United States District Court, S.D. Florida
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION
G. TORRES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Tarresse Leonard's
(“Leonard”) motion to suppress [D.E. 59] physical
evidence, including a firearm, ammunition, and eight grams of
cocaine protected under the Fourth Amendment of the United
States Constitution. An evidentiary hearing was held on April
23, 2019 and Leonard's motion is now ripe for
disposition. Having carefully considered Leonard's
motion, the Government's response in opposition, the
testimony of the witnesses, the oral arguments of counsel,
and being fully advised in the premises, the Court recommends
that Leonard's motion be DENIED for the
reasons set forth below.
18, 2018, Detective Stanley Paul-Noel (“Detective
Paul-Noel”) of the Miami Police Department was
conducting surveillance in an unmarked vehicle for an
unrelated narcotics investigation near the corner of
Southwest 37th Avenue and Florida Avenue. While doing so, he
observed Emanuel Jackson (“Jackson”) walking with
a firearm in his hand towards a small crowd of individuals
who had gathered near the southeast corner of 37th Avenue and
Florida Avenue. As Jackson approached the crowd, Detective
Paul-Noel claims that Jackson raised the firearm and pointed
it in the direction of individuals standing on the corner. As
the crowd began to disperse, Jackson placed the firearm in
his waistband, took off his shirt, and walked towards 3675
Florida Avenue, Miami, Florida (the “Residence”).
Tarresse Leonard (“Leonard”) and another
individual accompanied him.
precautionary measure, Detective Paul-Noel did not
immediately intervene. Instead, Detective Paul-Noel called
for reinforcements and Detective Adrian Valle
(“Detective Valle”) arrived on the scene within
sixty seconds. The two detectives then followed Jackson to
place him under arrest. The detectives verbally identified
themselves and shouted commands for the three men to stop.
When Jackson noticed the detectives, he ran towards the
Residence and Mr. Leonard tossed a large freezer bag of
marijuana on the ground. Afterwards, the three men ran into
detectives chased the three men into the Residence. They
apprehended Jackson in the living room and immediately placed
him under arrest. A few moments later, Officer Yader
Somarriba (“Officer Somarriba”) arrived on the
scene and conducted a pat-down search of Jackson's
person. Officer Somarriba recovered a black 9mm handgun from
Jackson's waistband. Officer Somarriba also found a
plastic bag of heroin and a yellow-tinted baggie containing
pieces of Xanax bars in Jackson's front right pocket.
While taking Jackson into custody, Detective Paul-Noel
noticed a clear plastic bag containing crack cocaine in the
living room in plain view. Meanwhile, Mr. Leonard ran to the
east bedroom of the Residence.The officers directed Mr. Leonard
to come out of the bedroom and, when he complied, law
enforcement placed him under arrest. Leonard alleges that
Jackson admitted to law enforcement that he owned the drugs
on the sofa in the living room of the Residence.
taking the three men into custody, Detective Paul-Noel
interviewed Jackson and Leonard. During the interview,
Jackson admitted that he was in possession of drugs and a
firearm. Law enforcement then applied for and obtained a
state search warrant. In the execution of the warrant, law
enforcement recovered a loaded pistol, baggies of cocaine,
and crack cocaine in the child's bedroom. Officers
located the gun and ammunition under a mattress and the
cocaine/cocaine base behind a dresser.
September 13, 2018, a federal grand jury indicted the three
men and charged each of them as a felon in possession of a
firearm and ammunition, in violation of Title 18, United
States Code, Section 922(g) and possession with the intent to
distribute a controlled substance, in violation of Title 21,
United States Code, Section 841(a)(1). Jackson and Leonard
were also charged with brandishing a firearm in furtherance
of a drug trafficking crime and possession of a firearm in
furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of
Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1)(A)(i).
motion seeks to suppress a firearm, ammunition, cocaine, and
a cocaine base found pursuant to a search warrant that law
enforcement obtained on May 18, 2018 at the Residence.
Leonard argues that the Court should suppress the evidence
seized during the search of the Residence because the
officers (1) entered the Residence and conducted a
warrantless search of the premises without probable cause or
exigent circumstances, and (2) omitted key facts from an
affidavit used to obtain a search warrant for another search
of the premises. We discuss Leonard's arguments in turn.
