United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the Order and Recommendation of
Magistrate Judge David D. Noce addressing Defendant
Szczerba's Motions to Suppress Evidence, [Doc. No.'s
23, 65 and 97], Defendant Szczerba's Motion to Suppress
Physical Evidence obtained during the search of a hotel room,
[Doc. No. 85], Defendant Szczerba's Motion to Suppress
Evidence obtained during the search of a motor vehicle, [Doc.
No. 86], and Judge Noce's Order and Recommendation
addressing Defendant Edwards' Motions to Suppress
Evidence, [Doc. No.'s 24, 69 and 130]. Evidentiary
hearings were held September 7, 2016 and October 7, 2016.
Judge Noce recommends that these motions be denied.
Defendants have filed written objections to these
party objects to the magistrate judge's report and
recommendation, the Court must conduct a de novo
review of the portions of the report, findings, or
recommendations to which the party objected. See United
States v. Lothridge, 324 F.3d 599, 600 (8th Cir.2003)
(citing 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636, the Court will therefore conduct such a de
novo review of those portions of the Memorandum to which
Defendant objects. The Court has reviewed the entire record
for this purpose.
Defendants object to Judge Noce's finding that, although
search of the hotel room and car were not authorized by the
search warrant as written, the search was proper under the
good faith exception to the exclusionary rule articulated in
United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897 (1984).
Noce's Order meticulously details the events surrounding
the searches. After recognizing the defect in the search
warrant, i.e. that it stated that the person of
Defendant Edwards was to be searched, rather than the hotel
room and the car, Judge Noce carefully analyzes whether the
totality of the circumstances give rise to Sgt. Nijkamp's
good faith belief that the police were authorized to search
the hotel room and the car. Based on the facts given to Sgt.
Nijkamp by the alleged victim, Sgt. Nijkamp had probable
cause to believe that a crime had been committed. The
suppression of an invalid warrant is appropriate “only
if the officers were dishonest or reckless in preparing their
affidavit or could not have harbored an objectively
reasonable belief in the existence of probable cause.”
Leon, 468 U.S. at 922.
Edwards objects to Judge Noce's Order because he did not
specifically address her argument to suppress the video
recording of Defendants' hotel room. Defendant argues
that the video should be suppressed because it was not
supported by probable cause and was not authorized by any
warrant. In his Order, Judge Noce found that Sgt. Nijkamp had
two purposes for making the recording. She wanted to
inventory and document the contents of the hotel room to
avoid a later claim that items were later missing, and she
wanted to record the contents and condition of the room for
criminal investigatory purposes.
Nijkamp acted reasonably in securing the apartment while
awaiting a search warrant. Based on the information she
received from the alleged victim, she reasonably suspected
that Defendants were engaged in wrongful activity. Sgt.
Nijkamp secured the apartment to prevent the destruction of
evidence of trafficking for the purpose of sexual
exploitation. The act of securing the apartment while
awaiting a search warrant comports with the Fourth Amendment.
See United States v. Roby, 122 F.3d 1120, 1125 (8th
Cir.1997). Moreover, the affidavit Sgt. Nijkamp filed in
support of the search warrant contains no information
indicating she exploited her presence while securing the
apartment. United States v. Ruiz-Estrada, 312 F.3d
398, 404 (8th Cir. 2002). The Roby Court cited to
Segura v. United States, 468 U.S. 796 (1984). In
Segura, the United States Supreme Court was called
upon to decide “whether, when officers have probable
cause to believe that evidence of criminal activity is on the
premises, ” the Fourth Amendment permits police to
temporarily secure a dwelling in order to “prevent
removal or destruction of evidence.” Id. at
809. Without deciding whether securing a dwelling constituted
a “seizure” under the Fourth Amendment, the Court
noted that “[d]ifferent interests are implicated by a
seizure than by a search. A seizure affects only the
person's possessory interests; a search affects a
person's privacy interests.” Id. at 806.
The Court ultimately concluded that, where officers had
probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime was inside
a dwelling, the Fourth Amendment permits police to secure the
dwelling to prevent destruction or removal of evidence while
a search warrant is being secured. Id. at 810.
Noce's recommendation is based on sound and thorough
legal analysis and attentiveness to the evidence. Nothing
contained in the Recommendation is contrary to the law, nor
does it misstate the facts. Judge Noce reviewed and
considered Defendants' arguments and authority that they
presented. The objections are overruled.
Noce's conclusions are based on sound legal analysis. The
Court agrees with Judge Noce's conclusions in their
entirety. The Recommendations are adopted in toto.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant Szczerba's Motions to
Suppress Evidence, [Doc. No.'s 23, 65 and 97], Defendant
Szczerba's Motion to Suppress Physical Evidence obtained
during the search of a hotel room, [Doc. No. 85], Defendant
Szczerba's Motion to Suppress Evidence obtained during
the search of a motor vehicle, [Doc. No. 86], ...