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United States v. Bradley

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Central Division

April 20, 2015



STEPHEN R. BOUGH, District Judge.

Before the Court is Magistrate Judge Matt J. Whitworth's Report and Recommendation finding Defendant's Motion to Suppress the Evidence (Doc. #23). Defendant filed an objection to the Report and Recommendation (Doc. #37). After an independent review of the record, the applicable law, and the parties' arguments, the Court adopts Judge Whitworth's findings of fact and conclusions of law. Accordingly, it is hereby

ORDERED Judge Whitworth's Report and Recommendation (Doc. #32) shall be attached to and made part of this Order, and Defendant's Motion to Suppress the Evidence (Doc. #23) is Denied.



On November 13, 2014, defendant Billy Ray Bradley filed a motion to suppress evidence.[1] (Doc. 23). Defendant's motion seeks the Court to order the suppression of all evidence seized from his truck and person. The Government has filed suggestions in opposition. A hearing was held on the motion on January 12, 2015.


On August 26, 2014, at approximately 9:13 p.m., Benton County Sherriff's Deputy, Andrew Ehlers, was advised by dispatch that a maroon Ford truck was reported driving in a careless and imprudent manner on Missouri Highway 7 near the "mile long bridge." According to the complaint, the truck was driving all over the roadway. Deputy Ehlers, a canine (K-9) handler who had his dog in his patrol vehicle, was already in the area, and got behind the Red Ford F-150 that he believed fit the description of the complaint. Deputy Ehlers observed the truck cross the center line twice and cross the fog line once. Deputy Ehlers conducted a traffic stop of the truck at the intersection of Missouri Highway 7 and Walking Horse Street in Warsaw, Benton County, Missouri.

Deputy Ehlers made contact with the driver, Billy Ray Bradley (the Defendant). Nicole Plott was seated in the passenger side of the truck, and two infant children were seated in the back. Deputy Ehlers advised the Defendant of the reason for the stop. In response Defendant stated that he and Plott were tending to their toddlers in the back seat while driving down the roadway. Deputy Ehlers requested the Defendant's drivers' license and proof of insurance and requested identification from Plott. According to Deputy Ehlers, the Defendant appeared nervous and fidgety, and provided a driver's license and a health insurance card, and Plott provided her driver's license. Deputy Ehlers advised the Defendant he would only be giving him a warning for the lane violations and then walked back to his patrol vehicle in order to check Defendant and Pratt's information with the police dispatch.

Upon his return to his patrol car, Deputy Ehlers contacted Central Dispatch between approximately 9:20 and 9:23 p.m. and requested a check on the Defendant and Plott. Central Dispatch advised that both subjects were valid, but that the Defendant was on probation for possession of a controlled substance. Officer Ehlers also filled out the required racial profiling form while in his patrol vehicle. Deputy Ehlers returned to Defendant's vehicle, told Defendant he was not in any trouble, and then asked the defendant if he would step to the rear of his truck. The Defendant agreed and accompanied Deputy Ehlers to the rear of the truck.

Once at the rear of Defendant's truck, Deputy Ehlers again advised Defendant that he was only receiving a verbal warning on the traffic violations and returned to Defendant his driver's license. Deputy Ehlers then asked Defendant if he had anything illegal on his person or in his truck. The Defendant answered no. Deputy Ehlers' asked Defendant if he could search his person and Defendant agreed. Nothing illegal was found on Defendant's person. Deputy Ehlers then asked Defendant again if there was anything illegal in his truck. Deputy Ehlers reported that at this point Defendant's nervous behavior began to escalate and Defendant began looking nervously back at his truck. Deputy Ehlers noted that Defendant was trembling, fidgeting, and moving around a lot. Deputy Ehlers informed the Defendant that if he had marijuana or drug paraphernalia in his truck and it was just a misdemeanor, then Defendant would be issued a citation and released. Deputy Ehlers then asked the Defendant whether his probation conditions contained a provision that he consent to a search of his truck and the Defendant indicated he did not know. Deputy Ehlers advised Defendant that he was going to walk his drug canine around Defendant's vehicle. The Defendant stated that he had a "key box" in the door of his truck that he would go and retrieve. Deputy Ehlers asked the Defendant to wait and asked him what was in the key box. The defendant responded it contained a small amount of methamphetamine. Deputy Ehlers advised Defendant he would retrieve the key box. As Deputy Ehlers walked toward the Defendant's truck, Defendant stated that Plott did not know that illegal narcotics were present in the truck and that they belonged to him. Deputy Ehlers then requested that Deputy Shawn Plain, who had just recently arrived on the scene, place the Defendant into wrist restraints, and advised the Defendant he was under arrest. The arrest occurred at approximately 9:33 p.m. Deputy Ehlers then requested consent to search the truck. The Defendant consented and during the search Deputy Ehlers recovered a glass pipe which contained white crystal substance and burn marks from the console of the truck. Deputy Ehlers also recovered a black glove that contained four stacks of one-hundred dollar bills totaling $4, 000. Deputy Ehlers asked the defendant if the money belonged to him, to which, Defendant responded by stuttering and eventually responding yes.

Deputy Ehlers returned to the truck and continued the search. He observed a knife between the driver's seat and the center console and while removing the knife observed a pink infant top. Upon removing the infant top, Deputy Ehlers felt something "crunchy" inside it. He unfolded the tank top and observed a sandwich baggy that contained a while crystal substance later determined to be methamphetamine. Deputy Ehlers instructed Deputy Plain to place the Defendant in his patrol car.

Deputy Ehlers approached the Defendant to advise what had been recovered. Before Deputy Ehlers could speak, the Defendant stated that everything in the truck belonged to him. Deputy Ehlers advised the defendant he would be further questioned at the Sherriff's Department. Deputy Ehlers testified that at the Sheriff's Department Defendant was given his ...

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