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 John
K. Larkins III [Doc. 123] recommending that Defendant's
Motion to Suppress Evidence [Doc. 29] be denied. The Order
for Service of the R&R [Doc. 124] 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. Defendant has filed his
objections to the R&R [Doc. 126] ("Def.'s
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 fling 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)). If there
are no specific objections to factual findings made by the
Magistrate Judge, there is no requirement that those findings
be reviewed de nova. Garvey v. Vaughn, 993 F.2d 776,
779 n.9 (11th Cir. 1993) (citations omitted). 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(a). 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 nova 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 Cir. 1983).
Initial Traffic Stop
challenges the Magistrate Judge's finding that there was
reasonable suspicion to conduct a traffic stop to identify
the driver of the yellow Silverado previously identified by
co-Anthony Lamar Louis ("Louis"). Def's Objs.
at 1-2. It is well-settled that probable cause is not
necessary under the Fourth Amendment to conduct an
investigatory stop. The police "may, consistent with the
Fourth Amendment, conduct a brief, investigatory stop when
the officer has a reasonable, articulable suspicion that
criminal activity is afoot." Illinois v.
Wardlow, 528 U.S. 119, 123 (2000); see also Terry v.
Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 30-31 (1968).
Reasonable susp1c1on demands "considerably less"
than probable cause, but "the police are required to
articulate some minimal, objective justification for the
stop." United States v. Mikell 102 F.3d 470,
475 (11t Cir. 1996). That justification may be based on the
information available to the officer at the time. See
[United States v.] Arvizu, [534
U.S. 266, ] 273 [(2002)].
United States v. Webster. 314 Fed.Appx.
226, 229 (11th Cir. 2008) (additional citation omitted).
determine whether reasonable suspicion exists, the court
"must look at the 'totality of the
circumstances' of each case to see whether the detaining
officer has a 'particularized and objective basis'
for suspecting legal wrongdoing." Arvizu, 534
U.S. at 273. Examining the totality of the circumstances
"allows officers to draw on their own experience and
specialized training to make inferences from and deductions
about the cumulative information available to them that might
well elude an untrained person." Id. at 273
(quotation and citation omitted). The Court will give due
weight to an officer's experience and expertise when
evaluating reasonable suspicion. Orelas v. United
States, 517 U.S. 690, 699 (1996); see also United
States v. Chanthasouxat, 342 F.3d 1271, 1276 (11th Cir.
2000) ("[g]reat deference is given to the judgment of
trained law enforcement officers on the scene.")
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
to April 20, 2017, agents of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms,
and Explosives ("ATF") Federal Task Force had been
investigating Louis and made a series of undercover drug
purchases. Tr. of Jan. 9, 2018, Suppression H'rg [Doc.
98] at 103-04. Louis previously was observed driving behind
Muffler City, a muffler shop on Metropolitan Parkway in
Atlanta, where he obtained drugs. Id at 104. On
April 20, 2017, an undercover officer went to Muffler City
and observed Louis drive to a trailer located behind the
muffler shop and speak with someone. Id. at 57.
Louis left and was later arrested by ATF agents pursuant to a
warrant. Id. at 104-05. Louis was asked what his
source of drugs were from behind the Muffler City, and Louis
said it was "an individual who went by Wayne to him,
Wayne that drove a yellow Silverado." Id. at
105. Around the same time Louis was being interviewed, the
undercover officer observed a yellow Silverado truck arrive
at the location behind Muffler City. Id. at 57, 105.
This information was communicated to other officers and a
traffic stop was made after the Silverado left the area in
order to identify the driver, who was Defendant. Id
at 58, 107.
contends that the Magistrate Judge erred by falling to find
that the traffic stop was unlawful because "there were
no observed violations," "no consent" for the
stop, and no other investigation to tie the driver of the
Silverado to any crime. Def.'s Objs. at 1-2. However, the
Magistrate Judge properly applied the legal standard for the
traffic stop, considered the totality of the circumstances,
and found that reasonable suspicion supported the stop.
Specifically, at the time of the stop, law enforcement
officers knew that Louis had obtained narcotics from behind
Muffler City, had observed a yellow Silverado truck in that
location, and Louis indicated that he purchased narcotics
from an individual by the name of Wayne who drove a yellow
Silverado. Because there was reasonable suspicion to conduct
the traffic stop to determine the driver's
identification, Defendant's objection is OVERRULED.
objections, Defendant "reiterates and adopts herein, his
argument that identity information is suppressible under the
Fourth Amendment." Def. 's Objs. at 2. "[A]
party does not state a valid objection to an R&R by
merely incorporating by reference previous filings."
Hammonds v. Jackson, No. 13-CV-711-MHS, 2015 WL
12866453, at *6 n.2 (N.D.Ga. May 18, 2015); see also
Masimo Corp. v. Philips Elec. N.A. Corp., 62
F.Supp.3d 368, 376 (D. Del. 2014) (holding that underlying
briefs may not be incorporated by reference when filing
objections to a report and recommendation); Morrison v.
Parker,90 F.Supp.2d 876, 878 (W.D. Mich. 2000)
(citations omitted) ("Plaintiffs' general,