United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
G. Edmunds United States District Judge
February 9, 2016, the grand jury returned a two-count
indictment against Defendant Tion Terrell charging him with
(1) conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to
distribute a controlled substance, and (2) distribution of
cocaine base, aiding and abetting. (Dkt. # 24). On May 24,
2017, the grand jury returned a superseding indictment
against Defendant charging him with an additional count of
possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
(Dkt. # 67). Currently before the Court is Defendant's
motion to suppress filed on September 14, 2017. (Dkt. # 83).
seeks to suppress evidence seized from a search incident to
his arrest at his relative's home, located at ¶ 172
Yacama Road in Detroit, Michigan. Specifically, Defendant
seeks to suppress 22 individually wrapped packets of heroin
and $366 in U.S. currency recovered from Defendant's
person. The material facts are not in dispute for purposes of
this motion. Accordingly, the Court proceeds without holding
an evidentiary hearing. For the reasons stated below,
Defendant's motion to suppress is DENIED.
afternoon of April 11, 2017, Detroit Police Department
("DPD") officers received information from a
confidential informant that Defendant was at a residence
located at ¶ 172 Yacama Road in Detroit, Michigan. (Dkt.
# 86-3). At this time, there existed several outstanding
arrest warrants for Defendant, including the one issued in
this case in January 2016. (Dkt. # 86-2). A search indicated
that the XX172 Yacama address was registered to Lance
Terrell, one of Defendant's relatives. (Dkt. # 86-3). At
approximately 9:00 p.m., DPD Sergeant Brandon Cole proceeded
XX172 Yacama to conduct surveillance. He observed a black
make fitting Defendant's description enter the home.
Id. Cole informed other officers, and they attempted
a "soft knock" on the house at 10:40 p.m. Cole then
observed Defendant look out of an upper story window and flee
back inside. Id. Cole left to type and submit a
search warrant while other officers held the location to
prevent Defendant from escaping. Id.
officers eventually entered XX172 Yacama and found Defendant
hiding in the attic. (Dkt. # 86-5). When the officers
searched Defendant incident to his arrest, they found 22
individually wrapped packets of heroin and $366 in U.S.
currency on Defendant's person. Id.
indicates that Defendant was in custody at the Detroit
Detention Center on April 12, 2017 at 12:23 a.m. (Dkt. #
86-6, 86-7), and that 36th District Court Magistrate Judge
Laura Echartea signed a search warrant on April 12, 2017 at
1:05 a.m. (approximately 40 minutes later) (Dkt. # 86-3). The
Government maintains that the officers received notification
via radio that the search warrant had been approved before
entering XX172 Yacama, but the Government acknowledges that
it cannot reconcile the time written on the warrant with the
time of entry into the home. Nevertheless, arguing that the
issue is legally irrelevant, the Government assumes
arguendo, for purposes of this motion, that the
search warrant was in fact signed after the officers entered
the house and arrested Defendant.
on Steagald v. United States, 451 U.S. 204 (1981),
Defendant argues that the officers were required to obtain a
search warrant before entering his relative's home to
execute the arrest warrants for Defendant. Defendant argues
that the evidence recovered from his person must be
suppressed because it was obtained following an illegal entry
into XX172 Yacama. Defendant notes that XX172 Yacama was not
his home or a place where he was staying. (Dkt. # 83, Pg ID
Government responds that the officers did not need a search
warrant to arrest Defendant inside his relative's home
because a valid arrest warrant existed and the officers saw
Defendant inside the home. The Government argues that
Defendant's interpretation of Steagald is just
wrong, and that an evidentiary hearing is not necessary
because the motion does not dispute any material facts.
Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and
seizures. U.S. Const. amend. IV. "The chief evil that
the Fourth Amendment protects against is the physical entry
of the home, " and police are generally required to
"obtain a warrant based upon a judicial determination of
probable cause prior to entering a home." Johnson v.
City of Memphis, 617 F.3d 864, 867-68 (6th Cir. 2010)
(internal quotations omitted). The Supreme Court has also
held that Fourth Amendment interests are personal. See
Minnesota v. Carter, 525 U.S. 83, 88 (1998). Therefore,
a defendant can assert only his own Fourth Amendment rights,
and not the Fourth Amendment rights of a third-party
homeowner. See United States v. Pruitt, 458 F.3d
477, 485 (6th Cir. 2006) (Clay, J., concurring).
Payton v. New York, the Supreme Court held that
"an arrest warrant founded on probable cause implicitly
carries with it the limited authority to enter a dwelling in
which the suspect lives when there is reason to believe the
suspect is within." 445 U.S. 573, 603 (1980). A year
later, in Steagald, the Court clarified the Fourth
Amendment rights of persons not named in an arrest warrant.
The defendant in Steagald was prosecuted based on
evidence seized from his home during the execution of an
arrest warrant for another person thought to be in the
defendant's home. Id. at 206-07. The police had
entered the defendant's home with the arrest warrant but
without a search warrant. The Supreme Court held that, in the
absence of exigent circumstances or consent, a search warrant
was required to protect the Fourth Amendment rights of
persons not named in the arrest warrant. Id. at
216. The Court expressly left open the question at issue here
of "whether the subject of an arrest warrant can object
to the absence of a search warrant when he is apprehended in
another person's home." Id. at 219.
Sixth Circuit first took up that unanswered question in
United States v. Buckner, 717 F.2d 297 (6th Cir.
1983). In that case, Buckner was arrested at his mother's
home. The FBI had an arrest warrant for him but no search
warrant for the premises. Id. at 298-99. Buckner
moved to suppress the evidence obtained during a protective
sweep of his mother's apartment. The Sixth Circuit found
that Buckner lacked standing to challenge the search because
he did not live in the apartment. Id. at 300. The
court went on to explain that, had Buckner had standing, the
court would have applied Payton and found that
Buckner's Fourth Amendment rights were protected because
the officers had a warrant for his arrest and reason to
believe that he was in his mother's apartment.
Id. ("It would be illogical to afford the
defendant any greater protection in the home of a third party
than he was entitled to in his own home.").
in Pruitt, the Sixth Circuit held that an arrest
warrant is sufficient to enter a third party's residence
"if the officers, by looking at common sense factors and
evaluating the totality of the circumstances, establish a
reasonable belief that the subject of the arrest warrant is
within the residence at that time." 458 F.3d at 483.
Similar to Defendant in this case, Pruitt argued that the
lack of a search warrant violated his Fourth Amendment rights
because police entered a third party's home to execute
the arrest warrant for him. Unfortunately for Defendant, the
Sixth Circuit rejected this argument, consistent with a
majority of circuit courts. See Id. at 481-83;
see also United States v. Bohannon, 824 F.3d 242,
250 (2d Cir. 2016) (collecting cases and noting that eight
circuit courts "have concluded that the subject of an
arrest warrant, apprehended in a third ...