United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
Corbett O'Meara United States District Judge.
the court is Defendant's motion to suppress evidence. The
court heard oral argument on December 1, 2016, and took the
matter under advisement. For the reasons explained below,
Defendant's motion is denied.
John Cortez Lamb is charged with two counts of felon in
possession of a firearm and one count of illegally possessing
ammunition. See 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). These
charges arose from a Detroit Police investigation of a murder
and attempted murder in October 2015. During the course of
the investigation, Detroit police officers linked Rufus
Thomas to both shootings. He was associated with both
vehicles that were identified as used by the shooters. On
October 29, 2015, Thomas was arrested in a stolen Chevy Trail
Blazer that was the same as the vehicle seen following the
murder victim shortly before the shooting.
search of Thomas's phone from his arrest showed that on
October 4, 2015, Thomas sent a text to Defendant's
Lamb's phone, which stated: “Need to use that M4
[firearm] bro, Ima just pull up on them. Shit to structured
to talk to them in front of the place.” An
“M4" is an assault rifle capable of shooting .223
caliber ammunition, one of the types that was recovered at
the scene of the murder. (.357 caliber and .40 caliber shell
casings were also recovered at the scenes of the shootings.)
October 17, 2015, and December 19, 2015, Thomas posted images
on his Facebook page that showed him in possession of an
AK-47, which is capable of firing .223 caliber ammunition and
a semi-automatic handgun that appears to be capable of firing
.357 sig ammunition. On January 3, 2016, Thomas posted a
photo on Instagram showing a similar semi-automatic handgun.
January 3, 2016, Defendant John Lamb, Rufus Thomas, and
Joseph Lamb were detained together near 12201 Morang,
Detroit, after one of them dropped a .40 caliber Glock
handgun. According to Secretary of State records, John Lamb
changed his address to 5444 Holcomb, Detroit, on January 6,
2016. Other residents registered to that address were Joseph
Lamb, Mikieta Lamb, Charlene Lamb, Charles Lamb, and Tina
search warrant was obtained for the location data on
Thomas's cell phone on January 25, 2016. On January 29,
2016, state police received location data showing that
Thomas's cell phone on Holcomb, in the vicinity of 5444
upon the belief that Defendant Lamb aided Thomas by providing
firearms for the murder, Detroit Police sought a search
warrant for 5444 Holcomb on February 2, 2016. The affiant
noted the connections between Defendant Lamb and Thomas and
stated that, based upon his training and experience,
“firearms, unlike narcotics or cash, are kept for a
longer period of time . . . [and] are often kept hidden for
ease of access in places frequented or friendly to the
illegal possessor.” The warrant was executed at 5444
Holcomb on February 3, 2016, and resulted in the recovery of
firearms, firearm accessories, a bullet resistant vest, and
electronic devices, including a ZTE cell phone. A search of
the ZTE cell phone revealed images taken on October 10, 2015,
of Defendant Lamb in possession of the firearms found at 5444
Holcomb on February 3, 2016.
up on this information, federal agents obtained and executed
a search warrant at 3919 17th Street, Detroit. The
officers also had a warrant to arrest Defendant Lamb. During
the search, officers recovered a Ruger P95 handgun with a
defaced serial number and controlled substances.
contends that there was insufficient probable cause for both
search warrants and that the information in the warrant
affidavits was stale. Defendant seeks to suppress the
evidence seized at both 5444 Holcomb and 3919 17th
issuance of a search warrant requires probable cause. U.S.
Const. Amend. IV. Probable cause exists when there is
“‘a fair probability, ' given the totality of
the circumstances, that contraband or evidence of a crime
will be found in a particular place.” United States
v. Davidson, 936 F.2d 856, 859 (6th Cir.
1991) (citation omitted). “The standard of review for
the sufficiency of an affidavit is whether the magistrate had
a substantial basis for finding that the affidavit
established probable cause to believe that the evidence would
be found at the place cited.” United States v.
Greene, 250 F.3d 471, 478 (6th Cir. 2001)
(citation omitted). The magistrate's determination of
probable cause is afforded great deference, and that
determination should only be set aside if the magistrate
arbitrarily exercised his discretion. Id.
a preliminary matter, stale information cannot be used in a
probable cause determination.” United States v.
Frechette, 583 F.3d 374, 377 (6th Cir. 2009).
“The staleness inquiry depends on the ...