United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
COGBURN JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER is before the Court on Defendant's pro se
“Motion to Quash Arrest Warrants, ” (Doc. No.
42), “Motion to Amend Motion to Quash, ” (Doc.
No. 44), and Motion for Franks Hearing, (Doc. No. 46).
about April 10, 2017, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department
(“CMPD”) officers, acting pursuant to probable
cause, stopped and arrested Defendant. Defendant's arrest
was in relation to a Hobbs Act Robbery that occurred earlier
that same day. A grand jury initially indicted Defendant on
December 13, 2017. Defendant's current charges are based
on a second superseding indictment filed on August 18, 2018.
Defendant has filed a motion to quash the arrest warrant
issued by the State of North Carolina and has requested a
Franks hearing pursuant to Franks v. Delaware, 438
U.S. 154, 155-56 (2009).
Court first addresses Defendant's motion to quash.
Defendant argues that defects and misrepresentations in an
arrest warrant issued by the state of North Carolina render
the warrant invalid. Defendant further contends that the
appropriate remedy would be to quash the arrest warrant and
“dismiss all charges against him.” In response,
the Government argues that police officers lawfully stopped
and arrested Defendant on April 10, 2017. The Government
further argues that, even if Defendant's arrest was
unlawful, dismissal of his charges is not an appropriate
remedy. The Court agrees.
Supreme Court has held that “[a]n illegal arrest,
without more, has never been viewed as a bar to subsequent
prosecution, nor as a defense to a valid conviction.”
United States v. Crews, 445 U.S. 463, 474 (1980).
While the exclusionary rule may limit evidence that the
Government can present at trial, the defendant “is not
himself a suppressible fruit.” Id.
Defendant's most recent indictment is based on a totality
of circumstances that includes DNA evidence, ballistic
evidence, eyewitness statements, and testimony of a
co-conspirator. Defendant has not articulated how any of this
evidence would be appropriately excluded based on an issue
with the arrest warrant issued by the State of North
Carolina. In sum, Defendant's Motion to Quash is denied.
The Court will also deny Plaintiff's Motion to Amend his
Motion to Quash because the motion to amend seeks only a
minor alteration in the language in his prior motion and does
not affect Defendant's substantive argument on the motion
Court next addresses Defendant's motion for a Franks
hearing. Defendant contends that “Detective J.C. Smith
(002003) of the C.M.P.D., in his [arrest warrant] affidavit,
knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless disregard for
the truth, included false statements to the magistrate
judge[.]” Specifically, Defendant contends that Officer
Smith omitted, in his warrant affidavit, that a witness
viewing a line-up was able to identify Defendant with only a
“75% certainty.” Based on these allegations,
Defendant requests a Franks hearing.
obtain a Franks hearing, the defendant must make a
substantial preliminary showing that (1) material facts were
omitted in the warrant affidavit; (2) the warrant affiant
omitted the material facts intentionally or with reckless
disregard for the truth; and (3) the omitted facts were
necessary to support a finding of probable cause. See
Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154, 155-56 (2009).
“[M]erely showing an intentional omission of a fact
from a warrant affidavit does not fulfill Franks'
requirements.” United States v. Tate, 524 F.3d
449, 455 (4th Cir. 2008). “The defendant must show that
facts were omitted with the intent to make, or in reckless
disregard of whether they hereby made the affidavit
misleading. Stated otherwise, the omission must be designed
to mislead or must be made in reckless disregard of whether
it would mislead.” Id. (citations omitted).
Government asserts that Defendant robbed the Skills Biz
Sweepstakes Center on or about April 10, 2017. The lead
detective in the matter, J.C. Smith, responded to the scene,
spoke with witnesses, and spoke with law enforcement officers
participating in the investigation. During his investigation,
Detective Smith was able to identify a license plate No.
associated with a suspect vehicle. Detective Smith also
discovered that the suspect vehicle was registered to
Defendant. Based on this information, Detective Smith created
a photo-lineup that included Defendant. The witness viewed
the line-up and was able to identify Defendant with 75%
certainty. Detective Smith sought an arrest warrant for the
defendant shortly thereafter. In the arrest warrant
affidavit, Detective Smith sets forth several key factors to
support probable cause. (Doc. No. 50-2, Gov't Ex. 2). In
the affidavit, Detective Smith explained that investigators
were able to identify a license plate No. for the suspect
vehicle, that the suspect vehicle is registered to Defendant,
and that a witness was able to positively identify Defendant
as the robbery suspect. (Id.). Based on the facts
listed in the affidavit, the judicial officer issued an
arrest warrant. (Doc. No. 50-1, Gov't Ex. 1).
motion is denied. As the Government notes, the “75%
language” is not a material omission, and there is no
evidence that the omission was designed to mislead the
judicial officer who issued the arrest warrant. In any event,
the witness's positive identification of Defendant as the
robbery suspect, along with the other facts listed in the
arrest affidavit, was enough to support the probable cause
finding. Defendant have not presented a legitimate argument
that Detective Smith omitted the “with 75%
certainty” language to intentionally or recklessly
mislead the judicial officer. “One way of establishing
reckless disregard is by proffering evidence that a police
officer failed to inform the judicial officer of facts he
knew would negate probable cause.” United States v.
Lull, 824 F.3d 109, 116 (4th Cir. 2016) (citations
omitted). The record simply contains nothing to indicate that
Detective Smith omitted the 75% language due to concerns
about the judicial officer finding probable cause. Franks
does not require that a law enforcement officer list every
single fact in the arrest warrant affidavit. Moreover, as to
Defendant's vague and general allegations that Detective
Smith engaged in “misconduct” and made
“false statements” in the arrest warrant
affidavit, Defendant's allegations are merely vague and
conclusory, and he points to nothing specific that points to
any misconduct by Officer Smith.
as the Government has noted, Defendant has not sought the
suppression of any evidence-only a dismissal of charges. As
defects with an arrest does not necessarily bar subsequent
prosecution, even if a Franks hearing were required, and it
was determined that the arrest warrant was not properly
issued, Defendant would still have to address significant
evidence of guilt that would not be excluded even if it were
determined that the arrest was invalid.
for the reasons stated herein, Defendant's Motion to
Quash Arrest Warrants, Motion to Amend Motion to Quash, and