United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
T. MAUGHMER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before the Court is the Motion to Suppress Evidence and
Statement (Doc. #13) filed on May 24, 2017 by defendant
William H. Butler (“Butler”). On August 24, 2017,
the undersigned held an evidentiary hearing on Butler's
motion. Butler was present and represented by his counsel,
Assistant Federal Public Defender Ronna Holloman-Hughes. The
government was represented by Assistant United States
Attorney Justin Davids. At the evidentiary hearing, testimony
was given by two witnesses: Sergeant Kirk Beeman and
Detective Josko Wrabec both with the Sugar Creek, Missouri
Police Department. Additionally, the following exhibits were
admitted into evidence:
Gov't. Ex. 1
Sugar Creek Mo. PD Permission-to-Search form
Gov't. Ex. 2
Wrabec report - July 21, 2013 (19:01 hours)
Gov't. Ex. 3
Wrabec report - July 21, 2013 (19:34 hours)
basis of all the evidence adduced at the evidentiary hearing,
the undersigned submits the following:
FINDINGS OF FACT
July 21, 2013, Kirk Beeman was a sergeant with the Sugar
Creek Missouri Police Department and Josko Wrabec was a
patrol officer with the Sugar Creek, Missouri Police
Department. Tr. at 3-4, 42.
that date, Sergeant Beeman had been contacted by his chief
(Herb Soule) and was told that a complaint had been
registered about suspected drug activity at a Sugar Creek
apartment complex located at 411 North Sterling. Tr. at 4-5,
30, 32, 43.
After receiving the information, Sergeant Beeman and Officer
Wrabec - in separate marked police vehicles - conducted some
surveillance of the apartment complex beginning at
approximately 4:00 p.m. Tr. at 4-7, 30.
While conducting the surveillance, Sergeant Beeman observed a
car with several occupants pull up to the complex and park in
the back alley. Tr. at 8.
car's driver entered the complex and then left in his car
after being in the apartment complex for less than a minute.
Tr. at 8, 31.
Sergeant Beeman radioed Officer Wrabec and requested that he
conduct a stop of the vehicle. Tr. at 8, 31, 56.
During the ensuing traffic stop, one of the car's
occupants told officers that they had gone to the apartment
complex and purchased a small amount of marijuana. Tr. at 9.
occupant described the location of the apartment and said he
bought the marijuana from a black male named
“Will.” Tr. at 10, 44-45.
Based on the information, Sergeant Beeman and Officer Wrabec
decided to conduct a “knock and talk” at the
described apartment. Tr. at 10, 45.
approximately 7:34 p.m., Sergeant Beeman and Officer Wrabec
(both in uniform) knocked on the door of Apartment 3 (the
location described by the witness) of the apartment complex
at 411 North Sterling. Tr. at 11-13, 36, 45-46.
door was answered by Butler. Tr. at 11-12, 32, 46.
Butler stepped outside the apartment into the hallway and
shut the door behind. Tr. at 11, 13, 62.
Sergeant Beeman explained to Butler that there were some
indications that illegal drugs were being sold out of his
apartment. Tr. at 12, 32, 46-47, 64.
Butler responded: “Man, all I have is a little bit in
my pipe, and it's just for personal use.” Tr. at
14, 32, 46, 64.
Butler confirmed that he lived in the apartment with his
girlfriend and that both of them were on the lease. Tr. at
Sergeant Beeman showed Butler a consent-to-search form and
requested Butler to consent to a search of the apartment. Tr.
at 12, 14-15, 47; Gov't Ex. 1.
Sergeant Beeman read the consent-to-search form out loud and
asked Butler to sign. Tr. at 16-17, 35, 48.
part, the form specifically provides that Butler was
acknowledging that he had been informed of his
“constitutional right not to have a search made of the
premises and property.” Tr. at 17; Gov't Ex. 1.
Butler initially responded to Sergeant Beeman by stating that
he would go inside and retrieve the marijuana that he had and
if the officers would return in 10 minutes “it will be
gone.” Tr. at 18, 49-50.
Butler then reached for the doorknob to go inside. Tr. at 19,
Sergeant Beeman then reached and stopped Butler from going
back into the apartment. Tr. at 19, 33, 50.
Sergeant Beeman asked Butler if there were weapons or other
individuals in the apartment. Tr. at 19, 63.
Butler said that he was home alone and had some swords
hanging inside the doorway and “maybe a BB gun.”
Tr. at 20.
Sergeant Beeman then told Butler that he could not go back
into the apartment until he consented to a search or refused
to consent to a search. Tr. at 20, 33, 51, 62.
Butler responded: “”If I don't sign that
form, you will just come back with a search warrant, and then
[I will be] ...