United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Greeneville Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
CLIFTON L. CORKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Devon Miles Guinn, has filed a Motion to Suppress [Doc. 15].
The United States filed a Response in Opposition [Doc. 22].
This matter is before the Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 636(b)
and the standing orders of the District Court for a Report
Thursday, June 6, 2019, the Court conducted an evidentiary
hearing on Defendant's motion. Present at the hearing
were Defendant, his counsel, James T. Bowman, Esq. and Helen
Nicole Himebaugh, Esq., and Assistant United States Attorney
Robert Reeves, Esq. and AUSA intern K.C. Kettler. Testifying
at the hearing were Officers John Bulla, Matthew Gryder, and
Brian Williams. This matter is now ripe for resolution. For
the reasons stated herein, the undersigned RECOMMENDS the
Motion to Suppress [Doc. 15] be DENIED.
January 8, 2019, a federal grand jury returned an indictment
against Defendant charging him with conspiracy to distribute
50 grams or more of methamphetamine under 21 U.S.C.
§§ 846 and 841(b)(1)(A), being a felon in
possession of a weapon under 18 U.S.C. § 922 (g)(1), and
possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking
offense under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) [Doc. 3]. On
March 29, 2019, Defendant filed a Motion to Suppress [Doc.
15], seeking to suppress an incriminating statement he made
to law enforcement officers after his arrest. He claimed that
because officers lacked probable cause to arrest him, his
subsequent confession should be suppressed as having been
obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The United
States has made a number of arguments in response [Doc. 22].
First, it argues that officers had probable cause to arrest
Defendant for possessing drug paraphernalia and
methamphetamine. Second, it argues that even if probable
cause were lacking, officers had a reasonable suspicion to
detain Defendant and that the detention lasted no longer than
necessary. Third, the United States argues that if the Court
were to find that both the arrest and detention violated the
Fourth Amendment, Defendant's statements should still be
admitted because Defendant's statements were
“‘sufficiently an act of free will to purge the
primary taint.'” Brown v. Illinois, 422.
U.S. 590 (1975) (citing Wong Sun v. United States,
371 U.S. 471, 486, 83 S.Ct. 407, 9 L.Ed.2d 441 (1963)).
FINDINGS OF FACT
approximately 8:21 a.m. on November 1, 2018, officers from
various police departments and federal agencies arrived at
306 ½ East D Street, Apartment #2, Elizabethton,
Tennessee to arrest Casey Howren on a federal warrant. After
initially knocking on the glass door, which was covered with
blinds on the inside, Officers Bulla and Gryder heard
movement within the apartment. Upon knocking on the door
again, the blinds fell off the door, permitting Officer Bulla
to see directly into the apartment. He immediately observed
an individual, later identified as Michael Arnold, laying on
the couch beside a coffee table with a large pink bong and a
glass pipe used for ingesting narcotics.
Bulla asked Arnold to open the door, which he did. Officer
Bulla entered the apartment and observed on the coffee table
additional glass pipes and white residue that appeared to be
methamphetamine. At this time, Howren and Defendant exited
the bedroom and entered the living room where the officers
were present. Officers arrested Howren on the warrant.
then performed a protective sweep to determine if anyone else
was in the apartment. During that sweep, officers discovered
what appeared to be more methamphetamine in a plastic bag
that had been placed in a shoe in the living room and, in the
bedroom where Howren and Defendant had just exited, four
glass pipes and a syringe laying out on the bedside table.
All of these items were in plain view. Officers arrested both
Arnold and Defendant for possession of methamphetamine and
drug paraphernalia and transported them to the Carter County
9:30 a.m., after Howren refused to give consent to search the
apartment, officers sought and obtained a state search
warrant. During the search, officers found additional
methamphetamine, multicolored pills, and a handgun. At
approximately 1:16 p.m., officers met with Defendant at the
jail where he waived his Miranda rights and gave an
incriminating statement regarding his possession of
methamphetamine and the firearm.
first issue the Court addresses is the propriety of the
officers entering the residence of Ms. Casey Howren. The
Fourth Amendment 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. Searches and
seizures inside a home without a warrant are presumptively
unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment. El Bey v.
Roop, 530 F.3d 407, 415 (6th Cir. 2008). However,
“for Fourth Amendment purposes, an arrest warrant
founded on probable cause implicitly carries with it the
limited authority to enter a dwelling in which the suspect
lives when there is reason to believe the suspect is
within.” Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 603
(1980). An arrest warrant is sufficient to enter a residence
if the officers, by looking at common sense factors and
evaluating the totality of the circumstances, establish a
reasonable belief that the subject of the arrest warrant is
within the residence at the time. United States v.
Pruitt, 458 F.3d 477, 482 (6th Cir. 2006). In this case,
officers went to the residence of the very individual they
sought to arrest, Ms. Casey Howren. Their entry in the
residence was proper, and Defendant does not challenge that.
the officers properly entered the residence, they immediately
discovered drug paraphernalia and identified what appeared to
be methamphetamine on the coffee table right in front of
Arnold. Soon after they entered and made that discovery,
Howren and Defendant come out of the bedroom and enter the
living room where the officers are. During the protective
sweep, officers discovered more drug paraphernalia in the
bedroom where Defendant had just exited. It was only after
this discovery that officers arrested Defendant.
argues officers lacked probable cause to arrest him. To be
sure, officers arrested Defendant without a warrant. However,
“a warrantless arrest by a law officer is reasonable
under the Fourth Amendment where there is probable cause to
believe that a criminal offense has been or is being
committed.” Devenpeck v. Alford, 543 U.S. 146,
153 (2004). “Whether probable cause exists depends upon
the reasonable conclusion to be drawn from the facts known to
the arresting officer at the time of the arrest.”
Id. (citing Maryland v. Pringle, 540 U.S.
366, 371 (2003). Courts “look to the totality of the
circumstances and decide whether the historical facts, viewed
from the standpoint of an objectively reasonable police
officer, amount to probable cause.” United States
v. Brooks, 270 Fed.Appx. 382, 384 (6th Cir. 2008)
(citing Pringle, 540 U.S. at 370) (internal
quotation marks omitted). As such, “probable ...