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United States v. Jackson

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

October 30, 2019

United States, Plaintiff,
Kennyon Roshawn Jackson, Defendant.


          Hon. Gershwin A. Drain United States District Court Judge

         I. Introduction

         On June 11, 2019, a grand jury indicted Kennyon Roshawn Jackson (“Defendant”) with Felon in Possession of a Firearm, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). ECF No. 1. This charge stems from a traffic stop and arrest-in response to a parole violation warrant against Defendant-on April 25, 2019. ECF No. 13, PageID.32.

         Presently before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence, filed on August 30, 2019. ECF No. 13. The Government filed a Response on September 24, 2019. ECF No. 17. A hearing on Defendant's Motion was held on October 28, 2019. For the reasons that follow, the Court DENIES Defendant's Motion [#13].

         II. Factual Background

         Defendant was released on parole by the Michigan Department of Corrections (“MDOC”) on April 10, 2018 after serving a 4-10-year sentence for assault with intent to cause great bodily harm less than murder, as well as a 2-year sentence for felony firearm. ECF No. 17, PageID.55. His term of parole was scheduled to end on April 20, 2020. Id. On April 25, 2019, a parole violation warrant was entered into the Michigan Law Enforcement Information Network (“LEIN”) for Defendant; he was allegedly involved in a domestic violence incident in Van Buren Township, Michigan on April 24, 2019. Id. MDOC's Absconder Recovery Unit (“ARU”) was directed to locate and arrest Defendant on the warrant. Id.

         On the evening of April 25, 2019, ARU Investigator Jon Hugle located an individual he believed to be Defendant. Id. at PageID.56. At approximately 7:54 p.m. that evening, Investigator Hugle requested assistance from a marked patrol unit to initiate a traffic stop. Id. He broadcasted a description of a gray Saturn with license plate number DYT0580, as well as a description of Defendant: “black male, 27 [years old], 5'8”, about 180 [pounds], long dreads.” Id.

         A unit from the Ypsilanti Police Department initially spotted the Saturn, but eventually discontinued taking any action once they observed Defendant walking into a residence. ECF No. 17, PageID.56. Washtenaw County Sheriff's Deputies Michael Hogan and Roger Khattar, driving in separate cars, soon responded to the dispatch stating that they were available to assist. Id. They parked opposite the Ypsilanti neighborhood where the Saturn was stopped at 1756 Tyler Road. Id. At the hearing, Deputy Hogan testified that he was there for “less than fifteen minutes.” He further indicated that he did not pull up any information of the described parole absconder at this time. At 8:13 p.m., Investigator Hugle broadcasted that the Saturn was on the move. Id. A female individual was observed driving the Saturn, while Defendant was reported to be the front passenger. Id.

         Deputies Hogan and Khattar caught up to and located the Saturn driving eastbound on 1-94 towards the Rawsonville Road exit.[1] Id. Deputy Hogan observed the Saturn had tinted windows and that the female driver failed to use a turn signal. ECF No. 13, PageID.39. He then initiated a traffic stop at the exit ramp. Id.

         Deputy Hogan approached the driver, later identified as Ms. Janiqua Stines, while Deputy Khattar approached the passenger, later identified as Defendant. ECF No. 17, PageID.57. Both deputies held flashlights in their hands. Id. As they approached, Investigators Hugle and Barnett, who arrived shortly after the stop, remained behind the Saturn with their service weapons holstered. Id. at PageID.58.

         After Ms. Stines gave Deputy Hogan her name and passport as identification[2], Deputy Hogan determined that her license was suspended. ECF No. 13, PageID.39. Deputy Hogan also asked Defendant for his identification; Defendant responded that he did not have a license and that his name was “Joseph Calhoun.” ECF No. 17, PageID.58. At the hearing, Deputy Hogan indicated that it was “normal procedure” to ask passengers for their identification-especially if drivers are found driving without any identification, as was the case here with Ms. Stines-in order to determine whether it is possible to avoid impounding a vehicle and instead having the passenger drive the vehicle away at the conclusion of the stop.

