United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
OPINION AND ORDER 
POLSTER CHAPPELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendant Oliver Rocher's Motion to Suppress
(Doc. 21), the United States of America's
response in opposition (Doc. 23), and Rocher's
reply (Doc. 26). The undersigned held an evidentiary
hearing on Rocher's motion at which Rocher was present
and represented by counsel.
called two witnesses at the hearing - himself and Detective
Christopher Tice of the Lee County Sheriff's Office. He
also introduced affidavits for search warrants that Detective
Tice prepared in unrelated cases. The Government called no
witnesses, but it introduced three exhibits: the search
warrant for Rocher's hotel room, Detective Tice's
affidavit in support of the warrant, and a list of items
hearing, the Court held that Rocher had standing to bring the
motion to suppress but that he was not entitled to a
Franks hearing. The Court took under advisement
Rocher's challenge to the search warrant's
particularity with a written order to follow. This Opinion
and Order is that decision.
a drugs and guns case. It started when a confidential
informant (“CI”) told Detective Tice that
“Lotto, ” who she later identified as Rocher, was
selling heroin. Neither party disputes that Rocher and Lotto
are the same person. Detective Tice arranged two controlled
drug buys between the CI and Rocher. The first happened on
May 11, 2017.The CI called Rocher, and they agreed to
meet at a local mall within the hour. After confirming the CI
had no contraband, Detective Tice equipped her with a one-way
audio device and gave her prerecorded cash to buy heroin.
thirty minutes later, another detective drove the CI to the
mall and “parked near the front by the food
court.” (Gov't Ex. 1 at 2). The detective and the
CI went inside, and the CI called Rocher. At Rocher's
direction, the CI left the food court and headed to the
mall's back parking lot. Detective Tice trailed the CI to
the lot “to keep a constant visual of [her].”
(Gov't Ex. 1 at 2). The CI entered a Chrysler Sebring
with only Rocher inside. According to Detective Tice, the CI
handed Rocher cash and Rocher “handed the CI a bag of
suspected heroin.” (Gov't Ex. 1 at 2).
returned to the mall where the other detective was waiting.
Detective Tice followed Rocher to a nearby Comfort Inn, where
he photographed Rocher walking towards the hotel's side
doors. Detective Tice then met the CI and fellow detective at
a set location. There, the CI's purchased drugs
field-tested positive for heroin. The CI later identified
Rocher in a six-person photo line-up as the person who sold
that same day, Detective Tice returned to the Comfort Inn.
Detective Tice passed Rocher in the lobby and watched him
drive away. The front desk employee confirmed that Rocher had
been at the hotel for several weeks and had rented two rooms.
second controlled drug buy happened about a week later at the
Comfort Inn. To prepare for the buy, Detective Tice searched
the CI for unauthorized contraband, equipped her with a
one-way audio device, and gave her prerecorded cash. Another
detective drove the CI to the hotel. That detective went to
the hotel's second floor and watched Rocher meet the CI.
Detective Tice was “in the parking lot and kept a
constant visual of the CI as the CI walked through the
parking lot towards the hotel pool area.” (Gov't
Ex. 1 at 3). The CI made immediate contact with Rocher.
Because Rocher allegedly felt like someone was watching, he
brought the CI into a stairwell. Once inside, Rocher handed
the CI a newspaper that concealed heroin. A few minutes
later, the CI returned to the undercover car. Detective Tice
eventually met the CI and other detective at a set location.
The drugs the CI purchased again field-tested positive for
heroin. The CI also picked Rocher from a photo lineup as the
person who sold her drugs the second time.
about three months to August. Detective Tice learned that
Rocher left the Comfort Inn and moved to the Budget Inn. On
August 1, he saw Rocher walk through the Budget Inn's
parking lot and enter Room 115. He watched the room for most
of the day. Detective Tice testified that he saw Rocher come
in and out of Room 115 about four times that day. He also
observed Rocher meet with about six people in fewer than
thirty minutes. According to Detective Tice, “[i]t
appeared Rocher was conducting quick hand to hand
transactions in front of the Hotel room.” (Gov't
Ex. 1 at 4). Detective Tice also watched Rocher drive a
silver Nissan Altima out of the Budget Inn's parking lot.
Tice continued to watch Room 115 the next day. Detective Tice
testified that he saw Rocher move in and out of the room
about four times. He also observed Rocher meet with people
(maybe a dozen or so) at the hotel's door with each
interaction lasting under a minute. He also saw Rocher walk
toward the Nissan Altima to meet with three women. (Gov't
Ex. 1 at 4).
on the CI's controlled drug buys and his observations of
Rocher at the Budget Inn, Detective Tice applied for a
warrant on August 2 to search Room 115. A county court judge
signed a search warrant that incorporated Detective
Tice's affidavit. (Gov't Ex. 2). When the officers
executed the search warrant on August 3 around 7:00 a.m.,
they found Rocher sleeping in the hotel bed. They arrested
Rocher and seized these items: cocaine, heroin, cash, Smith
& Wesson firearm, magazine clip, First Alert safe,
digital scale, and bottles of caffeine and testosterone.
(Gov't Ex. 11).
on the foregoing, a federal grand jury indicted Rocher for
distributing heroin and cocaine, possessing a firearm and
ammunition as a convicted felon, and possessing a firearm to
further drug trafficking. (Doc. 1). He now moves to
suppress the drugs, firearm, ammunition, and his statements.
hearing, the Court first heard the Government's challenge
to Rocher's standing to bring the motion to suppress.
Standing is a shorthand reference for the threshold
determination under the Fourth Amendment of whether Rocher
had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the invaded area -
Room 115. United States v. Cooper, 133 F.3d 1394,
1398 (11th Cir. 1998).
Government argued that Rocher lacked standing because he
rented the hotel room under an alias only to sell drugs and
changed his story about owning the clothes found in the room.
The Court was unpersuaded. It found at the hearing that
Rocher proved a reasonable expectation of privacy in Room
115. Rocher testified at the hearing that he lived at and
slept in Room 115 for the first three days in August. This
testimony was consistent with Defective Tice who witnessed
Rocher freely access Room 115 on August 1 and 2. According to
Detective Tice, Rocher came and went, met people at Room
115's door, and even let individuals inside. When the
officers executed the search warrant, Rocher was sleeping in
the bed, his driver's license was secured in the safe,
and his clothes were in the room. Based on these facts, and
for the reasons stated on the record at the hearing, the
Court found that Rocher had standing to bring his motion to