United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
RICHARD WEBBER, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on the Report and
Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge David Noce
, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), recommending
the denial of Defendant Denzel Devon Coleman's Motions to
Suppress . Defendant filed timely objections to the
Report and Recommendation . The Court ordered Defendant
to file more specific objections, which were filed by
Defendant on April 27, 2018 .
Court conducts a de novo review of those portions of
a report or specified proposed findings to which timely
objection is made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b); see also
United States v. Lothridge, 324 F.3d 599, 600 (8th Cir.
2003). General objections are not sufficient to challenge a
magistrate judge's findings and are subject to clear
error review. See Ramirez v. U.S., 898 F.Supp.2d
659, 663 (S.D.N.Y. 2012); Greene v. Quest Diagnostics
Clinical Lab., Inc., 455 F.Supp.2d 483, 488 (D.S.C.
2006); Thompson v. Nix, 897 F.2d 356, 357-58 (8th
Cir. 1990). Although the Eight Circuit has indicated approval
of such an exception, it has repeatedly emphasized the
necessity of de novo review. Hudson v. Gammon, 46
F.3d 785, 786 (8th Cir. 1995).
Court reviewed the motions, and the testimony, evidence, and
arguments from the evidentiary hearing. Based on this de
novo review, the Court concludes the Magistrate Judge
made proper findings and correctly analyzed the issues. The
facts of this case, relevant to the motion to suppress, are
December 15, 2016, JD called 911 to report he had been robbed at
the Knights Inn, 2790 Target Drive in St. Louis County.
Around 3:00 a.m., St. Louis County Police Detective Michael
Daugherty and Police Officer Trainee Benn arrived at the
scene and spoke with JD. Officers Saul and Traum had already
arrived at the scene and spoken with JD. The officers
reported to Detective Daugherty what they learned and then
went to Room 229 of the motel. Detective Daugherty and
Officer Benn remained with JD, who told them he had gone to
Room 229 to meet with a young female with reddish color hair
in response to a Bankpage.com ad for a special massage. After
he was admitted into the room, JD said the female admitted a
large black male who told JD he could leave after he provided
“his donation to the cause, ” which was $140.00.
When the black male stated this, he reached toward his
waistband. JD stated he paid the money.
Officers Saul and Traum arrived on the floor with Room 229,
they saw a female run from Room 229 towards Room 226. After
Detective Daugherty and Officer Benn arrived on the floor,
Officer Benn and another officer went to the front desk of
the motel and asked who rented both rooms. They were orally
told a woman named AR rented both rooms. They conveyed this
information to Detective Daugherty.
Traum and Saul noticed the door to Room 229 was ajar and they
announced they were police looking into a report of a
robbery. They entered the room to ensure there were no
robbery victims or perpetrators in the room. The officers
encountered TS, who said he went to the room in response to a
Backpage ad. As the other officers joined the room, TS stated
there had been a female present in the room. The officers
went to Room 226 to speak with the occupants.
Detective Daugherty and Officer Benn knocked on the door of
Room 226, a male voice responded that he was not going to
come to the door. After requesting to speak with the occupant
several times, Officer Bent asked if AR was present. The male
voice responded she was in the room, but was asleep and there
were children in the room. Because of the reported robbery,
possibly involving a weapon, the joint occupancy of Rooms 226
and 229, and the children present in Room 226, the officers
believed an emergency situation existed in Room 226 and used
the room key to enter the room. Five adults were found in the
room and two children. The adults were removed from the room
and detained; they were told to sit on the hallway floor.
Defendant was handcuffed.
Daugherty and Officer Benn asked JD if he would participate
in a physical lineup of the available suspects from Room 226,
to which JD agreed. Detective Daugherty and JD went outside
and sat in the front two seats of a police vehicle. The
vehicle faced the hotel with the lights shining brightly.
Each detained adult was brought through the area, one at a
time. JD identified Defendant, the only black male, as the
robbery perpetrator and KL, one of the females, as the person
he met in Room 229. The officers then called in the Special
Investigative Unit since the case involved potential
prostitution and they secured Rooms 226 and 229. All of the
adults, including Defendant, were transported to the St.
Louis County Police Station.
station, Detective Matthew Black of the Special Investigation
Unit asked AZ for consent to search Room 229 of the motel.
She did not appear to be under the influence of any alcohol
or drugs, she appeared to understand what was being asked,
and she was not coerced or threatened. AZ signed a preprinted
Consent to Search form for Room 229, as did Detective Black.
Similarly, Detective Black asked AR to sign a Consent to
Search form for Room 226. She also did not appear to be under
the influence of alcohol or drugs, she appeared to understand
the question, and was not coerced or threatened. She and
Detective Black signed the form.
was interviewed at the police station by Detective Michael
Slaughter of the Special Investigation Unit. The interview
was audio and video recorded. Defendant was given a sheet of
paper listing his constitutional rights to remain silent and
to counsel. He read these aloud to Detective Slaughter and
after each statement, Detective Slaughter asked him if he
understood to which he replied he did and initialed
indicating he understood the right. Defendant also signed a
consent to search form for the contents of his ZTE cell
phone. He did not consent to a search of two other cell
phones. After Defendant made several statements to Detective
Slaughter, the interview ended at 1:10 p.m.
objections to the Report and Recommendation, Defendant
asserts the Magistrate Judge properly concludes Defendant was
placed under arrest at the motel, but incorrectly concludes
he was lawfully detained and the future police activities
were lawful. Defendant argues all evidence and statements
must be excluded, because the search of the motel room and
subsequent events were unconstitutional.
arrest was based on probable cause and was lawful. “The
usual rule is that a police officer may arrest without
warrant one believed by the officer upon reasonable cause to
have been guilty of a felony.” United States v.
Watson, 423 U.S. 411, 417 (1976). Probable cause exists
when police have “trustworthy information that would
lead a prudent person to believe that the suspect had
committed or was committing a crime.” United States
v. Luke, 686 F.3d 600, 605 (8th Cir. 2012). Officers may
detain someone for further investigation when there is
reasonable suspicion the defendant was involved in criminal
activity. Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 30 (1968).
it was reasonable for police officers to detain Defendant for
further investigation. Police officers were investigating a
potential armed robbery in Room 229. In the course of this
investigation, they observed a woman run from Room 229 to
Room 226. The motel front desk attendant informed the police
officers the same individual was renting both rooms.
Defendant was found in Room 226. These facts, in conjunction