United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Eastern Division
R. READER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
matter before the court is Defendant Richard Leroy
Parker's "Motion for Hearing on Miscarriage of
Justice/to Reconsider Suppression Ruling"
("Motion") (docket no. 163) asking the court to
reconsider its January 9, 2018 Order ("Order")
(docket no. 94), which adopted in part and modified in part
United States Chief Magistrate Judge C.J. Williams's
Report and Recommendation (docket no. 47) and granted in part
and denied in part Defendant's "Motion to Suppress
Evidence" ("Motion to Suppress") (docket no.
RELEVANT PROCEDURAL HISTORY
August 24, 2017, a grand jury returned an Indictment (docket
no. 2) against Defendant. Count 1 charged Defendant with
distribution of a controlled substance near a protected
location resulting in death, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A), 841(b)(1)(C), 851 and
860(a), and Count 2 charged Defendant with possession with
intent to distribute a controlled substance near a protected
location, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1),
841(b)(1)(A), 841(b)(1)(C), 851 and 860(a). See
Indictment at 1-3.On November 13, 2017, Defendant filed the
Motion to Suppress. On December 6, 2017, Judge Williams
issued the Report and Recommendation, which recommended that
the court grant in part and deny in part the Motion to
Suppress. On January 9, 2018, the court issued the Order.
January 16, 2018, a jury trial commenced. See
January 16, 2018 Minute Entry (docket no. 116). On January
18, 2018, the jury found Defendant guilty of Counts 1 and 2
of the Indictment. See Jury Verdicts (docket no.
124). On June 26, 2018, Defendant filed the Motion. On July
19, 2018, the government filed a Resistance (docket no. 168).
On July 30, 2018, Defendant filed a Reply (docket no. 169).
Defendant requests a hearing on the Motion, but the court
finds that a hearing is unnecessary. The matter is fully
submitted and ready for decision.
RELEVANT FACTUAL BACKGROUND
April 16, 2017, Defendant and E.M. spent the day at the
residence of Ashley Ostrander and Donte Richards, mutual
friends. Shortly after midnight, Defendant called 911 to
report that E.M., his girlfriend, was unresponsive and not
breathing. Officers from the Dubuque Police Department and
paramedics arrived at the residence. Officers knew from
previous encounters that Ostrander and Richards were crack
users and that Richards was a crack dealer. As paramedics
attempted to revive E.M., officers spoke with Defendant,
Ostrander and Richards. Officer Matthew Walker spoke with
Defendant, and their conversation was recorded on his body
Walker spoke calmly and casually to Defendant, gathering
basic information about Defendant and the circumstances that
led to his finding E.M. not breathing. Defendant was
cooperative and provided the requested information, but
repeatedly wandered back and forth throughout the residence
during the conversation. After the fourth time Defendant
turned and walked into a different room, Officer Walker asked
Defendant to remain in place, stating, "I just gotta
talk to you, so kind of just stay here." Defendant stood
still momentarily to answer Officer Walker's next
question, but then again walked away towards a different
room. Officer Walker followed, and asked Defendant whether
E.M. had consumed anything illegal that day. Defendant turned
around and answered while walking into another room, telling
Officer Walker as he went that E.M. had been using narcotics
earlier in the evening. At that point, Officer Walked ask
Defendant to come with him to the rear of the residence,
where Defendant was questioned and made incriminating
Motion Suppress, Defendant claimed that he was unlawfully
seized without probable cause when officers questioned him at
the rear of the residence, and that he was subjected to a
custodial interrogation without being read his
Miranda rights. See Brief in Support of
Motion to Suppress (docket no. 36-1) at 3-7. Defendant argued
that the court, therefore, was required to suppress his
incriminating statements to law enforcement. See Id.
at 7. In the Order, the court found that Defendant was not
subjected to a custodial arrest, and that, therefore, no
suppression was warranted. See Order at 8-12.
Rather, the court found that the questioning at the rear of
the residence was a lawful Terry stop. See
Id. at 7; see also Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1,
20-22 (1968) (authorizing law enforcement to temporarily
detain an individual for an investigatory stop based on
reasonable suspicion that criminal activity has been, is
being or is about to be committed). The court found that
"the information about E.M.'s drug use, particularly
when coupled with the knowledge of the drug use of the other
occupants at the residence, established reasonable suspicion
that criminal activity may have been afoot." Order at 7.
now argues that he was subjected to a Terry stop
earlier in the encounter, when Officer Walker told him to
"just kind of stay here." See Motion at 7.
Defendant points out that Officer Walker told Defendant to
"just kind of stay here" before he asked Defendant
about E.M.'s drug use. See Id. at 5. Defendant argues
that without the information about E.M.'s drug use,
Officer Walker lacked reasonable suspicion for a
Terry stop. See Id. at 10-11. Defendant
further argues that the information about E.M.'s drug use
must be suppressed, and that the court must, therefore,
reverse its decision in the Order and suppress all statements
Defendant made to law enforcement. Upon consideration, for
the following reasons, the court shall not reverse its
decision in the Order.
argues that "Officer Walker seized . . . Defendant by
ordering . . . Defendant to stop walking, and [saying]
'just stay here'" in order to ask him questions.
Id. at 3 (emphasis omitted). However, "mere
police questioning does not constitute a seizure."
United States v. Barry,394 F.3d 1070, 1074 (8th
Cir. 2005) (quoting Florida v. Bostick, 501 U.S.
429, 434 (1991)). The relevant inquiry is whether "the
questioning is 'so intimidating, threatening, or coercive
that a reasonable person would not have believed himself free
to leave.'" United States v.