United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S ORDER AND FINAL REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION AND ORDER CERTIFYING THIS CASE READY FOR
T. WALKER CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
case is before the court on Defendant Christopher Wayne
Jackson's (“Defendant”) Motion to Suppress
(Doc. 15), First Supplement to Motion to Suppress (Doc. 16),
Post-Hearing Supplement to Motion to Suppress (Doc. 23), and
Motion for Consideration of Additional Authority on Pending
Motion to Suppress (Doc. 30). For the reasons that follow,
this Court RECOMMENDS that Defendant's
Motions to Suppress should be GRANTED.
(Docs. 15, 16, 23). Defendant's Motion for Consideration
of Additional Authority on Pending Motion to Suppress is
GRANTED. (Doc. 30). Because there are no
more motions or other matters to address for Defendant
Jackson, the undersigned certifies him ready for trial.
MOTIONS TO SUPPRESS SEARCH
March 27, 2018, the Grand Jury charged Defendant with
knowingly and intentionally possessing with intent to
distribute a detectable amount of cocaine, marijuana, and
alprazolam (known as Xanax) in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1), 841 (b)(1)(c), 841(b)(1)(D), and
841(b)(1)(E)(2) and possession of a firearm in furtherance of
a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
924(c)(1)(A)(I). (Doc. 1). On May 14, 2018, Defendant filed
his Motion to Suppress and supplemented his Motion on May 13,
2018. (Docs. 15, 16). This Court held an evidentiary hearing
on July 20, 2018 (Doc. 22), and Defendant filed a
Post-Hearing Supplement to his Motion to Suppress on August
7, 2018 (Doc. 23). On October 3, 2018, Defendant filed a
Reply in support of his Motion (Doc. 29) and then moved on
October 24, 2018, to supplement his Reply with additional
legal authority (Doc. 30). Defendant's Motion for
Consideration of Additional Authority on Pending Motion to
Suppress is GRANTED. (Doc. 30).
Defendant's Motions to Suppress, he argues that evidence
obtained during the search of the 498 Center Hill Avenue and
his statements made at the time of the search should be
suppressed because (1) there was no search warrant for 498
Center Hill Avenue; (2) the arrest warrant for Ryan Jackson
did not justify entry into his residence at 498 Center Hill
Avenue because the Government's evidence does not show
that Ryan Jackson lived at the residence or that he was at
the property; (3) there were no exigent circumstances
justifying entry other than those created by the law
enforcement officers; (4) the plain view doctrine does not
justify entry of the residence and the subsequent search
because the officers' presence in the curtilage of the
home was unlawful; and (5) the search warrant obtained for
the search of 490 Center Hill Avenue did not justify entry
into 498 Center Hill Avenue because 498 was not listed on the
face of or adequately described with particularity within the
Police Attempt to Execute an Arrest Warrant for
Defendant's Brother at Defendant's
August 12, 2015, Officer Kristopher Hutchens, who was
employed by the Clayton County Police Department for
twenty-three years and assigned to the United States Marshal
Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force for four years,
attempted to apprehend fugitive Ryan Jackson. (Tr. 46-47, 50;
Gov't's Ex. 1). Ryan Jackson was charged with home
invasion, armed robbery, false imprisonment, two counts of
aggravated assault, burglary, possession of a weapon during a
crime, and possession of a firearm by a felon. (Tr. 48,
Gov't's Ex. 48). Because Ryan Jackson was wanted for
home invasion robbery, he was considered to be armed and
dangerous. (Tr. 48). Officers had previously tried to arrest
Ryan Jackson in May 2015 at an apartment which was believed
to be rented by Ryan Jackson's father. (Tr. 48-49).
point, Task Force Officer (“TFO”) Hutchens
received a tip that Ryan was at 498 Center
Hill. (Tr. 50). Upon receiving the tip, TFO
Hutchens looked up the address and learned that it was
occupied by Defendant Christopher Jackson, who used the 498
Center Hill Avenue address on his driver's license and
was Ryan Jackson's brother. (Tr. 50, 71). TFO Hutchens
did not know whether Ryan Jackson resided there and Ryan
Jackson was not been listed in any of the documentation TFO
Hutchens could locate for the property. (Tr. 71, 73). Yet,
TFO Hutchens thought Ryan Jackson might be at the residence
because in his experience, he rarely found fugitives where
they sleep. (Tr. 78-79). TFO Hutchens had also viewed social
media postings by Ryan Jackson which showed Ryan Jackson on
the porch, as well as inside the interior of the home. (Tr.
morning of August 12, 2015, TFO Hutchens began conducting
surveillance of 498 Center Hill from about thirty-five to
forty yards away. (Tr. 51-52). That morning, TFO Hutchens
observed someone who he thought met the description for Ryan
Jackson, arrive in a car during and enter the residence at
498 Center Hill. (Tr. 52-53, 74). TFO Hutchens did not seek
information about the license tag of the car in which the
suspect had arrived. (Tr. 74). The arriving suspect had a
light complexion, tattoos, was about 6 feet, 4 or 5 inches
tall and appeared to weigh approximately 230 or 240 pounds.
