Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Obie

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

December 17, 2019

United States of America,
v.
Zaccheus Obie (1), Defendant.

          OPINION & ORDER

          Michael L. Brown United States District Judge.

         Defendant Zaccheus Obie moved to suppress the search and seizure of information from his cellular telephone (Dkts. 94; 103), to dismiss the indictment (Dkt. 98), and for a bill of particulars (Dkt. 99). Magistrate Judge Larkins denied the motion for bill of particulars and recommended denial of the motions to suppress and dismiss indictment. (Dkt. 111.) Defendant Obie objected to the recommendation to deny his motions to suppress and dismiss indictment. (Dkt. 113.) The Court accepts the Magistrate Judge's recommendations and affirms the denial of these motions.

         I. Background

         On May 31, 2017, a young woman (identified as A.P.) told law enforcement officers that a man known to her as Swayzi (later identified as Quintavious Obie) had forced her into prostitution. (Dkt. 107 at 11.) She explained Swayzi had just sold her to another man she knew as Z. (Id.) She showed officers texts she had received from Z that day (including while she was with police). (Id. at 12.) The texts corroborated her claim that Z was overseeing her prostitution - that is, acting as her pimp. (Id.) In one, Z asked A.P. where she was and said “you shouldn't play with my pimping.” (Id.) From discussions with A.P., texts she provided, emails and social media posts on her phone, and hotel records, law enforcement identified Z as Defendant Zaccheus Obie. (Id. at 13.) Law enforcement ran a background check and learned Defendant Obie was a registered sex offender on parole in Georgia for pimping a minor. (Id.) With A.P.'s help they also determined Defendant Obie used an Instagram account with the name “pzkinte” and a phone with the number 404-539-6256. (Id. at 13-14.)

         On July 29, 2017, a different girl's mother called police to report that her daughter (a juvenile) had run away and might be with a man she knew as PD who used the Instagram account “pzkinte.” (Id. at 13.) The mother gave police a license plate of the vehicle in which she thought her daughter (identified as G.W.) might be riding. (Id.) That vehicle was registered to N.M. (Id.)

         A couple of days later, police went to N.M.'s residence. (Id.) They saw Defendant Obie sitting in a car in the driveway as a woman got out of the car and went into the house. (Id.) As they approached Defendant Obie, officers found the missing young girl (G.W.) hiding under a blanket in the back seat of the car. (Id. at 13-14.) Police arrested Defendant Obie for a parole violation (contact with a minor) and seized his phone, which had the number 404-539-6256. (Id. at 14.) In a later interview, Defendant Obie said he did not know G.W. and did not realize she was in the car as he sat in the front seat. (Id.)

         G.W. admitted to police that she had been prostituting herself, finding customers through a website known to be used by prostitutes to advertise for sex and by human traffickers to recruit women into prostitution. (Id.) She refused to implicate Defendant Obie. (Id.) Police obtained a state search warrant for her phone because they feared she was the victim of a sex-trafficking scheme. (Id.) On it, they found a contact for PD with the number 404-539-6256, the phone found on Plaintiff and previously identified by A.P. (Id.) Police also found text messages between G.W. and PD discussing whether the girl would get to keep money she earned from “plays” (a term referring to commercial sex customers) when she turned 18. (Id. at 14-15.)

         Based on this (and other) information, Special Agent Stuart Reagan obtained a search warrant for the cellular telephone taken from Defendant Obie at the time of his arrest. The United States later charged him with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1594(c), and two substantive counts of sex trafficking of a minor, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a)(1). (Dkt. 56.)

         The Magistrate Judge recommended denial of Defendant Obie's motion to suppress the search of his phone for two reasons. First, he concluded the issuing magistrate judge had a substantial basis for finding probable cause existed to believe evidence of a crime (specifically a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1591) would be found on Defendant Obie's cell phone. (Dkt. 111 at 12.) Second, he concluded the warrant adequately described the place (or item) to be searched and the things to be seized and that, even if it did not, the government is entitled to the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule under United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897, 925 (1984). (Dkt. 111 at 18-21.) The Magistrate Judge recommended denial of his motion to dismiss because (1) the superseding indictment properly tracked the statutory language (including alleging Defendant Obie's conduct affected interstate commerce), (2) Defendant Obie's void-for-vagueness argument was premature and must be asserted at trial, and (3) the Eleventh Circuit has already upheld the provision of the criminal statute allowing the United States to prove a defendant's mens rea requirement about the victim's age by showing the defendant had a “reasonable opportunity” to observe the victim. (Id. at 25, 29, 30.) He also denied Defendant Obie's motion for a bill of particulars, finding the United States had presented the required information and more. (Id. at 35.)

         As explained above, Defendant Obie objected to the Magistrate Judge's recommendation to deny his motions to suppress and dismiss, but not the motion for a bill of particulars. (Dkt. 113.)

         II. Legal Standard

         After conducting a careful and complete review of the findings and recommendations, a district judge may accept, reject, or modify a magistrate judge's report and recommendation. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed. R. Crim. P. 59; Williams v. Wainwright, 681 F.2d 732, 732 (11th Cir. 1982) (per curiam). A district judge “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). The district judge should “give fresh consideration to those issues to which specific objection has been made by a party.” Jeffrey S. v. State Bd. of Educ. of Ga., 896 F.2d 507, 512 (11th Cir. 1990) (citation omitted). For those findings and recommendations to which a party has not asserted objections, the court must conduct a plain error review of the record. United States v. Slay, 714 F.2d 1093, 1095 (11th Cir. 1983).

         Parties objecting to a magistrate's report and recommendation must specifically identify those findings to which they object. Marsden v. Moore, 847 F.2d 1536, 1548 (11th Cir. 1988). “Frivolous, conclusive, or general objections need not be considered by the district court.” Id. The Court has conducted a de novo review of Defendant Obie's motion to suppress and motion to dismiss and a plain error review of his other motion.[1]

         A. Sufficiency of the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.