Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Baez

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

June 1, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JONATHAN BAEZ, Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE (ECF #18)

MATTHEW F. LEITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

INTRODUCTION

On September 16, 2014, Defendant Jonathan Baez (“Baez”) was driving on Interstate-94 (“I-94”) in Van Buren County when a Michigan State Trooper pulled him over for driving under the posted speed limit. During initial questioning of Baez, the officer detected the odor of marijuana coming from Baez’s car. The officer subsequently obtained Baez’s consent to search the vehicle, and the officer discovered a hidden compartment filled with drugs and weapons. Baez now challenges the search of his car and moves to suppress the evidence discovered during that search (the “Motion to Suppress”). (See ECF #18.) For all of the reasons stated below, the Court DENIES the Motion to Suppress.

FACTUAL FINDINGS

The Court held an evidentiary hearing on the Motion to Suppress on March 6, 2015. (See Transcript, ECF #21.) Baez was present for the hearing, but he did not testify. Based on all of the evidence presented at the hearing, the Court makes the following factual findings:

1. On September 16, 2014, at approximately 12:20 p.m., Baez was driving a Toyota Highlander eastbound on I-94, in Van Buren County. (See Tr. at 8-9, Pg. ID 85-86.)[1]

2. At this same time, Michigan State Trooper Brian Bierema (“Trooper Bierema”) was on patrol in the area where Baez was driving. (See Tr. at 7, Pg. ID 84.)

3. Trooper Bierema works as part of a canine unit and was accompanied on his patrol by his assigned police dog, Hank. (See Id. at 5-6, Pg. ID 82-83.) Hank has received specialized training in recognizing the order of narcotics and marijuana, and Hank signals an alert when he detects such odors. Trooper Bierema received training in how to handle Hank and how to recognize his alert signal. Hank and Trooper Bierema have passed annual evaluations concerning their ability to accurately detect the odor of narcotics and marijuana. (See Id. at 6-7, Pg. ID 83-84.)

4. During his patrol, Trooper Bierema observed Baez travelling on I-94 at a speed of 49 miles per hour. (See Id. at 11, Pg. ID 88.)

5. The minimum speed limit on the relevant section of I-94 was 55 miles per hour. (See id.)

6. Trooper Bierema stopped Baez’s car because Baez was in “violation of [the] basic speed law” (i.e., Baez was driving under the posted speed limit). (Id. at 12-13, Pg. ID 89-90.)

7. After pulling Baez’s car to the side of the road, Trooper Bierema approached Baez’s passenger-side window, identified himself, and asked for Baez’s driver’s license and registration. (See Id. at 13, Pg. ID 90.)

8. As Trooper Bierema initially began to speak with Baez, Trooper Bierema detected the odor of marijuana coming from Baez’s vehicle. (See Id. at 14, Pg. ID 91.) Not more than three minutes elapsed between the time Trooper Bierema first stopped Baez and the time Trooper Bierema detected the smell of marijuana as he spoke with Baez. (See Id. at 35, Pg. ID 112.)

9. After completing his initial questioning of Baez, Trooper Bierema returned to his police car to determine if Baez’s license and other paperwork was valid. (See Id. at 14-17, Pg. ID 91-94.)

10. While Trooper Bierema was in his police car, he made the decision to remove Baez from his vehicle as a result of the marijuana odor he detected. (See Id. at 18, Pg. ID 95.)

11. While still in his car, Trooper Bierema used an in-car messaging system to request that a second officer come to the scene. Two additional troopers eventually joined Trooper Bierema on the scene. (See id.)

12. Trooper Bierema then returned to Baez’s vehicle and asked Baez to step out of his car. (See Id. at 19, Pg. ID 96.)

13. Baez exited his vehicle, and Trooper Bierema asked him “some questions regarding the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.