United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
CRITES-LEONI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter was referred to the undersigned United States
Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). Pending
before the undersigned is Defendant Rasheik Amond Harris'
Motion to Suppress Evidence and Statements (Doc. 25) obtained
after he was approached by an officer for driving without a
license. Harris argues that he was unlawfully arrested after
parking in a driveway. (Doc. 40 at 2-3.) He further argues
that his statements were made under duress. Id. at
3. Specifically, Harris claims that he confessed to
possessing drugs so that his girlfriend would be released
also filed a Motion to Dismiss Indictment (Doc. 57) claiming
that the “Indictment is vague, . . ., and does not
contain a plain, . . .written statement of the essential
facts constituting the alleged offense. . .”
Id. at 1. More particularly, Harris complains that
the evidence presented to the Grand Jury was inadequate, it
was inconsistent with information in police reports, and it
was secured in reliance on hearsay and evidence that should
be suppressed. See generally Doc. 42. The Government
filed pleadings in Opposition. (Docs. 47, 62.)
evidentiary hearing was held (Doc. 30) during which three
Sikeston Department of Public Safety Officers
testified-Captain Andrew Cooper, Officer Benjamin Quick, and
Detective Bobby Penrod. The officers were cross-examined
extensively by defense counsel.
parties filed post-hearing memoranda (Docs. 40, 41, and 47),
after which the matter was taken under submission. Based on
the testimony and evidence adduced and having had the
opportunity to observe the demeanor and evaluate the
credibility of the witnesses, the undersigned recommends that
the following findings of fact and conclusions of law be
adopted, and that the Defendant's Motions be denied.
Background related to Pretrial Motions
earlier scheduling Order (Doc. 63), the undersigned
mistakenly referred to the “Memorandum in Support of
Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence and
Statements” (Doc. 40) as having been filed by the
Defendant, pro se. The Defendant was originally
represented by the Federal Public Defender. Following the
suppression hearing, the Defendant filed pro se
pleadings that resulted in the scheduling of a status hearing
(Doc. 48) to determine whether additional evidence needed to
be submitted to the Court. As a consequence of the hearing,
the undersigned found that there had “been a complete
breakdown in the attorney client relationship” (Doc. 50
at 2), which resulted in the appointment of new counsel to
represent the Defendant. In a separate Order, the undersigned
addressed various correspondence (Doc. 42) the Defendant
filed pro se, including: a Motion to Withdraw
earlier Motion to Suppress, id. at 5-6, a Motion to
Suppress Evidence and Statements and Memorandum in Support,
id. at 7-10, as well as a Memorandum of Points and
Authorities, id. at 11-14. The Court noted that:
the Defendant also filed a pro se Motion to Quash
and Dismiss Grand Jury Indictment (Doc. 35) on August 21,
2017. In regard to the Defendant's filing of pro
se motions, he is reminded that he is represented by
counsel and clearly stated on the record that he does not
want to represent himself. As a threshold matter,
“[t]here is no constitutional right to simultaneously
proceed pro se and with benefit of
counsel.” United States v. Agofsky, 20 F.3d
866, 872 (8th Cir. 1994) (emphasis added). The
Defendant is advised that any future motions or requests must
be filed by his appointed attorney. See Abdullah v.
United States, 240 F.3d 683, 686 (8th Cir.
2001) (“A district court has no obligation to entertain
pro se motions filed by a represented
Defendant's second attorney adopted the Federal Public
Defender's Motion to Suppress (Doc. 25) and Memorandum in
Support (Doc. 40). He also filed a Motion to Dismiss
Indictment (Doc. 51) wherein he incorporated the
Defendant's pro se correspondence (Doc. 42)
related to pretrial motions.
Findings of Fact
is charged with possession of more than fifty grams of
methamphetamine with the intent to distribute and possession
of a firearm by a previously convicted felon. (Doc. 2.)
Harris has four prior felony convictions-two related to
trafficking controlled substances, one for Second Degree
Burglary, and one for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm.
March 9, 2017, Sikeston Department of Public Safety (DPS)
Captain Andrew Cooper was on duty and approaching an
intersection, shortly after two in the afternoon, when he
observed the Defendant drive through the intersection in a
Chevy Tahoe. Captain Cooper had known the Defendant for more
than a decade. He knew the Defendant as “Rocky”
Harris and that the Defendant's first name was Rasheik.
Harris caught Captain Cooper's attention at the
intersection, in part, because Cooper knew Harris had been
arrested for driving while suspended just two months earlier
in the exact same vehicle. Captain Cooper decided to follow
Harris and called Dispatch to verify the status of
Harris' license. If Cooper was able to confirm that
Harris' driving privileges were suspended, he intended to
Cooper followed the Tahoe and watched the vehicle park in a
driveway two blocks away from the intersection where he
initially saw the Tahoe. As the Tahoe stopped on its own,
Captain Cooper simply parked on the street near the driveway,
not blocking the vehicle, and walked up to the Tahoe to speak
with Harris. Cooper asked if Harris had a license and Harris
replied he did not. Harris was in the driver's seat, his
girlfriend was in the front passenger seat, and a second male
was in the backseat.
Mario Whitney arrived to assist Captain Cooper with the
interaction. Within a couple minutes, Dispatch reported that
Harris' license was in fact suspended. Detective Whitney
opened the driver's door and told Harris to step out
because he was under arrest. When the driver's door was
opened, Detective Whitney saw a firearm inside the
driver's door compartment; he instructed Harris to not
reach for the gun. Harris complied and he was handcuffed.
Harris was in possession of approximately $1, 700.
officer, Benjamin Quick, was standing on the passenger side
of the Tahoe. When the gun was found, Harris' girlfriend
told Officer Quick that she did not know there was a gun in
the car. She was the registered owner of the Tahoe. Officer
Quick asked the girlfriend if there was anything else in the
car that was illegal or might be harmful to the officers. The
girlfriend said there wasn't anything else in the
vehicle. As the registered owner of the vehicle, the officers
asked her for consent to search the Tahoe. The girlfriend
consented to a search of her vehicle.
Bobby Penrod searched the Tahoe. A Crown Royal bag was
observed in plain view on the center hump of the floor board
between the driver and passenger. Several bags of suspected
controlled substances were found, some of which were located
in the Crown Royal bag. Detective Penrod believed the
substances were methamphetamine and crack cocaine. Lab tests
later reflected that the substances included methamphetamine,
heroin, and a non-controlled substance.
rear passenger had a warrant out for his arrest and he was
arrested. All the occupants were taken to the police station.
Harris agreed to participate in an interview. The Sikeston
DPS “Miranda” form provided:
1. You have the right to remain silent.
2. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a
court of law.
3. You have the right to talk to a lawyer and have him/her
present with you while you are being questioned.
4. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, one will be
appointed to represent you before any questioning, if you
5. You can decide at any time to exercise these rights and
not answer any questions or make any statements.
(Gov't. Ex. #1.) Harris placed his initials below the
warning acknowledging that he understood the rights that had
just been read to him. Next, he placed his initials beside
the yes in response to the question, “Having these
rights in mind, do you wish to talk to us now?” Harris
then signed his first and last ...