September 26, 2019
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 1:15-cr-00623-1 -
Matthew F. Kennelly, Judge.
Bauer, Manion, and St. Eve, Circuit Judges.
EVE, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
Haldorson is a self-proclaimed fireworks enthusiast. But he
was also a drug dealer. Haldorson was arrested on his way to
a second controlled buy and, along with drugs, officers found
three pipe bombs in his car. He was charged with several
counts related to drugs, explosives, and a firearm. Before
trial, Haldorson filed several motions to suppress evidence,
challenging his arrest, the admissibility of his post-arrest
statements, and the searches of his car, apartment bedroom,
and rented storage locker. All were denied.
proceeded to trial and a jury convicted him on four counts of
the seven-count indictment: Count One for distribution of
cocaine, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1); Count Two for possession
with intent to distribute cocaine, 21 U.S.C.§ 841(a)(1);
Count Three for possession of MDMA, or ecstasy, and cocaine,
21 U.S.C. § 844(a); and Count Four for possession of an
explosive during the commission of a felony, 21 U.S.C. §
844(h)(2). The jury acquitted him on two additional charges
and the government dismissed another count at trial. The
district court later vacated Count Three because it was a
lesser-included offense of Count Two. The district court
sentenced Haldorson to a term of imprisonment of 192 months.
appeal Haldorson raises three issues. First, Haldorson argues
that the district court erred in denying the motions to
suppress the evidence seized from his car and his apartment
because the officers lacked probable cause to stop and arrest
him and there were no exigent circumstances to justify the
warrantless search of his apartment bedroom. Second, he
asserts that the jury instructions constructively amended
Count Four of the indictment, unlawfully carrying an
explosive, in violation of the Fifth Amendment by permitting
the jury to convict him on a broader basis than the
indictment charged. Third, and finally, Haldorson contends
that he did not receive a fair trial due to a multitude of
alleged mistakes and errors during the investigation and asks
us to vacate his convictions.
conclude that probable cause supported the arrest, exigent
circumstances existed for the search of the bedroom, and
Haldorson had a full and fair opportunity to defend himself
at trial. We, therefore, affirm the district court's
judgment in all respects.
The Arrest and Vehicle Search
begin, naturally, with Haldorson's arrest and the
resulting search of his vehicle.
was arrested on June 23, 2015, but his case starts a few
weeks earlier. Sometime in April or May 2015, Haldorson first
came on the radar of Officer Thomas Insley via a confidential
informant. Officer Insley was, at the time, a patrol officer
with the Village of Rockdale Police Department in Illinois.
He was also assigned to a specialized narcotics unit, the
Will County Cooperative Police Assistance Team (CPAT)-a
collective of officers from local police departments under
the umbrella of the Illinois State Police-as an Inspector.
(For ease we will use the title of "Officer" for
Insley throughout, although he also held the title of
"Inspector" during the relevant time period.) CPAT
inspectors, in general, conduct narcotics investigations,
control informants, and go undercover. Officer Insley was the
primary CPAT investigator for Haldorson's case.
Insley had been working with this particular confidential
informant for a few months-a detail we will return to
later-when the informant told Officer Insley that he could
purchase cocaine from an individual he knew as "Mike
Jones." The informant provided Officer Insley with a
picture of Mike Jones's vehicle, including the license
plate (that read "MKJNZ"), and his telephone
number. Officer Insley ran the license plate
through a law enforcement database and learned that it was
registered to Haldorson. The vehicle information listed on
the registration also matched the photograph of
Haldorson's car-a black Pontiac G8. Officer Insley then
showed the informant a picture of Haldorson, who the
informant identified as Mike Jones. At this point, Officer
Insley asked the informant to set up a deal.
1, 2015, the informant contacted Officer Insley and told him
that he could make a buy from Haldorson. Officer Insley
proceeded to prepare for the controlled purchase by providing
the informant with funds to buy the narcotics, wiring the
informant with an audio transmitter and recorder to monitor
the deal, and setting up a visual surveillance team of other
CPAT officers. Before heading to the controlled buy, Officer
Insley also searched the informant and his vehicle to make
sure that he had no contraband, as is standard in these
Insley followed the confidential informant to a Walmart
parking lot in Joliet, Illinois, where he was going to meet
Haldorson, and parked about an aisle over from the informant.
