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United States v. Sandoval

United States District Court, Eighth Circuit

October 23, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JOSE IGNACIO SANDOVAL, Defendant.

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

MARK W. BENNETT U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION ........................................................................... 2
A. Procedural Background ........................................................... 2
B. Factual Background ............................................................... 3
II. LEGAL ANALYSIS ........................................................................ 7
A. Standard Of Review ................................................................ 7
B. Objections To Report And Recommendation ................................ 12
1. Staleness ................................................................... 12
2. Significance of noncompliance with state law ...................... 15
3. Reliability of informants other than Poole .......................... 16
4. Information connecting Sandoval to “Nacho” ..................... 18
5. Leon good faith exception .............................................. 19
6. Sandoval’s statements ................................................... 20
III. CONCLUSION ............................................................................ 21

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Procedural Background

On January 13, 2013, an Indictment was returned against defendant Jose Ignacio Sandoval and a co-defendant charging 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. Defendant Sandoval filed a motion to suppress in which he seeks to suppress all evidence seized as a result of the search of his house pursuant to a search warrant, as well as any statements he made in a post-Miranda interview. Sandoval contends that the search warrant lacked probable cause for three reasons: (a) the information in the affidavit was stale, (b) the informants’ statements were unreliable and (c) there was not a sufficient correlation or nexus that connected him or his residence to information about “Nacho.” He also 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 search warrant.

The prosecution filed a timely resistance to Sandoval’s motion. Sandoval’s motion to suppress was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Leonard T. Strand, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). On August 26, 2013, Judge Strand conducted an evidentiary hearing and subsequently filed a Report and Recommendation in which he recommends that Sandoval’s motion to suppress be denied. In his Report and Recommendation, Judge Strand concluded that the information in the search warrant application was not stale. Judge Strand further determined that the issuing judge could reasonably consider and rely upon the information from all of the informants mentioned in the search warrant application to conclude that probable cause existed. Judge Strand noted that, while the search warrant application did not contain specific information concerning the credibility of five informants, these informants could reasonably be considered reliable because the information they supplied was corroborated by independent evidence. Based on the totality of circumstances, Judge Strand found that probable cause supported the state judge’s issuance of the search warrant. Alternatively, Judge Strand concluded that, if the search warrant application was not supported by probable cause, the Leon good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule applies because the law enforcement officer obtaining the search warrant acted in reasonable reliance on the state magistrate's determination of probable cause for issuance of the warrant. Therefore, Judge Strand recommended that Sandoval’s motion to suppress be denied.

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

B. Factual Background

In his Report and Recommendation, Judge Strand made the ...


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