United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
WILLIAM L. CAMPBELL, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Suppress (Doc.
No. 17). The Government filed a response (Doc. No. 18), and
the Defendant filed a reply (Doc. No. 20). Through the
Motion, Defendant seeks to suppress items recovered from the
search of his residence pursuant to a search warrant. The
Court held a hearing on the Motion on July 24, 2019. After
the hearing, the Court directed the parties to file
supplemental briefs. The parties have now filed those briefs.
(Doc. Nos. 33, 34, 35).
events in question occurred on July 17, 2018, between
approximately 9:00 p.m. and sometime after midnight. The four
Metro Nashville Police detectives involved, Michael Freels,
Jonathan Jones, Bradley Hambrick, and Justin Miller,
testified as witnesses at the hearing on the motion. (Doc.
No. 32). The detectives also testified at preliminary hearing
in state court on July 24, 2018. (Doc. Nos. 17-4, 17-5,
17-6). In addition, the detectives documented the events in
question in reports filed on July 19, 2018. (Doc. Nos. 17-1,
officers testified that on July 17, 2018, at approximately
8:45 p.m., detectives Jonathan Jones and Michael Freels were
conducting surveillance of a house believed to be involved in
narcotics trafficking. (Doc. No. 32 at PageID# 222). The
detectives observed a gray Nissan Altima arrive and park in
front of the house under surveillance. (Id.) An
individual, later identified as Dvanne Howard, exited the
vehicle, went inside one of the residences for a “very
brief period, ” got back in the Nissan and drove off.
(Id. at PageID# 222-23).
radioed his fellow officers, Detectives Bradley Hambrick and
Justin Miller, to see if they could “get a traffic
stop” of the Nissan. (Id.) Hambrick and Miller
observed the Nissan speeding and attempted to conduct a
traffic stop. (Id. at PageID# 263-64). The
Nissan stopped briefly, and Mr. Howard exited the Nissan from
the passenger side and ran off. (Id. at PageID#
264). Miller exited the police car and called out “stop
police” several times. (Id. at PageID # 300).
Miller testified that he “detected an obvious and
strong odor of marijuana coming from the car.”
(Id.) Hambrick, who was in the driver's seat
with the door and window closed and the air conditioning
running, testified that he detected a “very strong odor
of marijuana in the air” when Miller opened his door.
(Id. at PageID# 264, 281). He emphasized, “I
mean, it was very strong.” (Id. at PageID#
detectives did not pursue the Nissan, but instead searched
the general area for Mr. Howard. (Id. at PageID#
265). Freels and Jones saw an individual matching Mr.
Howard's description walking a few blocks from the
location of the attempted traffic stop. (Id. at
PageID# 312). Freels and Jones radioed Hambrick and Miller,
who responded to the location.
testified that once he identified the pedestrian as the same
person who fled from the Nissan, “Detectives Freels and
Jones kind of pulled in front of him. And when they went to
get out of their car, Mr. Howard was going to run again. He
turned and started to run back towards us, but we pulled up
behind him, at which point he threw his hands up and laid
down.” He continued, “Once he laid down, he was
placed into handcuffs, stood up. A search was conducted. No
weapons or contraband was found on him.” (Id.
at PageID# 266). When asked why he would conduct a search,
Hambrick responded, “I mean, just - based on the odor
of marijuana. I could detain him based on that. The odor of
marijuana coming from the car would make me be able to detain
him and search his person for illegal narcotics, which a
weapon would fall into the scope of that search.”
(Id. at PageID# 266-67).
testified at the preliminary hearing in general session court
that when he saw Mr. Howard, he got out of the car
“began giving verbal commands to get on the
ground.” (Doc. 17-4 at PageID# 70).
Q: And so you seized him?
Q: He was not free to leave?
A: No sir.
Q: He was under arrest?
A: At that point yes sir.
Q: What had he done earlier that would have justified an
A: The odor of marijuana that was observed whenever we - when
Detective Miller opened the door would have given probable
cause to seize the car and the people in it; so, when he fled
on foot that was my reason for ...