United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
DECISION AND ORDER
Adelman, District Judge.
Ron Jones filed a motion to suppress physical evidence seized
by law enforcement pursuant to search warrants, along with a
request for a Franks hearing. See Franks v.
Delaware, 438 U.S. 154 (1978) (permitting a defendant to
challenge the veracity of a warrant affidavit). The
magistrate judge handling pre-trial proceedings in this case
denied a hearing and recommended that the motion to suppress
be denied. Defendant objects. I review the denial of a
Franks hearing for clear error and the recommended
denial of the motion to suppress de novo. See United
States v. Lewis, 386 F.Supp.3d 963, 979 (E.D. Wis.
2019); Fed. R. Crim. P. 59(a), (b).
full factual background is set forth in the magistrate
judge's decision. (R. 56 at 1-6.) Neither side has
objected to that recitation, which I adopt. I present an
abbreviated version of events herein.
February 13, 2018, a Chicago police commander was shot and
killed with a Glock handgun. The ATF traced the Glock to a
Wisconsin man, Thomas Caldwell, who was already under
investigation for unlicensed firearms dealing. On February 14,
2018, agents interviewed Caldwell, and he indicated that he
“probably” sold the Glock to defendant. Caldwell
further indicated that he sold at least 15 firearms to
defendant over the past five years.
called defendant at the number Caldwell provided, and
defendant agreed to speak with them the following day. On
February 15, during a meeting at a local police station,
defendant admitted acquiring guns from Caldwell, including at
least one Glock, but he could not recall the model or
caliber. He further indicated that he likely sold the Glock
February 16, 2018, law enforcement executed a search warrant
at defendant's residence, seizing guns, ammunition,
marijuana, and electronic devices. A few days later, officers
obtained and executed a warrant to search the seized
March 2018, law enforcement began working with a confidential
informant (“CI”) who indicated that he previously
engaged in drug and firearm deals with defendant. The CI
subsequently made controlled buys from defendant: of firearms
on April 10 and May 16, 2018, and marijuana on April 20 and
May 30, 2018. On June 5, 2018, law enforcement executed
another warrant at defendant's residence, seizing a
computer, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and cash.
12, 2018, a grand jury in this district returned an
indictment charging defendant with possessing a firearm as an
unlawful drug user, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3), based on a
gun seized during the February 16, 2018 search, and two
counts of marijuana distribution, 21 U.S.C. §§
841(a)(1), (b)(1)(D), based on the April 20 and May 30, 2018,
controlled buys. Defendant filed a motion to compel
discovery, seeking police records related to the Chicago
shooting and Caldwell's mental health records. He argued
that he needed the former in support of a possible vindictive
prosecution claim, as he believed the police targeted him due
to his uncooperativeness in the murder investigation, and the
latter in support of a possible challenge to the search
warrant(s), which were based in part on Caldwell's
information. The magistrate judge denied that motion, and I
upheld his order.
indicated, defendant also filed a motion to suppress the
physical evidence seized pursuant to the search warrants,
arguing that the warrants were facially invalid and failed to
establish probable cause. (R. 29 at 1.) He further requested
a Franks hearing, arguing that the warrant affidavit
omitted critical information. (R. 29 at 2.) The magistrate
judge rejected these arguments.
defendant seeking suppression of evidence obtained pursuant
to a search warrant faces an uphill battle. United States
v. McKinney, 919 F.2d 405, 427 (7th Cir.
1990). The reviewing court gives great deference to the
issuing judge's probable cause determination so long as
the judge had a substantial basis for the finding. United
States v. Adams, 934 F.3d 720, 725 (7th Cir.
2019). Probable cause exists when the circumstances indicate
a reasonable probability that evidence of crime will be found
in a particular location; neither an absolute certainty nor
even a preponderance of the evidence is necessary.
as here, an affidavit is the only evidence presented to the
issuing judge, the validity of the warrant rests solely on
the strength of the affidavit. Id. Where the
affidavit relies on information provided by an informant, the
court considers whether the informant acquired knowledge of
the events through firsthand observation, the detail and
specificity of the information provided by the informant, the
interval between the date of the events described and the
officer's application for the warrant, and the extent to
which law enforcement corroborated the informant's
statements. Id. None of these factors is
determinative, and a ...