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United States v. Chartier

United States District Court, Eighth Circuit

October 21, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ADAM ROBERT CHARTIER, Defendant.

ORDER

LINDA R. READE, Chief District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

The matter before the court is Defendant Adam Robert Chartier's Objections ("Objections") (docket no. 36) to United States Chief Magistrate Judge Jon S. Scoles's Report and Recommendation (docket no. 34), which recommends that the court deny Defendant's "Motion to Suppress" ("Motion") (docket no. 25).

II. RELEVANT FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On December 7, 2012, at around 11:00 PM, Hiawatha Police Officer Erik Naaktgeboren was on routine patrol when he entered the license plate number of a blue Mercury Grand Marquis into the mobile computer of his car. The records indicated that the registered owner of the vehicle-Terry Stankee-was suspended from driving and did not have SR-22 insurance on file, suggesting that the vehicle may not be registered with the state. Officer Naaktgeboren testified that he could not identify the driver of the vehicle because of the darkness and the misty weather conditions. Based on the records associated with the vehicle, Officer Naaktgeboren pulled over the vehicle. He then approached the vehicle and informed the driver-Aubree Sivola-that the reason he pulled her over was to determine whether the driver of the vehicle was the registered owner. While speaking with Sivola, Officer Officer Naaktgeboren noticed a jug of muriatic acid and a package of airline tubing near Defendant's leg in the passenger seat. Officer Officer Naaktgeboren is a trained clandestine methamphetamine laboratory technician. Based on his training and experience, he suspected these items were to be used to manufacture methamphetamine.

Officer Naaktgeboren asked for driver's licenses from the occupants of the vehicle and identified the driver as Sivola and the passenger as Defendant. Officer Naaktgeboren testified that he had heard through the local DEA task force and narcotics officers that Defendant's name was associated with methamphetamine. Dispatch advised Officer Naaktgeboren that Defendant had a prior conviction for assault with a weapon. Officer Naaktgeboren ordered Sivola to exit the vehicle and then questioned her about where she had been and where she was going. Officer Naaktgeboren then searched Sivola with her consent. Officer Naaktgeboren then approached the passenger side and requested that Defendant exit the vehicle. Officer Naaktgeboren informed Defendant that he was going to walk his canine around the vehicle.

Before performing the canine search, Officer Naaktgeboren noticed something bulky in Defendant's coat pockets. Officer Naaktgeboren requested Defendant's consent to search his pockets, but Defendant did not consent. At the suppression hearing, Officer "Naaktgeboren testified that given the bulges in Defendant's coat, Defendant's prior assault with a weapon charge and his possible connection to narcotics, [Officer] Naaktgeboren was concerned that Defendant might have a weapon." Report and Recommendation at 5. Officer Naaktgeboren then informed Defendant that he was going to pat him down for officer safety and asked Defendant to identify the bulge in his coat. Defendant informed Officer Naaktgeboren that the bulky item was a package of hypodermic needles. Defendant removed the needles and placed them on the back of the Grand Marquis. Officer Naaktgeboren patted down Defendant and found nothing further. Next, Officer Naaktgeboren walked his canine around the vehicle. The canine alerted on the passenger side of the vehicle. Based on this alert, Officer Naaktgeboren searched the vehicle. Officer Naaktgeboren did not locate anything in the vehicle except the muriatic acid and the tubing.

Officer Naaktgeboren then directed Defendant to place his hands on the hood of the police vehicle and informed Defendant that he was going to search him. Defendant again refused to consent to be searched. In response, Officer Naaktgeboren told Defendant that he could either cooperate with the search or be arrested for interference.[1] Officer Naaktgeboren asked Defendant if he had any sharp objects which could stick, stab or poke Officer Naaktgeboren. Defendant replied that he did not. Officer Naaktgeboren then asked Defendant if he had any controlled substances on his person. Defendant replied that he did have something. Officer Naaktgeboren asked what he had. According to Officer Naaktgeboren, Defendant replied "you know what I have." Officer Naaktgeboren then asked if Defendant had methamphetamine, and Defendant admitted that he did. Officer Naaktgeboren then proceeded to search Defendant and seized three small plastic bags containing methamphetamine, a drill-bit case containing pseudoephedrine pills and a pipe.

Officer Naaktgeboren then placed Defendant in handcuffs and gave him Miranda warnings. Defendant subsequently volunteered that he is a methamphetamine user and trades pseudoephedrine pills for methamphetamine. Defendant also described his past involvement with methamphetamine.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

When a party files a timely objection to a magistrate judge's report and recommendation, a "judge of the court shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); see also Fed. R. Crim. P. 59(b)(3) ("The district judge must consider de novo any objection to the magistrate judge's recommendation."); United States v. Lothridge, 324 F.3d 599, 600 (8th Cir. 2003) (noting that a district judge must "undertake[] a de novo review of the disputed portions of a magistrate judge's report and recommendations"). "A judge of the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); see also Fed. R. Crim. P. 59(b)(3) ("The district judge may accept, reject, or modify the recommendation, receive further evidence, or resubmit the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions."). It is reversible error for a district court to fail to engage in a de novo review of a magistrate judge's report when such review is required. Lothridge, 324 F.3d at 600. Accordingly, the court reviews the disputed portions of the Report and Recommendation de novo.

IV. ANALYSIS

Defendant objects to a number of Judge Scoles's factual findings and conclusions of law. The court first addresses Defendant's objections relating to the basis for the traffic stop. Second, the court turns to Defendant's objections relating to the length of the stop. Third, the court turns to the lawfulness of the initial pat-down. Fourth, the court addresses the lawfulness of the search after the canine alert. ...


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