(Tr. 52, 93). The description of Ryan Jackson within the
arrest warrant indicated that Ryan was 6 feet, 4 inches, and
approximately 225 pounds, African-American, with brown eyes
and black hair. (Tr. 52-53, Gov't's Ex. 1). In the
photograph the Government had on file, Ryan Jackson appeared
to be an African-American male with short hair and
light-skin. (Tr. 48, 53; Gov't's Ex. 2).
seeing who he believed to be suspect Ryan Jackson, TFO
Hutchens requested assistance from other Marshals to meet him
at a location close to 498 Center Hill so that he could brief
them and then return to the house to arrest Ryan Jackson.
(Tr. 54, 72-73 (explaining that TFO Hutchens called for a
team to “hit the house” because he saw the person
resembling Ryan Jackson at the house that morning). TFO
Hutchens left his surveillance post for approximately
forty-five minutes and then returned with a group of sworn
U.S. Marshals. (Tr. 54-55). TFO Hutchens testified that he
could not have another officer replace him to continue
surveillance during that forty-five minute period because the
street from which he was observing is small and there was no
way to get another person to take his place without being
seen. (Tr. 81). TFO Hutchens felt he could not risk someone
watching, seeing another car come in there, and Ryan taking
off. (Tr. 81-82).
the briefing, approximately ten Marshals arrived at 498
Center Hill Avenue. (Tr. 82). Although there were cars still
in the driveway at the time the police arrived, TFO Hutchens
does not recall whether the car the suspect had arrived in
remained at the residence. (Tr. 76-77). TFO Hutchens states
that multiple cars came and went from the residence during
his period of surveillance. (Tr. 77).
Marshals placed a perimeter around the house to make sure no
one jumped out of the windows and ran. (Tr. 55). The entry
team, consisting of seven or eight officers, climbed the
stairs at the front entry of 498 Center Hill Avenue with TFO
Hutchens. (Tr. 55). About ten minutes after their arrival,
the group of officers knocked and announced their presence.
(Tr. 76). Because the front door was recessed several feet
and only one officer could fit at the entry, TFO Hutchens
knocked on the side of the house close to the front door. TFO
Hutchens states that the officers “identified
[themselves] as police and requested someone to come and open
the door.” (Tr. 56).
who had similar skin tone as Ryan Jackson, opened the door.
(Tr. 56-58). TFO Hutchens thought that the person could be
Ryan Jackson, but had a feeling that it was not Ryan Jackson
when he saw Defendant's dreadlocks because Ryan Jackson
had short hair in all of the photos TFO Hutchens had seen.
(Tr. 56-58, 68-70). Nevertheless, TFO Hutchens still thought
Ryan Jackson was inside because he had information that Ryan
Jackson sometimes went to the residence, Ryan Jackson's
brother (Defendant) claimed the address on his driver's
license, Ryan Jackson had posted photos of himself at 498
Center Hill on social media, and the person he saw enter the
home earlier matched the description for Ryan Jackson. (Tr.
stood in the middle of the doorway, but slammed the door less
than two seconds later. (Tr. 58, 99). TFO Hutchens testified
that at that time, he smelled marijuana. (Tr. 58). TFO
Hutchens states that after Defendant closed the door, his
initial thoughts were that Ryan Jackson was in the house and
that he was collecting weapons to engage the officers, to
barricade himself, or to hide in other parts of the house.
(Tr. 59). Thus, TFO Hutchens was concerned for the safety of
the officers. (Tr. 59).
The Officers Ram the Door and Perform a Security Sweep of
nine minutes after the officers knocked on the door and
announced their presence, the officers breached the front
door with a ram. (Tr. 59, 67, 77-78). TFO Hutchens states
that the officers could see into the residence and observed
multiple people “running left, right, [and] all over
the house.” (Tr. 59). The officers then called to the
interior, “Hey, this is the police, come out to
us.” (Tr. 59). Several of the occupants filed out of
the home where the police made contact with them on the
porch. (Tr. 60). Defendant eventually came outside. (Tr. 60).
Each of the occupants were secured with handcuffs away from
the front porch. (Tr. 62). The officers never saw the
individual who TFO Hutchens thought met the description of
Ryan Jackson. (Tr. 68).
