United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
ORDER ADOPTING THE RECOMMENDATION (DKT. NO. 57);
DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS (DKT. NO. 41); AND
SETTING STATUS CONFERENCE
PAMELA PEPPER United States District Judge
November 15, 2016, Antoinette Crudup filed a motion to
suppress evidence on the ground that the search warrant
executed at her residence lacked probable cause. Dkt. No. 41.
Magistrate Judge Nancy Joseph issued a report and
recommendation on the motion, dkt. no. 57, agreeing that the
search warrant lacked probable cause but recommending that
the motion be denied under the good faith exception pursuant
to United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897 (1984). The
defendant filed an objection to the recommendation, dkt. no.
61, and the government has filed its response, dkt. no. 63.
The court will overrule the objection and deny the motion.
59(b) governs dispositive motion practice initiated before
magistrate judges. Parties have fourteen days to file
“specific written objections” to a magistrate
judge's report and recommendation on such a motion. Fed.
R. Crim. P. 59(b)(2). When reviewing a magistrate's
recommendation, the district judge must review de
novo the recommendations of the magistrate judge to
which a party timely objects. 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1); Fed.
R. Crim. P. 59(b)(2), (3). The Court can “accept,
reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations made by the magistrate.” Id.
County Detective Eugene Nagler prepared the affidavit in
support of the search warrant. Dkt. No. 41-4. According to
Nagler, his nineteen years of experience as a law enforcement
officer and his training in the investigation of drug
trafficking taught him that parcels sent from California to
Milwaukee - using fictitious addresses - “commonly
contain narcotics.” Id. at 4. Nagler described
the steps taken by traffickers to track the packages and have
them delivered to a “drop house” to conceal the
identity of the dealer. Id. at 4-5.
postal inspector noticed a “number of suspicious
parcels coming from Oakland, CA being sent to 936 W. Meinecke
& 2942 N. 2nd St Milwaukee, WI.”
Id. at 6, ¶10. At least eleven of these parcels
were addressed to Tiawan Gilchrist at 936 Meinecke St.
Id. Additionally, three parcels were sent from
Tiawan Gilchrist, 936 Meiecke, Apt. 3, to Lorenzo Page, 2700
79th St., Oakland, CA. Id. at ¶12. A
drug detection K-9 alerted to a parcel addressed to Page from
Gilchrest, and the execution of search warrant revealed that
the parcel contained $9, 000. Id. at ¶13. The
affidavit documented additional ties between Page and
Gilchrist, id. at pp. 7-8, and asserted that a
fellow officer had information that Gilchrest was selling
drugs (cocaine, heroin, and marijuana) from 936 W. Meinecke,
id. at p. 6, ¶25.
same affidavit identified a suspicious parcel delivered to
Antoinette Crudup at 2942 N. 2nd St., Apt. 206, in
Milwaukee. Id. at p. 5, ¶18. An “open
source check of the internet” revealed that Crudup
refers to Gilchrest as her “Bae” and
“Lover.” Id. at p. 7, ¶19. Nagler
confirmed that records indicated that Crudup lives at 2942 N.
2nd St. Milwaukee, WI. Id. at
¶¶ 22, 23. No other paragraphs in the affidavit
refer to Crudup.
objection, Crudup argues that Nagler's affidavit failed
to show probable cause because it contained “vague
allusions to ‘suspicious parcels' being sent from
Oakland to Crudup, without any description or explanation of
why they were considered suspicious” or who sent the
parcels to Crudup. Dkt. No. 61 at 2. Magistrate Judge Joseph
agreed with Crudup that the affidavit failed to demonstrate
probable cause. Dkt. No. 57 at 4. According to Judge Joseph,
officers attempted to “back door” probable cause
to the residence through Crudup's romantic relationship
with Gilchrist and because Gilchrist received suspicious
packages similar to those sent between Gilchrist and another
co-defendant. Id. at 5.
cause exists when, based on the totality of the
circumstances, the affidavit sets forth sufficient evidence
to induce a reasonably prudent person to believe that a
search will uncover evidence of a crime. See Illinois v.
Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 238 (1983); United States v.
Jones, 208 F.3d 603, 608 (7th Cir. 2000). Here, the
supporting affidavit established probable cause as to
Gilchrist and Page, but not as to Crudup. Nagler focused on
the packages sent between Gilchrist and Page in Oakland,
California. The detection dog alerted to the package sent
between Gilchrist and Page, and there was evidence that
Gilchrist was selling drugs. The dog did not, however, alert
to any package sent to Crudup, and nothing linked Crudup to
Gilchrist and Page. The affidavit is limited to allegations
that the suspicious packages to Crudup were similar in size
and weight to those delivered to Gilchrist and that an
internet search revealed that Crudup references Gilchrest as
her “Bae” and “Lover.” Those
allegations, without more, are insufficient to establish
probable cause as to Crudup.
the fact that the affidavit did not show probable cause as to
the defendant, however, Judge Joseph concluded that the good
faith exception articulated in United States v.
Leon, 468 U.S. 897 (1984), applied. In Leon,
the Supreme Court ruled that evidence seized pursuant to a
deficient warrant should not be suppressed if the officers
involved were relying in good faith on the decision of the
issuer of the warrant. Id. at 924. The decision to
obtain a warrant is deemed to be prima facie
evidence that an officer was acting in good faith. United
States v. Otero, 495 F.3d 393, 398 (7th Cir.2007). To
rebut this prima facie evidence that the officer was
acting in good faith, the defendant must show one of three
things: 1) the issuing judge abandoned his or her detached
and neutral role; 2) the law enforcement officers were
dishonest or reckless when preparing the affidavit; or 3) the
warrant was so lacking in probable cause that the
officer's belief in the existence of probable cause was
entirely unreasonable. United States v. Garcia, 528
F.3d 481, 487 (7th Cir. 2008). None of these circumstances
are present are present here. It was not unreasonable for the
officers to believe that they had established probable cause
in the forty-six-paragraph affidavit, based on Nagler's
experience with drug trafficking and the suspicious activity
uncovered by the postal inspector and surveillance. The court
agrees with Magistrate Judge Joseph's conclusion.
court ADOPTS the recommendation of the magistrate judge
regarding Antoinette Crudup's motion to suppress. Dkt.
No. 57. The court DENIES the motion to suppress. Dkt. No. 41.
The court ORDERS that the parties shall appear for a status
conference on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 2:15 p.m. by
telephone. Parties wishing to appear by telephone may do ...