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United States v. Walker

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division

November 3, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
WAYNE WALKER, Defendant

Page 1386

For WAYNE WALKER, Defendant: WILMER PARKER, III, LEAD ATTORNEY, ATLANTA, GA.

For UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff: ELIZABETH S HOWARD, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, MACON, GA; GRAHAM A THORPE, LEAD ATTORNEY, MACON, GA.

Page 1387

ORDER

MARC T. TREADWELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Before the Court is Defendant Wayne Walker's motion to suppress. (Doc. 17). The Court held a hearing on the Defendant's motion on October 21, 2014. Based on the evidence presented at that hearing, the argument of counsel in their briefs, and applicable law, the Defendant's motion to suppress is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

I. BACKGROUND

On February 28, 2014, Sergeant Travis Douglas and Deputy Jason Douglas were on patrol in Jones County, Georgia, when their lieutenant informed them there was an arrest warrant for Michael Upshaw who possibly was staying at 111 Moore Place, Wayne Walker's residence. (Doc. 17-1 at 4). At 9 p.m. and again at 11 p.m., the officers drove to Walker's home and saw lights on inside. (Doc. 17-2 at 2). The officers knocked on the " back" door, which was the door nearer the driveway to the house from Moore Place,[1] but made no contact either time. (Doc. 17-2 at 2). During the 11 p.m. visit, the officers noticed a " still hot" Honda Civic which was not there before. (Doc. 17-1 at 4). At the hearing, the officers testified the car was parked under a carport adjacent to the back door. The officers drove by a third time at 5:04 a.m. on March 1, 2014, and saw the Civic's dome light on and someone, who turned out to be Walker, asleep inside with his head on the steering wheel. (Doc. 17-1 at 4). Sergeant Douglas tapped the window and called for Walker who then awoke. (Doc. 17-2 at 2). The officers noticed crumpled up money and what looked like a knife in the front passenger's seat and then asked Walker to step out of the vehicle. (Doc. 17-1 at 4). Walker complied and was told the officers were looking for Upshaw. (Doc. 17-2 at 2). Walker informed them Upshaw was not there but invited the officers to search his home for Upshaw. (Doc. 17-2 at 2-3; Doc. 20 at 6). According to the officers, Walker did not seem impaired and carried on an intelligent conversation. (Doc. 20 at 6).

As Walker led them inside, the officers noticed a $10 bill and a $100 bill on the ground and instructed Walker to pick them up; Walker complied and put the bills in his jacket pocket. (Doc. 17-1 at 5). They entered the home through the back door adjacent to the carport. (Doc. 21 at 5). Deputy Douglas searched for Upshaw but with no success. (Doc. 17-1 at 5). However, while looking behind a large chair, the deputy saw sheets of $100 bills printed on white paper and a $50 counterfeit bill on a shelf. (Doc. 17-1 at 5). When Sergeant Douglas asked Walker about this money, Walker became nervous and " kept moving his hands around." (Doc. 17-1 at 5). Concerned Walker could be armed, Sergeant Douglas frisked Walker

Page 1388

and found counterfeit money in his pockets, including the money Walker had picked up off the ground. (Doc. 17-2 at 3-4). Walker said the money belonged to Upshaw. (Doc. 17-2 at 4).

The officers believed they had probable cause because the counterfeit money was in plain view and in Walker's pockets, so Sergeant Douglas arrested and Mirandized Walker. (Doc. 17-1 at 5). Around the same time, Walker's fiancé e came in the room to whom Walker blurted out that the officers were there for the money Upshaw left. (Doc. 17-2 at 4). Then, before taking Walker to the station, the officers conducted a warrantless search of Walker's residence and his Honda Civic. (Doc. 17-2 at 5-6). During this search, the officers seized more counterfeit money as well as equipment used to make the money. (Doc. 17-2 at 5-6).

On March 2, 2014, Sergeant Douglas and Deputy Douglas took Walker to the interview room at the Jones County Sheriff's Office, where he was again read his Miranda rights. (Doc. 17-1 at 8). Walker said he understood his rights, agreed to speak, and signed a Waiver Certificate. (Doc. 17-1 at 8; Doc. 20-1). Walker confessed he had printed the money " to perfect" it, but had never " passed" it. (Doc. 17-1 at 8; Doc. 17-2 at 7). On March 4, 2014, Agent Lyman interviewed Walker and read him his Miranda rights. (Doc. 20 at 14). Walker said he understood and waived his rights. He informed Agent Lyman there was more counterfeit money in his truck and gave Lyman consent to search it. (Doc. 20 at 15).

On August 13, 2014, Walker was indicted for Manufacturing Counterfeit Obligations of the United States in violation of 18 U.S.C. ยง 471. (Doc. 1). He filed a motion to suppress on September 9, 2014. (Doc. 17). Walker moves to suppress all evidence in all forms obtained by law enforcement, including any tangible evidence seized, any " physical observations" by the officers, and any statements Walker made before or after his arrest. (Doc. 21 at 1-2). This evidence specifically includes (1) the counterfeit money on the shelf; (2) the counterfeit money in Walker's pockets; (3) the counterfeit ...


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