United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
H. COHEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
action comes before the Court on the Final Report and
Recommendation ("R&R") of Magistrate Judge
Justin S. Anand [Doc. 65] recommending that Defendant's
Perfected Motion to Suppress Statements [Doc. 24] be granted
in part and denied in part and that Defendant's Amended
Perfected Motion to Suppress Evidence Seized From Electronic
Devices [Doc. 41] be granted. The Order for Service of the
R&R [Doc. 66] provided notice that, in
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), the parties were
authorized to file objections within fourteen (14) days of
the receipt of that Order. See also FED. R. CRIM. P.
59(a). Within the required time period, Defendant filed his
objections to the R&R [Doc. 70], and thereafter filed his
amended objections [Doc. 71], the latter of which will be
considered by the Court as Defendant's objections
("Def.'s Objs."). The Government has filed no
objections to the R&R.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
reviewing a magistrate judge's R&R, the district
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). "Parties filing objections to a
magistrate's report and recommendation must specifically
identify those findings objected to. Frivolous, conclusive,
or general objections need not be considered by the district
court." United States v. Schultz, 565 F.3d
1353, 1361 (11th Cir. 2009) (quoting Marsden v.
Moore, 847 F.2d 1536, 1548 (11th Cir. 1988)) (internal
quotation marks omitted). If there are no specific objections
to factual findings made by the magistrate judge, there is no
requirement that those findings be reviewed de novo.
Garvey v. Vaughn, 993 F.2d 776, 779 n.9 (11th Cir.
1993). Absent objection, the district court judge "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), and may accept the recommendation if
it is not clearly erroneous or contrary to the law. FED. R.
CRIM. P. 59. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)
and Rule 59 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the
Court has conducted a de novo review of those
portions of the R&R to which Defendant objects and has
reviewed the remainder of the R&R for plain error.
See United States v. Slav, 714 F.2d 1093, 1095 (11th
Motion to Suppress Statements
generally objects to the failure of the Magistrate Judge to
grant his motion to suppress in its entirety. Def.'s
Objs. at 1. His individual objections are discussed
objects to the Magistrate Judge's credibility
determination on the question of how long Defendant was held
outside of his residence at the time United States Postal
Inspectors searched the premises in accordance with a
warrant. Id., at 1-2. Defendant evidently believes that the
Magistrate Judge's determination that credited the
testimony of Inspector Petronis over Bijoux Samson somehow
was determinative as to the issues in dispute.
the Magistrate Judge specifically stated that he
did not perceive the difference [in the testimony between
Sampson and Petronis] to be dispositive in the resolution of
any of the legal issues in dispute. If it were necessary to
resolve this discrepancy, the Court finds that the
recollection of Petronis, a trained and professional agent
whose testimony was generally credible, is likely to be more
reliable on a specific detail such as the duration of time,
rather then the recollection of a bystander who was no doubt
operating under a certain amount of shock at the inception of
R&R at 2-3, n.1.
credibility determination was not dispositive and, even if it
was, this Court has reviewed the transcript of the
evidentiary hearing and finds the reasons given by Judge
Anand for crediting the inspector's testimony and,
conversely, for finding Mr. Samson's testimony to be less
than credible and inconsistent were reasonable. Tr. of
Evidentiary Hr'g ("Tr.") [Doc. 49] at 12-15,
68. A district court is not required to rehear witness
testimony when accepting a magistrate judge's credibility
findings. United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667,
680-81 (1980); United States v. Thompson, 422 F.3d
1285, 1297 (11th Cir. 2008). "[I]n evaluating the
factual version of events between the law enforcement
officer[ ] and [the defendant], we should defer to the
magistrate judge's determinations unless his
understanding of the facts appears to be
'unbelievable.'" United States v.
Ramirez-Chilel, 289 F.3d 744, 749 (11th Cir. 2002)
(citing United States v. Rivera, 775 F.2d 1559, 1561
(11th Cir. 1985)). See also United States v. Emanuel
440 Fed.Appx. 881, 883 (11th Cir. 2011) (according
"substantial deference" to the credibility
determinations made by the magistrate judge where the
defendant "failed to show that the magistrate
[judge]'s understanding of the facts is not plausible or
permissible, ., ."). This is not one of those "rare
cases" in which the transcript of the evidentiary
hearing presents a basis for rejecting the Magistrate
Judge's resolution of credibility. United States v.
Marshall 609 F.2d 152, 155 (5th Cir.
1980); see also United States v.
Cofield, 272 F.3d 1303, 1306 (11th Cir. 2001)
("This is not the 'rare case' discussed in
Marshall as the transcript here provides no basis to
reject the magistrate judge's credibility