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United States v. Lombard

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

November 3, 2016

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Terrance Lombard, Defendant.

          OPINION & ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS

          Sean F. Cox United States District Judge

         In this criminal action, Defendant Terrance Lombard (“Lombard”) is charged with drug offenses. The matter is currently before the Court on Lombard's Motion to Suppress. The motion has been fully briefed by the parties and the Court held an evidentiary hearing on October 26, 2016. For the reasons set forth below, the Court shall DENY the motion.

         BACKGROUND

         Lombard is charged with: 1) Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(a)(1) (Count One); and 2) Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (Count Two). The Indictment also contains forfeiture allegations.

         Defendant recently filed two motions: 1) a motion requesting leave to file a motion to suppress (D.E. No. 31); and 2) a Motion to Suppress (D.E. No. 30). This Court granted leave to file the late Motion to Suppress, via a text-only order on October 17, 2016.

         The charges in this action arise out of an incident that took place in March of 2013. On March 22, 2013, Lombard was pulled over by the police while he was driving an automobile.

         Lombard's motion and brief assert that the stop and subsequent search of his vehicle were illegal. In his Motion to Suppress, Defendant Lombard challenges the stop of his vehicle, and its subsequent search, in a very general way. Lombard asserts that an evidentiary hearing is needed to establish the facts surrounding the stop and the subsequent search.

         In response, the Government contends that Lombard's motion should be denied because: 1) a police officer stopped Lombard after a traffic infraction and had at least reasonable suspicion that the vehicle contained evidence of drug trafficking; 2) the officer making the stop had probable cause to search the vehicle, including because a trained and certified drug dog indicated the vehicle contained drugs; and 3) in any event, there was probable cause to search the vehicle based on information from a wiretap and observations by law enforcement officers prior to the stop.

         With the issues so framed by the parties, the Court held an evidentiary hearing on October 26, 2016.

         The Government called the following individuals as witnesses at the evidentiary hearing: 1) Officer Richard Chipman; and 2) Officer Brian Shock. The Defense cross-examined those witnesses.

         The Government admitted a number of exhibits: 1) Affidavit in Support of Wiretap; 2) Phoenix Police Department Report, dated March 27, 2013; 3) DEA Report by Special Agent Ryan McCormick, dated April 3, 2013; 4) Roseville Police Department Report by Officer Shock, dated March 23, 2013; 5) Royal Oak Police Department Report by Officer Chipman, dated March 23, 2013; 6) DEA Report by Special Agent Jeffrey Campbell, dated April 3, 2013; 7) a video from a DEA camera[1]; 8) an audio recording from the Arizona wiretap; and 9) transcripts of Arizona wiretap recordings.[2]

         Defendant admitted the following exhibits: A) photographs of PVC pipes; and B) a Chemical Analysis Report.

         FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

         Having heard and observed the witnesses who testified at the evidentiary hearing, allowing for this Court to assess credibility, having considered the arguments presented by counsel, and having applied the governing legal principles, the Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         Lieutenant Brian Shock has been employed by the Roseville Police Department for approximately eighteen years. On March 22, 2013, Officer Shock was working patrol in a ...


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