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United States v. Abbott

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

April 4, 2017

D-1, DERRIN ABBOTT, Defendant.



         The United States charged Defendant Derrin Abbott with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, possession of stolen firearms, and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Abbott alleges the Government conducted two illegal searches and he therefore filed a motion to suppress evidence seized during the searches. For the reasons stated below, the Court will deny the motion.


         On March 23, 2016, police officers executed a state search warrant at XXX39 Arlington, in Detroit, Michigan. ECF 36-2. The search warrant affidavit set forth an eight-page chronology of suspected criminal activity connected to Abbott and the XXX39 Arlington residence. Also, the affidavit noted that the affiant had served as a Detroit Police Officer for 17 years and was assigned to the Violent Crime Task Force. ECF 36-2, PgID 182. While executing the warrant, police recovered information confirming that Abbott resides at XXX39 and that both XXX39 and XXX45 Arlington have Abbott's name on registration documents. They also recovered clothing items worn in a recent series of robberies, cell phones, laptop computers, cameras, firearms, ammunition, baseball hats, gym shoes, and video games. During the search, officers spoke to Abbott's girlfriend, Randesha Sutton. Based on the information Sutton provided and other evidence found at XXX39 Arlington, police officers obtained a search warrant for XXX45 Arlington. ECF 36-3. The same affiant authored the search warrant affidavits for both residences. The XXX45 affidavit repeated the supporting facts from the XXX39 affidavit, and added an additional paragraph of information obtained from Sutton and the search of XXX39 Arlington. Id. ¶ 40.

         At XXX45 Arlington, police recovered stolen video games and consoles, marijuana, numerous firearms, ammunition, cell phones, and several television sets. The Government charged Abbott with multiple crimes, and his motion to suppress followed.


         The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects "[t]he right of the people to be secure . . . against unreasonable searches and seizures[.]" U.S. Const. amend. IV. To secure the right, the Amendment provides that "no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation[.]" Id. "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) (quotations omitted). And an affidavit-serving as an Oath or affirmation-"must contain adequate supporting facts about the underlying circumstances to show that probable cause exists." United States v. Weaver, 99 F.3d 1372, 1377 (6th Cir. 1996).

         When making a probable-cause determination, the "magistrate is simply to make a practical, common-sense decision" given the totality of the facts. Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 238 (1983). And when reviewing a search warrant, courts must give "great deference" to the magistrate's determination while ensuring that the magistrate "had a substantial basis for concluding that probable cause existed." Id. at 236, 238-39 (alterations omitted). A magistrate's probable cause determination "should be reversed only if arbitrarily made." United States v. Jackson, 470 F.3d 299, 306 (6th Cir. 2006).

         I. Probable Cause

         Abbott argues that the search-warrant affidavits failed to establish probable cause because the affidavits contained only stale, unreliable, and unverified information.

         The nine-page search-warrant affidavits laid out-in considerable detail-a chronology of supporting facts related to a series of robberies, Abbott, and the Arlington residences:

• Abbott's telephone was used shortly before, during, or immediately after fourteen robberies that occurred from October 2015 to March 2016. ECF 36-2, 36-3 ¶¶ 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 24, 29, 30.
• During a December 8, 2015 robbery, police observed Abbott's 2007 Buick parked near the robbery location with a crow bar laying across the back seat floor board. Id. ¶ 16.
• On February 1, 2016, shortly after a robbery occurred, Abbott's girlfriend, Sutton, posted a picture of herself on Facebook laying in a bed covered with money. Id. ΒΆ 22. She and the Defendant both ...

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