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United States v. Hansen

United States District Court, Eighth Circuit

July 19, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
RYAN HANSEN, Defendant.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON MOTION TO SUPPRESS

LEONARD T. STRAND, Magistrate Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Defendant Ryan Hansen is charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He has filed a motion (Doc. No. 9) to suppress evidence. Plaintiff (the Government) has filed a resistance (Doc. No. 18). The Trial Management Order (Doc. No. 5) assigns motions to suppress to me to conduct any necessary evidentiary hearings and to prepare reports on, and recommended dispositions of, those motions.

I conducted a hearing on June 5, 2013. Defendant appeared in person and with his attorney, Alan Stoler. Assistant United States Attorney Shawn Wehde appeared for the Government. The Government presented testimony from Nick Larson, Chief Deputy Sheriff for Kossuth County, Iowa, and Jacob Radmaker, Deputy Sheriff for Kossuth County, Iowa. The Government also offered the following exhibits into evidence:

Government Exhibit 1 : Application for Search Warrant, dated January 8, 2013, with attachments (filed herein as Document Number 18-2).
Government Exhibit 2 : Application for Search Warrant, dated March 4, 2013, with attachments (filed herein as Document Number 18-3).

I received both exhibits with no objection from defendant. Defendant presented no evidence but requested that I take judicial notice of certain sections of the Code of Iowa. I granted that request with no objection from the Government.

At the conclusion of the hearing I established a schedule for additional written arguments from the parties. Hansen submitted a supplemental brief (Doc. No. 23) on June 11, 2013. The Government filed its own supplement (Doc. No. 24) on June 14, 2013. Hansen filed a reply (Doc. No. 25) to the Government's supplement on June 17, 2013. The motion is now fully submitted. For the reasons set forth herein, I recommend that it be denied.

SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE [1]

On December 17, 2012, Deputy Jacob Radmaker received information from a confidential informant. The informant stated Mykey Wolf of Algona, Iowa, was going to buy an ounce of crystal methamphetamine ("ice") for $2000 to $2200 from a male coming from Minnesota and that the transaction was to take place at Wolf's residence. The informant stated the male coming from Minnesota previously lived in Kossuth County, used to drive a white Dodge Durango and recently was released from prison.

On December 19, 2012, the informant told Radmaker the name of the male coming from Minnesota was Ryan and that Ryan was driving a white Chrysler 300 with 22-inch rims. The informant stated Ryan drove to the Wolf residence from Minnesota in the Chrysler, arrived around 04:30 on December 19, 2012, and sold Wolf an ounce of "ice" for $2300. The informant also stated Ryan usually carries six to ten ounces of "ice" when he comes down from Minnesota and was selling it all over.

On December 28, 2012, the informant forwarded to Radmaker a text that, according to the informant, had been sent to the informant by Ryan. The text stated: "Well its been 2300 for an O so 9'bs for 2500." Radmaker interpreted this to be a statement that the price for nine "8-balls" of methamphetamine would be $2500.

Radmaker compared information from the informant with other information known to or discovered by Radmaker to conclude that the suspected drug dealer was Ryan Hansen. Hansen is from the Algona area, previously drove a white Dodge Durango Iowa license plate 453BNS, had been recently released from prison and was then driving a white 2007 Chrysler 300 with 22-inch rims Iowa license plate 478ZZC. Radmaker testified that Hansen's vehicle is very unique because of the large rims and other aftermarket modifications. Indeed, Radmaker stated that there is no other vehicle like it in the area.

Radmaker and Larson determined that installing and monitoring a GPS device on Hansen's vehicle would be useful to their investigation. The Kossuth County Sheriff's Office had never previously sought a search warrant for authorization to install and monitor a GPS device. Larson testified that this situation presented the office's first opportunity to use such a device after the United States Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Jones. [2]

On January 8, 2013, Radmaker submitted an application (including an affidavit) for a search warrant to install and deploy a GPS tracker on Ryan Hansen's vehicle (described throughout as a white 2007 Chrysler 300 with Iowa license plate #478ZZC). See Ex. 1. This application will be referred to herein as the "first application." On the same day, an Iowa judicial magistrate approved the search warrant application and issued the requested warrant (hereafter the "initial GPS warrant"). The magistrate documented, by an endorsement, sworn additional oral testimony from Radmaker. Id. On either January 18 or 19, 2013 (the date of installation is disputed), Larson installed the GPS tracking device on the subject vehicle. From January through March 4, 2013, Radmaker monitored and documented receipt of data from the GPS tracking device.

On March 4, 2013, Radmaker submitted another application (again including an affidavit) for a search warrant to extend the installation and deployment of the GPS tracker on Ryan Hansen's vehicle. See Ex. 2. This application will be referred to herein as the "second application." On the same day, the same magistrate approved the second application and issued the requested warrant (hereafter the "renewed GPS warrant"). The magistrate again documented, by an endorsement, sworn additional oral testimony from Radmaker. Id. From March 4, 2013, through March 16, 2013, Radmaker monitored and documented receipt of data from the installed GPS tracking device on the requested vehicle.

Both applications, including the affidavits, described the vehicle at issue as a white 2007 Chrysler 300, IA license # 478ZZC. The first application also included a photograph of the vehicle, which Radmaker obtained from Hansen's Facebook page. However, both warrants contain an internal inconsistency concerning the license plate number. The first paragraph of each states there is proof that said vehicle (with the license plate number noted above) has been or will be used in furtherance of drug trafficking. However, the second paragraph of each authorizes installation of the GPS tracker on a vehicle with that same description but with Iowa license plate number 150YLC. See Exs. 1 and 2. Radmaker testified that he made this error while drafting the proposed warrants and that license plate number 150YLC has nothing to do with this investigation.

On March 16, 2013, several law enforcement officers conducted a traffic stop of Ryan Hansen's vehicle, locating and seizing evidence. After being advised of his Miranda rights, Hansen allegedly made incriminating statements.

ANALYSIS

Hansen raises the following arguments:

1. Installation of the GPS devices was unlawful because it occurred after the expiration of the initial warrant authorizing that installation.
2. Both warrants were unlawful because Radmaker was not authorized by Iowa law to apply for the warrants.
3. Under Iowa law, the warrants could not authorize the gathering of information outside of Kossuth County, where they were issued.
4. There was no probable cause to support issuance of the warrants.
5. Law enforcement officers could not have acted in good faith reliance on the warrants, pursuant to United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897 (1984).

Doc. No. 9-1 at 2-7. Because the first three arguments raise issues concerning compliance with Iowa law, I will start by addressing them and will then consider the effect, if any, of noncompliance. I will then address the issues of probable cause and good faith.

I. Iowa Law Issues

A. Was The GPS Device Installed Before The First Warrant ...


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