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United States v. Patterson

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

October 3, 2017

DEVON PATTERSON D-10, Defendants.



         This 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.

         I. Facts

         On 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).

         On 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.

         Detective 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.

         Meanwhile, 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.

         The 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.

         When 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 and electronics.

         II. Analysis

         A. Standing

         When a 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).

         When 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).

         The 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 well ...

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