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United States v. Hansen

United States District Court, Eighth Circuit

July 31, 2013

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

ORDER REGARDING MAGISTRATE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION CONCERNING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS

MARK W. BENNETT, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

A. Procedural Background

On March 27, 2013, an Indictment was returned against defendant Ryan Gene Hansen, charging him with conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a substance or mixture containing methamphetamine which contained 50 grams or more of pure methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A) and 846, and possessing with intent to distribute a substance or mixture containing methamphetamine which contained 5 grams or more of pure methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(B). Defendant Hansen filed a motion to suppress in which he seeks to suppress evidence seized as a result of the placement of a Global-Positioning-System ("GPS") tracking device on his automobile, evidence found during a search of his automobile on March 16, 2013, and any statements he made to law enforcement officers on that date. Hansen contends that the installation of the GPS devices was unlawful because it occurred after the expiration of the initial warrant authorizing that installation. Second, he argues that both the warrant authorizing installation of the GPS device on his automobile and the warrant extending the deployment of the GPS device were unlawful because the law enforcement officer applying for the warrants was not authorized to do so under Iowa law. Third, Hansen argues that, under Iowa law, the warrants could not authorize the gathering of information outside of Kossuth County, the county where they were issued. Fourth, he contends that the warrants were invalid because they were not supported by probable cause. Finally, Hansen argues that the Leon good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule, see United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897 (1984), should not apply because law enforcement officers could not have acted in good faith reliance on the warrants.

The prosecution filed a timely resistance to Hansen's motion. Hansen's motion to suppress was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Leonard T. Strand, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). On June 5, 2013, Judge Strand conducted an evidentiary hearing and subsequently filed a Report and Recommendation in which he recommends that Hansen's motion to suppress be denied. In his Report and Recommendation, Judge Strand concluded that the initial warrant, authorizing installation of the GPS device on Hansen's automobile, was executed within ten days of its issuance and therefore was not void at the time of its execution. Judge Strand also found that, under Iowa law, once a GPS device is installed by a law enforcement officer, it may be monitored regardless of whether the target vehicle leaves the county of issuance or the state of Iowa. Judge Strand further concluded that the deputy who applied for both the warrant authorizing installation of the GPS device on Hansen's automobile and the warrant extending the deployment of the GPS device was unauthorized to do so under Iowa law. As a result, Judge Strand found that both warrant applications were made, and both warrants were issued, in violation of Iowa law. However, Judge Strand further determined that the deputy's failure to comply with state law did not result in prejudice and was not intentional and deliberate. Thus, Judge Strand determined that the procedural violation of Iowa law did not trigger the exclusionary rule and that the validity of the warrants was governed by Fourth Amendment standards. Applying those standards, Judge Strand found that probable cause supported issuance of the GPS warrants. Alternatively, Judge Strand concluded that if the GPS warrant applications were not supported by probable cause, the Leon good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule applies because the law enforcement officer obtaining the warrants acted in reasonable reliance on the state magistrate's determination of probable cause for issuance of the warrants. Therefore, Judge Strand recommended that Hansen's motion to suppress be denied.

Defendant Hansen has filed objections to Judge Strand's Report and Recommendation. The prosecution filed a timely response to Hansen's objections. I, therefore, undertake the necessary review of Judge Strand's recommended disposition of Hansen's motion to suppress.

B. Factual Background

In his Report and Recommendation, Judge Strand made the following factual findings:

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[, 132 S.Ct. 945 (2012)].
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 ...

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