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United States v. Amos

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

May 1, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Plaintiff,
v.
DAVONTE T. AMOS Defendant.

          DECISION AND ORDER

          LYNN ADELMAN, District Judge

         The government charged defendant Davonte Amos with three armed bank robberies, 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) & (d), and three corresponding violations of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). Defendant moved to suppress evidence seized from his girlfriend's residence pursuant to a search warrant, arguing that the warrant application failed to establish probable cause that evidence of the robberies would be found there. The magistrate judge handling pre-trial proceedings in this case agreed that defendant had raised a legitimate concern about the validity of the warrant but nevertheless recommended that the motion to suppress be denied under the good faith doctrine.

         Defendant objects. My review is de novo. Fed. R. Crim. P. 59(b).

         I.

         On June 6, 2017, the government obtained a criminal complaint alleging that defendant robbed the Wells Fargo Bank in West Allis, WI on May 9, 2017, and the PyraMax Bank in West Allis, WI on May 31, 2017. (R. 1; R. 37-1 ¶¶ 5, 15, 30.) The court issued an arrest warrant that day, but defendant was not immediately apprehended. (R. 37-1 ¶ 5.) On July 26, 2017, the Oostburg State Bank in Oostburg, WI, was robbed by two men, believed to be defendant and Travis Oakley. (R. 37-1 ¶¶ 31, 45-46.)

         On August 1, 2017, FBI special agent Benjamin Hruz applied for a warrant for a residence on West Lisbon Avenue in Milwaukee, seeking permission to search for and seize defendant and any evidence of the robberies on the premises. (R. 37-1 ¶ 1.) Hruz averred that there was probable cause to believe that defendant was then residing at the Lisbon residence. (Id. ¶ 5.)

         In support of the request, Hruz detailed the evidence linking defendant to the robberies. First, he averred that on May 9, 2017, an unmasked subject brandishing a black semiautomatic handgun robbed a Wells Fargo branch in West Allis. (Id. ¶ 7.) A bank employee, who was not working at the time of the robbery, subsequently viewed a photograph of the robbery suspect and immediately identified him as defendant. (Id. ¶ 10.) Hruz also matched a booking photo of defendant to a photo of the suspect (id. ¶ 12) and confirmed, through cell site records obtained pursuant to a court order, that defendant's phone was in close proximity to the bank around the time of the robbery (id. ¶ 15).

         Second, Hruz averred that on May 31, 2017, two subjects robbed a PyraMax Bank branch in West Allis. (Id. ¶ 19.) Law enforcement was able to identify a female who entered the bank, acting suspiciously, just before the robbery, as Lonese Riley. Riley subsequently admitted that defendant instructed her to enter the bank to see how many people were there, before he and the other man entered to commit the robbery. (Id. ¶ 24.) A cooperating defendant also supplied information regarding defendant's acquisition of a gun and a wig for use in the robbery and the identity of the second suspect. (Id. ¶ 25, 28.) This cooperator also recognized defendant as the Wells Fargo robber based on footage shown on television. (Id. ¶ 29.)

         Third, Hruz averred that on July 26, 2017, two men robbed the Oostburg State Bank in Oostburg, WI. (Id. ¶ 31, 33.) Law enforcement located the vehicle used by the robbers (id. ¶ 36), then obtained a search warrant for a residence in Sheboygan, WI associated with the person who rented that car, locating a notebook which appeared to contain the same type of paper as the Oostburg robbery demand note, as well as packaging for a pair of Nike flip flops like those worn by one of the robbers (id. ¶ 39). The person who rented the car stated that it had been taken by Oakley and a man she identified as “KD.” (Id. ¶ 41.) She further indicated that she had heard about the robbery and was concerned that Oakley and KD had committed the crime using her rental car. (Id. ¶ 41.) Another occupant of the Sheboygan residence indicated that KD had been staying there, that he talked about robbing a bank, and that he carried a black semiautomatic handgun. (Id. ¶ 42.) Based on the residents' descriptions and a photo, officers believed KD was defendant. (Id. ¶ 43-44.) Officers arrested Oakley on July 28, 2017, and he admitted that he went into the bank with KD and identified KD as defendant from a photo. (Id. ¶¶ 45-46.)

         Finally, regarding the Lisbon residence, Hruz averred:

49. On the evening of July 28, 2017, law enforcement surveilled Amos leave the residence located at 9xxx W. Lisbon Avenue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and enter a 2015 Chrysler 200, gray in color, license plate 597YTK, operated by an unidentified female driver. The car is registered to [M.H.]
50. Then, on July 31, 2017, around 11:30 a.m., Amos was observed leaving the house and entering the passenger door of the same Chrysler 200. Then, at 2:30 p.m. on July 31, 2017, he was observed exiting the passenger seat of the Chrysler and entering the front door of 9xxxx W. Lisbon Avenue in Milwaukee. The Chrysler then departed the area.
51. According to Oakley, Amos' girlfriend resides at the aforementioned residence ...

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