendant was at
the residence, and Mr. Spencer advised he was and asked what
was going on. (Id. at PageID 58-59, 76, 85, 118.)
The officers told Mr. Spencer that Defendant was part of an
ongoing investigation, and asked Mr. Spencer for permission
to enter the residence. (Id. at 59, 85, 103.) Mr.
Spencer told the officers they could come in and pointed them
down the hallway towards Defendant's bedroom.
(Id. at PageID 59, 85, 103, 119.) The officers
entered the bedroom and found Defendant in his underwear.
(Id. at PageID 60-61, 105-06, 120.) Defendant was
handcuffed, and Detective Mills escorted Defendant from the
residence and placed him in the back of a squad car.
(Id. at Page ID 61-62, 93, 106, 121.) During this
time, Officer Reed remained inside the residence, standing in
the doorway of Defendant's bedroom to secure the bedroom
and make sure no one entered or exited. (Id. at
being placed in the back of the squad car, Defendant asked
Detective Mills if he could get him some clothing because
Defendant was cold being outside in only his underwear in
February. (Id. at PageID 106.) Detective Mills then
went back inside the residence to get some clothes for
Defendant. (Id. at PageID 107.) Detective Mills
retrieved pieces of clothing that were lying on the bed and
floor of Defendant's bedroom. (Id. at 64, 107.)
At that time, Officer Reed pointed out to Detective Mills
marijuana residue that he had noticed on top of the dresser
in Defendant's bedroom. (Id. at 63, 107.) When
Detective Mills turned to look at the dresser to see the
marijuana, he noticed there was a gun sitting inside the
second drawer, which was slightly ajar. (Id. at
PageID 64, 108.) The gun was of concern to the officers
because Defendant had made a threat to shoot an officer.
(Id. at PageID 70.) Detective Mills brought the gun
to Officer Reed's attention. (Id. at 70, 94-95.)
Detective Mills then went to the living room to ask Mr.
Spencer for consent to search the bedroom while Officer Reed
remained in the hallway near Defendant's bedroom door.
(Id. at 95-96.) After receiving consent to search
from Mr. Spencer and Defendant, the officers seized the
firearm. (Id. at 111-12, 131-33.)
to the testimony of Mr. Spencer and Defendant, on the morning
in question, Mr. Spencer was about to leave his residence
when he noticed seven or eight unmarked police cars
approaching the house. (Id. at PageID 135.) Mr.
Spencer went back inside to tell his wife and Defendant that
the police were at the house. (Id.) As Mr. Spencer
was walking back down the hallway toward the front door, the
police came through the door without permission and asked if
Defendant was there. (Id. at PageID 137-38.) The
officers continued into the residence and found Defendant in
the hallway attempting to put on his pants. (Id. at
PageID 138-39.) The officers removed Defendant from the
residence, and Mr. Spencer and his wife were asked to sit on
the couch in the living room. (Id. at PageID
139-40.) While seated in the living room, Mr. Spencer could
hear officers opening his son's dresser drawers and
searching the bedroom. (Id. at PageID 99.) Mr.
Spencer signed a consent to search form, but this was only
after the officers had searched Defendant's bedroom and
found the firearm. (Id. at PageID 150.)
Judge Pham found “the testimony of the officers to be
credible and the testimony of the defendant and J.T. Spencer
to be not credible.” (ECF No. 35 at PageID 216.)
Ultimately, Magistrate Judge Pham concluded that
(1) the officers sought and obtained permission from J.T.
Spencer to enter his residence to look for defendant; (2) the
drawer where the firearm was found was already partially open
when the officers initially entered the defendant's
bedroom; and (3) the officers did not open any of the drawers
or conduct a search of the bedroom prior to seeing the
(ECF No. 35 at PageID 216-17.)