United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
SUPPRESS AND SETTING SCHEDULING ORDER DATES
L. LUDINGTON United States District Judge
25, 2016, Defendant Talmadge Derrell Barnes was indicted on
one count of being a felon in possession of ammunition. ECF
No. 1. The indictment included a forfeiture allegation.
Attorney, Jeffrey J. Rupp, was appointed on the same day to
represent Barnes. ECF No. 3-4. On June 22, 2016, a
superseding indictment was issued which contained the two
original counts and added a count charging Barnes with being
a felon in possession of a firearm. ECF No. 16. On August 30,
2016, Mr. Rupp filed a motion to withdraw as Barnes's
attorney and Barton W. Morris, Jr., entered an appearance on
Barnes's behalf. ECF Nos. 24, 25. The Court held a
hearing on Barnes's motion for the withdrawal of his
appointed attorney on September 22, 2016. Based on Mr.
Morris's in-court representations and an affidavit filed
after the hearing, the Court granted the motion for
withdrawal and allowed Mr. Morris to substitute for Mr. Rupp.
ECF No. 31. A second superseding indictment was issued on
September 14, 2016, which added two additional counts:
possession of crack cocaine and possession of marijuana. ECF
October 24, 2016, Barnes filed a motion to suppress evidence.
ECF No. 36. In the motion, Barnes argues that his car was
unconstitutionally searched and that evidence found as a
result of that search should be suppressed. On January 4,
2017, an evidentiary hearing on the motion to suppress was
conducted. For the reasons stated below, Barnes's motion
to suppress will be denied.
arresting officers testified at the suppression hearing.
Michigan State Police Trooper Adam Whited testified that the
vehicle was initially stopped for failure to utilize a turn
signal and because an object had been thrown from the
passenger window after the stop was initiated. Hearing Tr. at
7, ECF No. 40. When Trooper Whited began talking with the
vehicle's driver, Barnes, he noticed a “tied off
corner bagging sitting right between his legs.”
Id. at 8. Because tied-off baggies are “a
common way for narcotics to be packaged and transported,
Trooper Whited asked Barnes if there were illegal substances
in the car. Id. When Trooper Whited specifically
referenced the plastic baggie, Barnes concealed the item
underneath himself. Id. At this point, Trooper
Whited directed Barnes to exit the vehicle. Id. at
9. Barnes hesitated. Trooper Whited then opened the door and
gave multiple verbal commands to exit. Id. Because
Barnes remained noncompliant, Trooper Whited grabbed
Barnes's wrists and arms to “prevent him from
destroying any evidence or trying to reach for anything in
the vehicle.” Id. Barnes eventually stepped
out of the vehicle, but continued trying to pull away from
Trooper Whited. Id. Trooper Whited's partner,
Trooper Kemerer, assisted Trooper Whited in handcuffing
Barnes. Id. In total, Barnes took several minutes to
exit the vehicle.
Barnes was handcuffed, Trooper Whited searched his person,
finding a Ziploc bag. Id. at 11. Trooper Kemerer
then examined the tied-off plastic baggie, but did not open
it. Id. at 20. Trooper Kemerer testified that he
“immediately recognized the substance inside as
suspected marijuana” from the feel of the baggie.
Id. at 28. The officers then searched the vehicle,
finding more illegal drugs and firearms. Id. at
general, warrantless searches and seizures presumptively
violate the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment provides:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons,
houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches
and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall
issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or
affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be
searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
U.S. const. amend IV.
several exceptions to the warrant requirement exist,
including an exception for searches incident to a lawful
arrest. Arizona v. Gant, 556 U.S. 332, 338 (2009).
The rationale for the exception is derived from the interest
in protecting officers and preserving evidence. Id.
Supreme Court has delineated two bases on which officers can
search a vehicle incident to a lawful arrest. First, if the
“arrestee is unsecured and within reaching distance of
the passenger compartment at the time of the search, ”
police can search the vehicle. Id. at 343. This
exception is meant to ensure that the arrestee cannot destroy
evidence or obtain weapons. Second, if it is
“‘reasonable to believe evidence relevant to the
crime of arrest might be found in the vehicle, '”
then the vehicle can be searched even if the arrestee has
been safely secured and is not within reaching distance of
the vehicle's passenger compartment. Id. at
343-44 (quoting Thornton v. United States, 541 U.S.
615, 632 (2004) (Scalia, J., concurring)).
argues that the troopers did not have probable cause to
arrest him and thus that the search of the vehicle was not
incident to a lawful arrest. In response, the Government
asserts that the ...