Whether Leonard has Standing
claims that the detectives unlawfully entered the Residence
without a warrant and that any evidence recovered must be
suppressed as a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Before we
consider the merits of Leonard's motion to suppress, we
must determine in the first instance whether Leonard has
standing to assert a Fourth Amendment violation.
Fourth Amendment guarantees that people shall “be
secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against
unreasonable searches and seizures.” U.S. Const. amend.
IV. The Amendment applies “without regard to whether
the government actor is investigating crime or performing
another function, ” including acting as an employer.
City of Ontario, Cal. v. Quon, 560 U.S. 746, 756
(2010). “The Fourth Amendment's prohibition against
unreasonable searches and seizures protects an individual in
those places where [he] can demonstrate a reasonable
expectation of privacy against government intrusion.”
United States v. King, 509 F.3d 1338, 1341 (11th
Cir. 2007) (quotation marks omitted). In other words, the
“capacity to claim the protection of the Fourth
Amendment depends upon whether the person who claims the
protection of the Amendment has a legitimate expectation of
privacy in the invaded place.” Minnesota v.
Carter, 525 U.S. 83, 88 (1998) (citation, internal
quotation marks, and ellipses omitted). Accordingly, a
defendant has standing to challenge a search and seizure only
if he “had a legitimate expectation of privacy in the
property when it was searched.” United States v.
Gibson, 708 F.3d 1256, 1276 (11th Cir. 2013) (citation
and internal quotation marks omitted).
searches and seizures inside a person's home are
presumptively unreasonable. See United States v.
Franklin, 694 F.3d 1, 7 (11th Cir. 2012). The curtilage
of a home, “the private property immediately adjacent
to a home, is entitled to the same protection against
unreasonable search and seizure as the home itself.”
United States v. Noriega, 676 F.3d 1252, 1262 (11th
Cir. 2012) (citation, internal quotation marks, and
alterations omitted). The Supreme Court has defined the
curtilage as the area around the home that harbors those
intimate activities associated with domestic life and the
privacies of the home. See United States v. Dunn,
480 U.S. 294, 300 (1987). This means that “[w]henever
government agents enter into the curtilage they necessarily
intrude upon the individual's reasonable expectation of
privacy.” United States v. Jackson, 588 F.2d
1046, 1053 (5th Cir. 1979).
order to have standing to seek suppression of evidence, a
defendant must establish both a subjective expectation of
privacy in the place searched as well as the objective
reasonableness of that expectation.” United States
v. Maxi, 886 F.3d 1318, 1325 (11th Cir. 2018) (citing
United States v. Robinson, 62 F.3d 1325, 1328 (11th
Cir. 1995)). “[W]here the premises searched is the
dwelling or is owned or rented by, or is in the possession of
the accused, he has standing to attack the search.”
United States v. Bachner, 706 F.2d 1121, 1126 n.6
(11th Cir. 1983) (quoting State v. Leveson, 151
So.2d 283, 285 (Fla. 1963)). However, in some circumstances,
“a person may have a legitimate expectation of privacy
in the house of someone else.” Carter, 525
U.S. at 89. For example, “an overnight guest in a home
may claim the protection of the Fourth Amendment, but one who
is merely present with the consent of the householder may
not.” Id. at 90 (explaining that the Fourth
Amendment extends to overnight guests because
“hold[ing] that an overnight guest has a legitimate
expectation of privacy in his host's home merely
recognizes the every day expectations of privacy we all
share. Staying overnight in another's home is a
longstanding social custom that serves functions recognized
as valuable by society”).
defendant also may establish standing by demonstrating an
unrestricted right of occupancy or custody and control of the
premises searched; ownership is not required, but mere
presence or even possession of a key is insufficient.”
United States v. Merricks,572 Fed.Appx. 753, 757
(11th Cir. 2014) (quoting United States v.
Sarda-Villa, 760 F.2d 1232, 1236 (11th Cir. 1985)).
Ultimately, a defendant bears the burden of proving a
legitimate expectation of privacy in an area searched; if an
individual fails to do so, the defendant cannot challenge the
search. See Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128, 130 n.1
(1978); see also Presley v. ...