United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT DEVON
PATTERSON'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS [DOC. 603]
CARAM STEEH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court on defendant Devon Patterson's
motion to suppress due to a warrantless arrest and search of
his residence. The court held an evidentiary hearing and
heard testimony from Detective Keven Allen on September 7,
2017. For the reasons stated in this order, defendant's
motion to suppress is DENIED.
December 17, 2010, West Virginia Detective Justin Hackney of
the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT),
learned from a confidential informant that Nicole Elizabeth
Reed and an individual later identified as Robert Bellamy
were conducting unlawful narcotics transactions. On December
22, Detective Hackney interviewed Reed. She admitted to using
heroin and was detained for mental hygiene after becoming
violent. While admitting her to a mental hygiene unit,
officers found narcotics and $1, 909 concealed in Reed's
bra. On January 3, 2011, Hackney received an arrest warrant
for Reed for violating West Virginia Code Section 60A-4-401
(possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance).
January 9, 2011, Detectives Hackney and Keven Allen, also a
member of MDENT, received information from a confidential
informant that Reed was living with Robert Bellamy at the
residence and that they had recently returned from Detroit
with narcotics to sell. The next day, the detectives observed
Bellamy's vehicle outside the residence. The car matched
the description and registration provided by the confidential
informant, who had stated that he had seen Reed driving the
car. Hackney further verified with Reed's mother that
Reed lived at the residence. Detectives Hackney, Allen, Ryan
Higginbotham and other officers went to the residence to
execute the arrest warrant.
Allen knocked on the door. He heard footsteps inside the
house walking toward the door, but nobody opened it. Allen
turned the knob, which was unlocked, and announced
“police.” Bellamy opened the door and Allen
observed the bedroom door slam shut. Allen and Higginbotham
went to the bedroom to pursue Reed, and found her and
defendant Patterson laying on a bed. Allen informed Reed she
was under arrest. Higginbotham noticed a pistol laying in
plain view on the floor next to the bed. He cleared the
weapon for safety and put it back where he found it.
Detective Hackney was clearing the living room area, where he
observed two plastic bags of Opana pills (a Schedule II
controlled substance) in plain view on the coffee table.
There were several small quantities of Opana pills on the
table separated into equal numbers, as well as more plastic
bags with Opana pills on the floor in plain view next to the
coffee table. Later, law enforcement would determine there
were 168 pills. All three individuals denied that the pills
belonged to them, that they were staying at the apartment, or
that they were on the lease.
police arrested Bellamy and Reed for possession with intent
to deliver narcotics. They took pictures of and seized the
narcotics. Several detectives secured the residence by
remaining outside, while other detectives returned to the
station to process the arrestees and acquire a search warrant
for the apartment. While the residence was secured, Detective
Tagayun, also from MDENT, was approached by an individual who
informed him she had come to purchase Opana pills from the
two men inside the residence. The individual indicated she
had intended to purchase $400 work of pills at $30 each.
the search warrant was issued, Detective Allen and others
executed the search of the residence. They recovered $3, 190
from a pair of defendant's pants, the 9mm pistol from
beside the bed, 120 additional Opana pills from a deodorant
bottle found on the coffee table, and various paper documents
defendant is arrested at the home of a third party, he does
not have a legitimate expectation of privacy in the premises
and therefore cannot challenge the search. United States
v. Buckner, 717 F.2d 297, 299 (6th Cir. 1983). However,
a defendant does have a reasonable expectation of privacy if
he is an overnight guest at another residence. Minnesota
v. Olson, 495 U.S. 91, 93 (1990).
the sole purpose of the presence in a location is to package
narcotics, courts have held there is no expectation of
privacy. United States v. Pollard, 215 F.3d 643 (6th
Cir. 2000) (citation omitted). In determining whether to
extend Fourth Amendment protection to the party challenging
the search, courts should examine the nature of the
individual's ties to the residence. United States v.
Harris, 255 F.3d 288 (6th Cir. 2001) (citation omitted).
burden of showing a reasonable expectation of privacy . . .
rests with the defendant.” Rawlings v.
Kentucky, 448 U.S. 98, 104 (1980). During narcotics
transactions, incidental social interaction between a
resident and an individual who is using the location to
distribute narcotics has been held not to extend the
reasonable expectation of privacy to the non-resident.
United States v. Gray, 491 F.3d 138, 152 (4th Cir.
2007). In this case, the defendant may have been engaged
socially with Reed, but there is evidence that the defendant
used the residence to distribute narcotics. This is supported
by the fact that the buyer who came to the location to
purchase narcotics said she was buying the pills from the
males at the location. Moreover, the amount of money
recovered from defendant's pants, the Opana pills in
plain view separated into equal piles for distribution, as