TFO Hutchens reached the point where he believed that no
other individuals would be leaving the house, he decided that
the officers should enter the residence and perform a
security sweep. (Tr. 85-86). TFO Hutchens testified that
because of Defendant's reaction when he opened the door,
the smell of narcotics emanating from the residence, the
presence of the weapons systems in an apartment where law
enforcement officers previously tried to arrest Ryan Jackson,
and all of the issues police had at the prior attempt to
arrest Jackson, he believed that the officers needed to enter
the house to clear it. (Tr. 61, 93). Additionally, TFO
Hutchens was concerned that because of the amount of time
that had elapsed between the officers arriving at the
residence, knocking, and actually putting their feet inside
the door, Ryan Jackson would have had plenty of time to
“barricade up, collect these weapons, [and] could be
waiting on [the officers].” (Tr. 93). TFO Hutchens also
testified that the officers entered the residence because he
was there for a fugitive that he believed to be inside. (Tr.
minutes after the officers breached the door, the entry team
conducted the security sweep. (Tr. 60, 80). As part of the
security sweep, the officers, with their weapons drawn,
looked for people in the residence anywhere in which a body
could fit. (Tr. 61-62). Once the house was secure, the
officers holstered their weapons. (Tr. 62). While performing
the security sweep, the officers observed multiple firearms
laying around the residence. (Tr. 50).
Force Officer Joshua Mauney, who was also assigned to the
United States Marshal Fugitive Task Force pursuing Ryan
Jackson on August 12, 2015, testified that he went to 498
Center Hill Avenue with the team to arrest Ryan Jackson. (Tr.
97-98). After Defendant slammed the door in the officers'
faces, TFO Mauney became concerned that Defendant was trying
to hide Ryan Jackson and that he was trying to give Ryan
Jackson time to escape or to barricade himself. (Tr. 99). TFO
Mauney testified that before Defendant closed the door on the
officers, TFO Mauney smelled marijuana. (Tr. 100). TFO Mauney
also testified that he could still smell marijuana after he
entered the residence. (Tr. 100). While conducting the
search, he observed guns and drugs in plain view inside the
residence. (Tr. 101). TFO Mauney admits that he did not enter
498 Center Hill Avenue because he smelled marijuana, but
rather because he was pursuing a fugitive. (Tr. 106).
Law Enforcement Officers Obtain a Warrant for a Search of
498 Center Hill Avenue
Hutchens and Mauney were not involved with the paperwork to
obtain a warrant. (Tr. 89). Investigator O'Hare of the
United States Marshal Service contacted Detective David
Pickering of the Atlanta Police Department to seek assistance
in obtaining a warrant for the search of the residence. (Tr.
120-22). Investigator O'Hare told Detective Pickering
that the house was located on the 400 block of Center Hill,
that the exterior of the house was blue, and that the color
of the steps for the house was red. (Tr. 122-23).
Investigator O'Hare also told Detective Pickering that
the reason for the search warrant was because officers
observed marijuana in plain view in three rooms. (Tr. 145).
Investigator O'Hare did not mention the marijuana smell
to Detective Pickering. (Tr. 145).
affidavit and application for a search warrant initially
described the address to be searched as 490 Center Hill
Street NW, 30318. (Def.'s Ex. 14, at 000007). One line
below, it described the location to be searched as a blue
single-story dwelling with red wooden stairs leading to the
front door on 490 Center Hill Avenue. (Def.'s Ex. 14, at
000007). In the affidavit and application, it was noted that
during the search of the residence for Ryan Jackson, the
officers discovered “marijuana in plain view in three
rooms” and approximately twelve types of firearms
inside the residence. (Gov't's Ex. 6). The officers
sought authorization for the search of Defendant's
residence for marijuana, weapons, and other evidence of
narcotics possession or distribution. (Gov't's Ex.
Judge signed the search warrant at 4:45 p.m. and Detective
Pickering arrived at the scene approximately fifteen or
twenty minutes later to execute the search warrant. (Tr.
150). The warrant described the location to be searched in
exactly the same way it was described in the affidavit and
application, including the description as being a blue house
with red front steps and the discrepancy between 490 Center
Hill Street on one line and 490 Center Hill Avenue on the
next. (Def.'s Ex. 15, at 000002).
Pickering states that when he arrived at the scene for
purposes of executing the search warrant, officers directed
him to a blue house with the red steps, on 498 Center Hill
Avenue. (Tr. 64, 127, Gov't's Ex. 4). Detective
Pickering testified that he did not realize the last digit of
the house number was incorrect on the warrant until after
executed the search warrant at the blue house. (Tr. 125, 164).
Detective Pickering states that prior to August 12, 2015, he
had never been to Defendant's neighborhood and that mail
for 490 Center Hill was found in the mailbox outside 498
Center Hill. (Tr. 125, 130). Detective Pickering also points
out that 490 Center Hill did not ...