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United States v. Beauchamp

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

July 27, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
BRADLEY BEAUCHAMP, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Frank D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court upon Defendant Bradley Beauchamp's Motion to Suppress All Evidence from the Traffic Stop by Florida Highway Patrol on March 12, 2016, Intercepted Oral Communications and from the Search of a Cosmetics Case Found in the Trunk of the Vehicle (Doc. No. 1237), the Magistrate Judge's Memorandum and Recommendation (“M&R”) recommending this Court DENY Defendant's motion to suppress (Doc. No. 1678), and Defendant's objections to the M&R (Doc. No. 1735). After reviewing the relevant memoranda, recommendation, and objections, the Court hereby OVERULES Defendant's objections (Doc. No. 1735), ACCEPTS and ADOPTS the Magistrate Judge's M&R (Doc. No. 1678), and DENIES Defendant's motion to suppress (Doc. No. 1237).

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A district court may refer a motion to suppress to a magistrate judge for a recommendation pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 59(b)(1). If a party timely files "specific written objections" to the proposed recommendations, the "district judge must consider de novo any objection to the magistrate judge's recommendation." Fed. R. Crim. P. 59(b)(2)-(3); see also 28 U.S.C. § 636. The court does not perform a de novo review where a party makes only "general and conclusory objections that do not direct the court to a specific error in the magistrate's proposed findings and recommendations." Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). Absent a specific and timely filed objection, the court reviews only for "clear error," and need not give any explanation for adopting the M&R. Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005); Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 200 (4th Cir. 1983). Upon careful review of the record, "the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C).

         II. BACKGROUND

         The M&R summarizes the factual background and findings based on the evidence presented relevant to the instant motion:

Defendant Beauchamp is charged with one count of participating in a racketeering conspiracy in furtherance of the Nine Trey Gangster “Hood” of the United Blood Nation and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud based upon an alleged scheme to create fraudulent and cloned credit cards and gift cards. During the initial hearing, the Court heard testimony from Florida Highway Patrol Troopers Nathaniel Cabe and Brian Lundy. At the subsequent hearing, the Court heard testimony from Trooper Cabe.
On March 12, 2016, Trooper Cabe parked his marked vehicle in the median of Interstate Highway 10 in Madison County Florida. Trooper Cabe was assigned to the Criminal Interdiction Unit. At approximately 10:38 am, Cabe observed a white Chrysler 200 travelling east on the highway. Cabe ran the tag and it came back to a rental car owned by Enterprise. Based upon his training and experience, Cabe believed that the car's tinted windows were in violation of Florida law. He was also aware that rental cars do not come equipped with tinted windows. He could not see inside the vehicle as it travelled down the interstate which indicated to him that it was in violation of the law.
Cabe initiated a traffic stop based upon the tinted window violation. His audio and video recording equipment was activated when he turned on his lights to execute the traffic stop. He approached the car from the passenger side and directed the occupants to roll down the windows. He immediately detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the car. Defendant was the driver. Co-Defendant Barrington Lattibeaudiere was the front passenger and co-Defendant Rashaad Sattar was in the back seat. Cabe advised the Defendant that the stop was based upon a violation for tinted windows and that he now smelled marijuana. Defendant stated that Lattibeaudiere had been smoking a cigarette. Cabe stated that it was not cigarette smoke that he smelled but raw marijuana.
Trooper Lundy arrived to assist Cabe. Cabe ordered the occupants out of the car one by one. Trooper Lundy patted down Sattar and placed him in the rear of Cabe's vehicle. Cabe patted down Lattibeaudiere, placed him in handcuffs, and seated him on the ground. Lundy patted down the Defendant and located a baggie containing five grams of suspected marijuana in his left jacket pocket. Lundy also located a gift card in Defendant's right jacket pocket. Defendant was placed in the rear of Cabe's vehicle along with Sattar.
Once the occupants were out of the car and secured, Trooper Lundy measured the window tint on the Chrysler using a department issued Laser Labs model 100 tint meter. The windows measured 26 percent light transmittance as opposed to the 28 percent mandated by Florida law.
Cabe and Lundy then proceeded to search the interior of the Chrysler based upon the strong odor of marijuana. Marijuana residue was visible throughout the passenger compartment. Fourteen gift cards and credit cards were concealed inside the car's owner manual located in the glove compartment. This spiked the troopers' interest in possible credit card fraud offenses. They found 124 gifts cards in a Dre Beats bag in the vehicle. Four fraudulent credit cards were found in a wallet inside the vehicle. The troopers also seized a fraudulent Florida driver's license.
The troopers located a black hard case with combination lock in the trunk. The case was locked. The troopers asked the occupants if they knew anything about the case. Defendant told the troopers that the locked case belonged to a female who was travelling ahead of them in another car. Defendant further stated that the case contained that female's make up. Cabe asked Defendant if he would mind calling her to see if she would consent to a search of the case. Cabe handed him his phone and shut the patrol car door to let him make the call. Defendant never made the call.
Trooper Lundy's canine was shown the case and failed to alert. Trooper Cabe then placed a call to Judge Wesley R. Douglas to request a search warrant for the case. Cabe completed two paragraphs of the search warrant stating the facts to support probable cause and related them to Judge Douglas by phone. He also scanned the completed search warrant and emailed it to Judge Douglas. Judge Douglas swore Cabe over the phone, issued the search warrant, and emailed it to the trooper around 1:14 p.m. The troopers ...

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