United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT BILLY
ARNOLD'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS [DOC. 583]
CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court on defendant Billy Arnold's
motion to suppress all items seized without a warrant
following his arrest on September 26, 2015, and for the entry
of an Order suppressing all data and information acquired
from the seizure and search of six cellular telephones based
on a search warrant later obtained. The court held oral
argument on the motion on August 31, 2017. For the reasons
stated in this order, defendant's motion to suppress is
September 2015, the FBI was investigating the Seven Mile
Bloods (SMB) street gang for a variety of crimes, including
racketeering, murder, non-fatal shootings, weapon possession
and narcotics distribution. The FBI became aware that several
SMB members were planning to attend a party on September 25,
2015 for one of their deceased members, Devon McClure, who
had been murdered on May 1, 2015. The party was held at the
Crazy Horse Adult Entertainment Club in Detroit.
FBI, Michigan State Police and Detroit Police Department set
up surveillance on the club to identify SMB members, to
identify vehicles they were driving, and to arrest any
individuals who may have outstanding arrest warrants.
Slightly before midnight, law enforcement witnessed defendant
Arnold and co-defendant Steven Arthur arrive together in a
blue 2002 Chevy Trailblazer. Law enforcement entered the
license plate number into its database and the vehicle came
back as reported stolen in Detroit on September 6, 2015. The
FBI case agent alerted all of the surveillance teams about
the stolen vehicle and it was decided to attempt to stop the
vehicle for further investigation when it left the parking
lot. Arthur and Arnold left the club together in the early
morning of September 26, 2015, with Arthur driving and Arnold
in the front passenger seat.
marked Detroit Police patrol car activated its lights to
alert the individuals in the Trailblazer of its intent to
pull the vehicle over. Instead, Arthur sped up and led the
officers on a high speed chase at speeds exceeding 100 miles
per hour on I-94 in Detroit. The chase ended when the
Trailblazer exited from I-94 onto I-75. Arthur lost control
of the vehicle and it ran up the embankment of the exit's
curve. Both tires on the left side of the vehicle were
deflated and the Trailblazer stopped on the slope above the
ran from the vehicle and was caught after a short foot chase.
Arnold remained in the Trailblazer until ordered out of the
vehicle by Detroit Police Officer Nick Dedeluk. Arnold was
put on the ground and handcuffed. Detroit Police officer,
Sergeant Craig Schrameck, approached the Trailblazer and
began to search the Trailblazer. Upon lifting the tailgate,
Sergeant Schrameck found an AR-15 rifle. Because Arnold and
Arthur were known to be previously convicted felons, the
weapon was turned over to the FBI for federal prosecution.
FBI Task Force officer Jeremy McCullough then collected
several cell phones within the Trailblazer. There is a dash
cam video of the chase, stop and seizure.
Trailblazer was removed from the highway and impounded. The
FBI obtained a signed consent from the vehicle's owner to
search the vehicle on October 5, 2015.
Probable Cause to Stop Trailblazer
government admits that as a passenger in the vehicle, Arnold
has standing to challenge the stop and detention and can
argue that the evidence should be suppressed as fruits of
illegal activity. A warrantless arrest of an individual for a
felony or misdemeanor committed in an officer's presence
in a public place is constitutional only if supported by
probable cause. Maryland v. Pringle, 540 U.S. 366
(2003) (citation omitted). An officer may arrest an
individual if the officer has probable cause to believe the
person has committed or is committing a felony based on the
totality of the circumstances. United States v.
Caicedo, 85 F.3d 1184, 1192 (6th Cir. 1996).
Arnold argues that the police lacked probable cause to arrest
him for being in possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
Probable cause is “reasonable grounds for belief
supported by less than prima facie proof but more than mere
suspicion.” United States v. Bennett, 905 F.2d
931, 934 (6th Cir. 1990).
case, the officers ran a LIEN report on the Trailblazer's
license plate when the vehicle arrived at the Crazy Horse.
Based on the information in the report, they knew the vehicle
had been reported stolen as of September 6, 2015 and remained
in that status through September 25 or 26, 2015. This
information alone provided probable cause to stop the
Trailblazer in order to investigate a felony - possession of
a stolen motor vehicle. See M.C.L.A. § 750.535.
The fact that the Trailblazer turned out not to have been
stolen on the date of the traffic stop is not material when
the police are reasonable in believing that the car was
as the Detroit Police attempted to pull the Trailblazer over,
Arthur sped up and led the numerous law enforcement units on
a high speed chase, going over 100 miles per hour on I-94.
This action gave law enforcement probable cause to stop the
Trailblazer for both traffic violations and felony offenses
occurring right in front of them. See M.C.L.A.
§§ 257.626 (reckless driving); 257.602a ...