         Further, Deputy Hogan testified that he noticed a “bulge” under Defendant's sweatshirt hood at the time he first requested identification from both passengers, which he was able to eventually confirm was Defendant's long dreads as described over the dispatch. Deputy Hogan removed Ms. Stines from the Saturn once she indicated she did not have a valid license, placed her in handcuffs, and put her in the back of his patrol car. ECF No. 13, PageID.39. He informed Ms. Stines that he wasn't going to take her to jail for a suspended license. ECF No. 17, PageID.58.

         After placing Ms. Stines in his patrol car, Deputy Hogan returned to the Saturn's open driver side door. He again asked Defendant for his name and date of birth. Id. Defendant responded, “Joseph Parnell Calhoun” with a birthdate of April 8, 1994. Id. While Deputy Hogan wrote this information down, he asked Defendant to pull his hood down. At the hearing, Deputy Hogan testified that once Defendant pulled his hood down, his suspicion grew that he was in fact the parole absconder.

         Before returning to his patrol car, Deputy Hogan instructed Defendant, “Do me a favor. Turn the car off with the ignition. Take the keys out. Hand them to me.” Id. at PageID.59. Defendant complied with this request; he remained in the Saturn and used his phone. See Gov.'s Ex. D at 00:08:06-00:08:21. Deputy Khattar, meanwhile, stood at the rear passenger window, with his weapon holstered, shining his flashlight on Defendant. Id. The two ARU investigators remained behind the Saturn. ECF No. 17, PageID.59; see also Gov.'s Ex. E at 00:02:34-00:07:01

         After running the false name through the LEIN, Deputy Hogan approached and asked Investigator Hugle-who initially broadcasted Defendant's identity-if he could identify the Defendant. Id. Investigator Hugle positively responded that he would recognize Defendant if he saw him. ECF No. 13, PageID.40. At the hearing, Deputy Hogan provided further details of his exchange with Investigator Hugle before he returned to the Saturn. He explained that Investigator Hugle provided him with the same physical description of Defendant. Investigator Hugle also provided Deputy Hogan with information about Defendant's criminal history.

         After this exchange, Deputy Hogan and ARU Investigators Hugle and Barnett returned to the Saturn. Deputy Hogan approached the driver's door, while Investigator Hugle approached the passenger side, standing next to Deputy Khattar. ECF No. 17, PageID.60. Once Investigator Hugle saw Defendant, he gave a “thumbs up” to Deputy Hogan. Id. Deputy Khattar then opened the passenger door, grabbed Defendant's right arm, and told him to step out of the Saturn. Investigators Hugle and Barnett assisted Deputy Khattar in pulling Defendant out. ECF No. 13, PageID.40. As the officers pulled Defendant out, Deputy Hogan observed a firearm in Defendant's waistband. He alerted the officers, “gun in his waistband!” three times. Gov.'s Ex. B at 00:22:01. The officers took Defendant to the ground and tased him several times. Id.

         Deputy Khattar and Investigators Hugle and Barnett then removed a Hornady 9mm pistol from Defendant's waistband. Id. The officers subsequently patted Defendant down and strip searched him on the side of the road. ECF No. 13, PageID.40. Deputy Hogan was particularly concerned with finding the pistol's magazine. See Gov.'s Ex B at 00:08:10; 00:11:30; 00:15:40. Once Defendant was in custody, the officers searched the Saturn and found a 30 round Glock magazine, which matched the pistol, in the back seat. ECF No. 17, PageID.61.

         Defendant now challenges the admissibility of the fruits of the alleged illegal arrest. Id. at PageID.41. He concedes that the officers had justification for the initial traffic stop. However, Defendant submits that the officers then lacked probable cause or reasonable suspicion to extend the stop. Id. He therefore argues the firearm and ammunition should be suppressed. Id.

         The Government claims that Defendant was briefly detained only for Deputy Hogan to complete the traffic stop. ECF No. 17, PageID.55. Furthermore, it purports that the officers had reasonable suspicion for the ensuing Terry stop and then probable cause to arrest Defendant upon Investigator Hugle's positive identification. Id. at PageID.64. The Government argues that the recovered firearm ...

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