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United States v. Bender

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

October 30, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
RICARDO BENDER

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          WILLIAM L. CAMPBELL, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence (Doc. No. 18). The Government filed a Response (Doc. No. 20) and Plaintiff filed a Reply (Doc. No. 21). Through the Motion, Defendant seeks to suppress items seized from his home and car on March 27, 2019, during the execution of a search warrant. The Court held a hearing on the Motion on October 29, 2019. For the reasons discussed below, Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

         I. FACTS

         In March of 2019, Wilson County Detectives received information from an anonymous person that Defendant was staying at 3825 Bonnacreek Drive. (Doc. No. 18-1 at 4). Defendant was known to law enforcement to have an outstanding Federal Probation violation warrant as well as multiple warrants out of Wilson County. (Doc. No. 18-1 at 4).

         On March 27, 2019, Defendant was arrested at 3825 Bonnacreek Drive with a small bag of marijuana on his person. (Doc. No. 18-1 at 4; Doc. No. 20 at 2; Doc. No. 21 at 2). Detectives also detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from the door that Defendant was exiting from at 3825 Bonnacreek Drive while he was being taken into custody. (Doc. No. 18-1 at 4). A black 1998 Lexus (“black Lexus”) was parked outside the door of 3825 Bonnacreek Drive, and detectives had observed Defendant driving the black Lexus on multiple occasions. (Doc. No. 18-1 at 4).

         On March 27, 2019, Detective Byrnes of the Metropolitan Nashville Davidson County Police Department applied to a Davidson County General Sessions Judge (the “Magistrate” or “issuing Judge”) for a warrant to search the single family home at 3825 Bonnacreek Drive and the black Lexus parked at that address. (Doc. No. 18-1). In his affidavit, Detective Byrnes swore the following, in an effort to establish the requisite probable cause:

1. In March of 2019, Wilson County Detectives received information from an anonymous person that a Mr. Ricardo Bender was staying at 3825 Bonnacreek Drive. Mr. Bender was known to law enforcement to have an outstanding Federal Probation violation warrant as well as multiple warrants out of Wilson County.
2. On 03/7/2019 U.S. Marshals Task Force with the assistance of Wilson County Detectives observed Mr. Bender leave the back door of 3825 Bonnacreek Drive. Mr. Bender was taken into custody without incident. On Mr. Bender's person, detectives located a small bag of marijuana.
3. After Mr. Bender was in custody, Detectives also detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from the door that Mr. Bender was exiting while being taken into custody.
4. A black 1998 Lexus LS400 (Tag: 672YZG VIN: JT8BH28F8W0105558) was parked directly outside the door that Mr. Bender was exiting from. Detectives have observed Mr. Bender driving that vehicle on multiple occasions.

(Doc. No. 18-1 at 4).

         Based on the above facts, Detective Byrnes swore that he believed “other person(s) occupying the residence may be keeping controlled substances, drug paraphernalia, drug proceeds, records of expenditures, etc. at 3825 Bonnacreek Drive.” (Doc. No. 18-1 at 5). He therefore sought a warrant to search the house and the vehicle. In doing so, Detective Byrnes relied on his experience, training, and knowledge. (Doc. No. 18-1 at 3-5). Based on this information, the Magistrate issued a search warrant on March 27, 2019, for 3825 Bonnacreek Drive and the black Lexus. (Doc. No. 18-2). Later that same day, police executed the search warrant. During the search, officers located a small baggie of marijuana outside the garage, scales and a ten-dollar bill with white powder in the black Lexus, and five marijuana roaches, a pistol, 2.3 grams of crack cocaine, 7.4 grams of oxymorphone, and suboxone pills in 3825 Bonnacreek Drive. (Doc. No. 18-3).

         II. ANALYSIS

         Defendant moves to suppress the evidence found during the execution of the search warrant, arguing that the affidavit supporting the search warrant application did not establish probable cause for issuance of a warrant and, as a result, the search violates the Fourth Amendment. The Government argues that the affidavit established probable cause and that, even if it did not, the search was valid under the so called ...


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