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United States v. Wainright

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

December 27, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JAMES LOYD WAINRIGHT, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING MOTION TO SUPPRESS

          ROSEANN A. KETCHMARK, JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Defendant James Loyd Wainright's Motion to Suppress. (Doc. 21.) United States Magistrate Judge David P. Rush held a hearing on the Motion to Suppress and issued a Report and Recommendation that the motion be denied. (Doc. 31, Tr.; Doc. 32.) Defendant then filed objections to the Report and Recommendation. (Doc. 35.) After careful consideration, and for the reasons stated below, the Court OVERRULES Defendant's objections to the Report and Recommendation; ADOPTS all of the Report and Recommendation except its analysis of the independent source doctrine; and DENIES the motion to suppress.

         Discussion

         Under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 59(b)(3), “[a] district judge must consider de novo any objection to a magistrate judge's recommendation.” The Court “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         Defendant first objects to Judge Rush's conclusion that the police had probable cause to conduct a limited search of his car to retrieve and secure his cell phone while police sought a warrant to search the phone's contents. It is well-established that police do not need a warrant to search an automobile, only probable cause. United States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798, 807-08 (1982). The following evidence supported probable cause to target the phone as containing evidence of a crime, and thus to search the car where Defendant told them it was located:

• A white man driving a silver passenger car stopped near Hatten Park in Webb City, Missouri and asked C.D. (a fifteen-year-old boy) if he knew where “D.P.” lived. After leaving for a short time, the man came back and asked if C.D. wanted to “make a couple hundred bucks.”
• A neighbor corroborated hearing the man offer C.D. “a couple hundred bucks” and provided a description that matched Defendant (white male, approximately thirty years old, short in stature, heavy-set, with brownish red hair).
• A few weeks later, a man who fit essentially the same description approached D.N. (a fifteen-year-old boy) and M.S. (a thirteen-year-old boy) in a silver four-door passenger car with a spoiler on the back. He offered them money for sex, showed them $200 cash, and instructed them to meet him in the park to engage in sexual acts. According to D.N., the man told them he would record them with a video camera and upload the video to his YouTube channel.
• Approximately a month-and-a-half after that, the same man in the same car approached the two boys again and asked if they wanted to make some money. The boys refused, and the man drove away very fast when D.N. attempted to take a picture of him with his cell phone. The boys also attempted to take down the license plate number as “KM63MG.”
• This license plate number belonged to a vehicle that did not match the description of the vehicle given to police, so they ran plate number KN6M3G, which checked back to a silver Mazda 6 owned by Defendant.
• Defendant and his license photo matched the description in all three police reports.
• D.N. positively identified Defendant in a photo lineup.
• Police observed a 2008 Silver Mazda 6 passenger car with a spoiler on the trunk bearing license plate number KN6M3G in Defendant's driveway.
• D.N. positively identified this vehicle as the same car that had approached him and ...

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