United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
AMENDED  OPINION AND ORDER DENYING
DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS (ECF #20)
MATTHEW F. LEITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
December 19, 2018, a federal grand jury charged Defendant
Charles Edwards with being a felon in possession of a
firearm, possession with intent to distribute heroin, and
possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking
crime. (See Indictment, ECF #1.) The charges were
based, in large part, upon evidence seized from Edwards'
vehicle. Edwards has now filed a motion to suppress that
evidence. (See Mot. to Suppress, ECF #20.) The Court
held an evidentiary hearing on the motion on July 23, 2019.
For the reasons explained below, the motion is
upon the testimony given and other evidence presented at the
evidentiary hearing, the Court makes the following findings
June 10, 2017, John Harwell and Noah Pillsbury were working
as patrol officers for the City of Flint Police Department.
that time, the City of Flint Police Department had written
policies and procedures concerning impounding vehicles and
conducting inventory searches of vehicles. Those policies and
procedures were set forth in the Flint Police Manual, a
portion of which was admitted into evidence as
Government's Exhibit 2 at the evidentiary hearing.
relevant to the issues presented in Edwards' motion,
Section 03-4/020.3-1 of the Flint Police Manual
(“Section 020.3-1”) provided as follows on June
IMPOUNDMENT FOR SAFEKEEPING
Any time a vehicle is rendered unattended on public or
private property not belonging to the vehicle owner or user
as a result of Flint police action, and custody of the
vehicle is not turned over by the person in charge of the
vehicle to another who is legally eligible to take charge,
the vehicle shall be impounded for safekeeping. An
alternative to impoundment may be arranged if the unattended
vehicle is protected form theft or damage while in the
custody of the Flint Police Department. An alternative, to be
acceptable, must transfer custody of the vehicle from the
Department to the vehicle owner or his agent.
addition, Section 03-4/020.4-1 of the Flint Police Manual
(“Section 020.4-1”) required officers impounding
a vehicle to complete a “Vehicle Tie-Up Slip” and
to include on that slip “an inventory of the contents
of the car.” 5. While Officers Harwell and Pillsbury
were on routine patrol on June 10, 2017, they came across a
vehicle accident scene. The accident involved a minivan
driven by Edwards and a second vehicle driven by another
Officers Harwell and Pillsbury stopped at the accident scene
and spoke to the two drivers. The officers asked the drivers
to provide their licenses, vehicle registrations, and proofs
Edwards did not have a physical driver's license with
him, so he gave the officers his name and birthdate.
officers entered Edwards' information into the Law
Enforcement Information Network system and discovered that
Edwards was the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant
issued by a Michigan state court.
Based upon the outstanding warrant, the officers arrested
Edwards. Upon arresting Edwards, the officers handcuffed him