United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Eastern Division
R. READE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
matter before the court is Defendant Willie Junior
Carter's Objections (docket no. 324) to United States
Chief Magistrate Judge C.J. Williams's Report and
Recommendation (docket no. 320), which recommends that the
court deny Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence
(“Motion”) (docket no. 292).
RELEVANT PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
February 22, 2018, a grand jury returned a Superseding
Indictment (docket no. 170) charging Defendant with one count
of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base, in
violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A)
and 846, and one count of possession with intent to
distribute cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(C). See
Superseding Indictment at 2, 6-7. On May 8, 2018, Defendant
filed the Motion. On May 15, 2018, the government filed a
Resistance (docket no. 308). On May 21, 2018, Judge Williams
held a hearing (“Hearing”) on the Motion.
See May 21, 2018 Minute Entry (docket no. 313).
Defendant appeared in court with attorney Anne M. Laverty.
Assistant United States Attorney Emily K. Nydle represented
the government. On May 30, 2018, Judge Williams issued the
Report and Recommendation, which recommends that the court
deny the Motion. On June 13, 2018, Defendant filed the
Objections. The matter is fully submitted and ready for
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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.
RELEVANT FACTUAL BACKGROUND
January 12, 2017, Waterloo Police Department Officer Albert
Bovy was on routine patrol in a marked police vehicle.
Officer Bovy was contacted by Waterloo Police Department
Investigator Michael Girsch, who was conducting a narcotics
investigation. Investigator Girsch advised Officer Bovy that
Defendant was driving without a valid driver's license,
and that Officer Bovy should conduct a traffic stop if
possible. Investigator Girsch provided Officer Bovy with the
color, make, model and license plate number of
Defendant's vehicle. Officer Bovy independently checked
Defendant's driver's license information, viewed his
photograph and confirmed that his license was suspended.
after speaking with Investigator Girsch, Officer Bovy
observed Defendant driving southbound on Ashland Avenue.
Officer Bovy visually confirmed that Defendant was operating
the vehicle, having just viewed Defendant's photograph.
Officer Bovy was driving westbound on Newton Street as both
he and Defendant approached the intersection of Ashland
Avenue and Newton Street. That intersection is not controlled
by a traffic light or a stop sign. Officer Bovy observed that
Defendant was driving too fast for the snowy and icy road
conditions. After Defendant passed through the intersection,
Officer Bovy turned south on Ashland Avenue to pursue
Defendant and activated his top lights. Defendant continued
southbound towards Kern Street and drove into the
intersection of Kern and Ashland, in disregard of a stop
sign. Defendant turned right onto Kern Street and drove
partially up the next block before stopping.
Defendant pulled over, Officer Bovy approached
Defendant's vehicle on foot. Defendant verbally confirmed
both his identity and that he did not have a valid
driver's license. During the traffic stop, Defendant
appeared nervous and was sweating profusely despite the cold
temperature. Officer Bovy asked Defendant to exit the
vehicle, which he did. At that point, Officer Bovy attempted
to handcuff Defendant, whereupon Defendant attempted to flee
on foot. Defendant slipped in the snow, and Officer Bovy was
able to handcuff him. During a search incident to arrest,
Officer Bovy discovered approximately twelve grams of cocaine
base in Defendant's pocket. Defendant subsequently made
incriminating statements during a post-arrest interview.
Motion, Defendant argues that Officer Bovy “lacked
reasonable suspicion to initiate a legal traffic stop on
January 12, 2017, ” and that all evidence recovered
after the stop must be suppressed. Motion at 3. Judge
Williams found that “Officer Bovy had reasonable
suspicion to initiate the traffic stop for three independent
violations: (1) driving without a license; (2) failure to
maintain a safe speed, and; (3) failure to appropriately stop
at a stop sign.” Report and Recommendation at 7. Judge
Williams further found that, even if the initial detention
were invalid, “[D]efendant's attempted flight after
the traffic stop establishe[d] an additional and independent
basis for the arrest and subsequent search of his person, the
police interview, and [D]efendant's incriminating
statement.” Id. at 9. Defendant does not
object to Judge Williams's finding that Officer
Bovy's traffic stop was lawful based on his reasonable
suspicion that Defendant was driving without a license.
See generally Objections. Additionally, upon review
of the record, the court finds that Officer Bovy had
reasonable suspicion, and, in fact, probable cause, to
believe that Defendant was driving without a valid license.
Officer Bovy thus had reasonable suspicion and probable cause
to initiate the traffic stop, and there is no basis to
suppress the evidence that was recovered thereafter.
Accordingly, Defendant's objections to Judge
Williams's alternative findings are moot. Nevertheless,
the court will review the disputed portions of the Report and
Recommendation de novo.
Arrival at ...