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United States v. Corn

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

May 21, 2018

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Christopher L. Corn, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          John T. Maughmer United States Magistrate Judge

         Pending before the Court is the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. #74) filed on February 16, 2018 by defendant Christopher L. Corn (“Corn”). On April 18, 2018, the undersigned held an evidentiary hearing on Corn's motion to dismiss. Corn was present and represented by his counsel, Mark Thomason. The government was represented by Assistant United States Attorney Jeff McCarther. At the evidentiary hearing, testimony was given by Officer Robert Martin and Detective Frank Rorabaugh, both with the Kansas City Missouri Police Department. Previously, the Court held an evidentiary hearing on Corn's earlier filed suppression motion. Inasmuch as the underlying facts found in connection with that motion provide a helpful foundation to understanding the context of the present motion to dismiss, this order contains the 32 factual findings made by the Court after the first evidentiary hearing (including citations to the earlier February 9, 2017 hearing as “Tr. (I)”) as well as the additional findings made for purposes of the pending motion to dismiss (including citations to the April 18, 2018 hearing as “Tr. (II)”).

         On the basis of all the evidence adduced at the evidentiary hearings and the legal arguments advanced, the undersigned submits the following:

         PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT

         1. On March 11, 2016, Justin Palmer was a police officer with the Kansas City Missouri Police Department patrolling in an undercover vehicle in the area of 84th Street and Paseo in Kansas City, Missouri. Tr. (I) at 4-5, 21.

         2. On March 11, 2016, Robert Martin was also a police officer with the Kansas City Missouri Police Department who was likewise patrolling (in a marked police vehicle) in the area of 84th Street and Paseo in Kansas City, Missouri. Tr. (I) at 36-37.

         3. At around noon on that date, Officer Palmer and his partner (Officer Bobbie King) observed a black Ford pickup truck being operated by an individual known to the officers to be a narcotics offender and dealer in stolen property. Tr. (I) at 6, 24.

         4. Based on the individual's prior criminal history and the fact that he had an outstanding traffic warrant, the officers decided to conduct surveillance on the individual. Tr. (I) at 6-7, 22-23.

         5. Eventually, the officers observed the truck pull into the parking lot for a McDonald's near 84th Street and Wornall. Tr. (I) at 7, 26-27.

         6. The truck parked next to a white Ford Mustang. Tr. (I) at 8, 27.

         7. Officer Palmer recognized the Mustang as a vehicle he had previously observed at another known narcotics location. Tr. (I) at 8.

         8. The officers then observed the two occupants of the Ford truck exit the vehicle and go into the McDonalds. Tr. (I) at 8, 27.

         9. Three to four minutes later, the officers observed five people simultaneously exit the McDonalds (including the occupants of the Ford truck) with two people getting in the Ford truck and three people getting into the Mustang. Tr. (I) at 8-9.

         10. None of the people exiting the McDonalds appeared to have any food. Tr. (I) at 9.

         11. Based on his experience, Officer Palmer believed a drug transaction had occurred. Tr. (I) at 9.

         12. As the two vehicles were pulling out of the McDonalds parking lot, Officer Palmer radioed Officer Martin (who was known to Officer Palmer to be in the area) and told him that if he saw the white Mustang, it “would be good to conduct a traffic stop if possible.” Tr. (I) at 9-10, 27-28, 30, 38.

         13. Officer Palmer continued surveillance of the Ford truck. Tr. (I) at 10, 28-29.

         14. Officer Martin meanwhile began following the Mustang. Tr. (I) at 39-40.

         15. After following the Mustang briefly, Officer Martin observed the Mustang make a right turn into a driveway without signaling. Tr. (I) at 41, 61-62.

         16. After the Mustang pulled into the driveway, Officer Martin parked his patrol car and approached the Mustang. Tr. (I) at 41-42.

         17. As Officer Martin approached the vehicle, the driver (later identified as Corn) was attempting to exit the Mustang. Tr. (I) at 42-43.

         18. Officer Martin asked Corn to remain in the vehicle and he asked Corn for identification. Tr. (I) at 42-44.

         19. Corn told Officer Martin that he did not have a driver's license and gave Officer Martin a false name and initially indicated that his date of birth was 1923 (which would ...


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