Haldorson then arrived, parked next to the informant's
car, and the informant got out of his car and into
Haldorson's car. At about that same time a customer
pulled into the lot and parked in between Officer Insley and
Haldorson's car, obstructing Officer Insley's view of
the transaction. Not to worry, though, Officer Insley was
still able to listen to the deal in realtime from the audio
the deal went down, Officer Insley observed a black car
matching the description of Haldorson's car drive away
and relayed to the rest of the surveillance team that the
controlled buy was successful and to follow Haldorson's
car. Meanwhile, Officer Insley followed the informant to a
prearranged location where Officer Insley retrieved the drugs
from the informant, as well as re-searched the informant and
his vehicle. The confidential informant had purchased 1.7
grams of cocaine from Haldorson in the transaction.
surveillance team did not stop Haldorson that evening; the
officers eventually lost him when they got stopped at a red
light. But the plan was never to stop or arrest Haldorson on
June 1st because Officer Insley was just beginning his
investigation into Haldorson. Further, Officer Insley
testified that if the officers arrested Haldorson immediately
after the controlled buy, it would have tipped off Haldorson
that he had been set-up by the confidential informant.
Officer Insley was using the same informant in other ongoing
investigations and did not want to burn the informant's
the record it appears that very little was done to advance
the Haldorson investigation between the June 1st controlled
buy and June 23rd. There were perhaps, though it is somewhat
unclear, attempts by the confidential informant to reach out
to Haldorson to set up another controlled buy on June 2nd and
5th, but those went nowhere.
23, 2015, the day at the center of this case, the
confidential informant told Officer Insley that he could
arrange another drug deal with Haldorson. The plan this time
was for the informant to set it up but for officers to stop
Haldorson on his way to the deal and arrest him. Stopping and
arresting Haldorson before the actual drug deal would, once
again, preserve the confidential informant's anonymity.
Eventually Haldorson and the informant agreed to meet in the
Village of Plainfield, Illinois, specifically at Plainfield
Central High School. Officer Insley then arranged for a
Plainfield police officer in a marked car to pull Haldorson
Friddle of the Plainfield Police Department positioned
himself near the high school and waited for Haldorson to pass
by based on a description of Haldorson's vehicle that
CPAT officers provided: black Pontiac G8 with a White Sox
specialty license plate and red lights in the front grille of
the car (that may or may not be illuminated). According to
Officer Friddle, he soon saw a black car approaching with red
lights in the grille. As it got closer, he could see the White
Sox specialty plates too. Officer Friddle pulled out to
follow Haldorson's car, activated his emergency lights,
and pulled Haldorson over at the entrance of Plainfield
Central High School. The stop was pretextual, and Officer
Friddle made up some excuses to buy time for CPAT officers to
arrive on scene and take over.
Mario Marzetta, a police officer with the Plainfield Police
Department who at the time was also assigned to CPAT, arrived
at the traffic stop shortly thereafter and arrested
Haldorson. Another officer transported Haldorson to the
Plainfield Police Department. Officer Marzetta then also
drove Haldorson's vehicle to the Plainfield Police
Department and parked it in the sally port, or the garage at
the station, where he and another CPAT inspector searched it.
officers found numerous drugs-marijuana, cocaine, crack
cocaine, MDMA or ecstasy, prescription pills, psilocybin
mushrooms-fireworks, and suspected pipe bombs in
Haldorson's car. Upon discovering the pipe bombs, the
officers ceased their search and called in agents from the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and
the Cook County Sheriff's Police Bomb Squad. The ATF
agents and bomb technicians removed the explosives from the
vehicle to a safe area and rendered them safe.
pause the story here to address Haldorson's challenge to
his arrest and the search of his vehicle.
was later indicted on several federal charges. He thereafter
moved to suppress, among other evidence, the explosives and
narcotics discovered during the vehicle search because the
officers lacked probable cause to stop and arrest him. The
district court, after holding a two-day evidentiary hearing,
denied his motions to suppress. In reviewing the district
court's denial of a motion to suppress, we review
questions of law de novo and factual findings for clear
error. United States v. Cherry,920 F.3d 1126, 1132
(7th Cir. 2019). We must defer to credibility ...