United States District Court, D. Montana, Great Falls Division
Morris United States District Court Judge
Brent Douglass Reedy moves the Court, pursuant to Rules
12(b)(3)(C) and 41(h), to suppress evidence obtained from a
search of the car that he was driving, on the ground that the
search violated his Fourth Amendment rights. (Doc. 26). The
Court conducted a hearing on this matter on September 18,
2018. (Doc. 36).
Highway Patrol Trooper Smith (“Trooper Smith”)
observed a Dodge Charger, on December 7, 2017, at
approximately 1:06 p.m., traveling north at seventy-five mph
toward the Rocky Boys Indian Reservation. (Doc. 32, Ex. 1 at
1:06). Trooper Smith also observed that the car lacked
visible license plates on the front or back of the car. (Doc.
32 at 2). Trooper Smith noted only an unreadable piece of
paper in the car's rear window. (Doc. 32 at 2).
Smith initiated a traffic stop of the Dodge Charger for
traveling seventy-five mph in a posted seventy mph zone. (Ex.
1 at 1:07:44). Trooper Smith approached the Dodge Charger and
explained to the driver that he had stopped him for speeding
and the lack of visible license plates. (Ex. 1 at 1:07:51).
Upon asking where Mr. Reedy was going, Mr. Reedy began an
inconsistent and strange story about who owned the car, his
destination, the car's registration, and how he was going
to return home. (Ex. 1 at 1:08:22).
Reedy could not produce his registration or proof of
insurance for the Dodge Charger. (Ex. 1 at 1:10:58). Trooper
Smith noticed what appeared to be a vehicle registration
laying on the seat. (Ex. 1 at 1:10:59). Mr. Reedy claimed
that the registration was for a Chevrolet Tahoe. (Ex. 1 at
1:11:00). The registration turned out to be for a GMC Yukon
for someone with the last name of Sanchez-Diaz. (Ex. 1 at
1:11:01). Trooper Smith invited Mr. Reedy back to the patrol
car, to which Mr. Reedy consented, so that Trooper Smith
could continue to search for information on the Dodge
Charger. (Ex. 1 at 1:11:28).
the patrol car, and while breathing heavily, Mr. Reedy
explained that he was driving from Yakima, Washington to
Williston, North Dakota. (Ex. 1 at 1:12:30). Mr. Reedy
claimed that he had insurance for the Dodge Charger, but he
could not provide proof. (Ex. 1 at 1:12:21). Mr. Reedy
explained that he was driving to a dealership in Williston
where his mother-in-law allegedly had purchased the Dodge
Charger. (Ex. 1 at 1:12:45). Mr. Reedy further explained that
the Williston dealership would return the purchase money to
his mother-in-law when Mr. Reedy returned the Dodge Charger.
(Ex. 1 at 1:12:59). Mr. Reedy further suggested that the
Williston dealership would provide him with a plane ticket
back to Yakima. (Ex. 1 at 1:13:06).
Reedy continued his story. Mr. Reedy told Trooper Smith that
his mother-in-law was named Rhonda Patrick. (Ex. 1 at
1:13:38). He next explained that he had been sleeping in the
Dodge Charger on the trip. (Ex. 1 at 1:15:14). Mr. Reedy
suggested that his mother-in-law recently had purchased the
Dodge Charger in North Dakota because her GMC Yukon had
broken down while she was in North Dakota. (Ex. 1 at
1:16:00). Mr. Reedy further explained that his mother-in-law
wanted to trade-in the Dodge Charger to receive money to
repair the GMC Yukon that had broken down in North Dakota.
(Ex. 1 at 1:16:00). Additionally, Mr. Reedy stated that,
unknown to his mother-in-law at the time of purchase, the
Dodger Charger previously had been in an accident that
rendered it unsafe. (Ex. 1 at 1:16:04-43). Mr. Reedy further
claimed that the Dodge Charger was the subject of a recall
for a defective airbag. (Ex. 1 at 1:16:04-43). Mr.
Reedy's story continued to shuffle these facts.
minutes into the stop, Trooper Smith had failed to locate any
information using the Dodge Charger's Vehicle
Identification No. (“VIN”). (Ex. 1 at 1:16:47).
Trooper Smith continued to communicate with the Havre,
Montana dispatch to seek information regarding the status of
the Dodge Charger. Trooper Smith contemporaneously requested
an electronic Police Information Check (“ePIC
Check”) on Mr. Reedy. (Ex. 1 at 1:17:46). Immediately
after requesting the ePIC check, Trooper Smith returned to
the Dodge Charger to see if he could recover any pertinent
information from the dealer-plate inside the car. (Ex. 1 at
1:18:03). The dealer-plate and temporary registration sticker
contained no license plate number.
Reedy then admitted to Trooper Smith, while waiting for
information about the Dodge Charger, that his mother-in-law
did not own the GMC Yukon as he previously had stated. (Ex. 1
at 1:20:10). Mr. Reedy instead explained that a person with
the last name of Sanchez-Diaz owned the GMC Yukon (Ex. 1 at
1:20:12). Mr. Reedy never explained his connection, if any,
Reedy continued the story about the Dodge Charger while
Trooper Smith searched the available documents for any
pertinent information. Trooper Smith had obtained Mr.
Reedy's criminal history by this point through his ePIC
request. (Doc. 32 at 5). Mr. Reedy's criminal history
report informed Trooper Smith that Mr. Reedy was the subject
of a pending drug-related investigation, had previous charges
and convictions for methamphetamine and marijuana, as well as
weapons charges. (Doc. 32 at 5). Trooper Smith then asked Mr.
Reedy if he had ever been stopped by the police, if he had
ever been on probation or parole, or had any previous
convictions. (Ex. 1. at 1:25:15). Mr. Reedy denied that he
had previous convictions and stated that he only had been
pulled over “years before.” (Ex. 1. at 1:25:15).
Smith indicated to Mr. Reedy that he would issue a warning
for the lack of insurance and that Mr. Reedy needed to
correct the registration information on the Dodge Charger.
(Ex. 1. at 1:26:31). Trooper Smith then stated, “as far
as the traffic stop, that stuff is done.” (Ex. 1 at
1:26:55). Trooper Smith immediately asked Mr. Reedy if he
understood what was said, and asked Mr. Reedy if he was
“good to go?” Mr. Reedy nodded an affirmative
“yes.” (Ex. 1. at 1:27:00).
Reedy opened the car door, but stopped when Trooper Smith
stated, “so I'd like to ask you some more stuff
here, is there anything illegal in the car today?” Mr.
Reedy replied no. (Ex. 1 at 1:27:01). Trooper Smith then
asked, “any marijuana in the car? Any heroin? Any
methamphetamine in the car?” Mr. Reedy responded
“no” to each question. (Ex. 1. at 1:27:00-16).
Trooper Smith repeatedly asked if he could search the Dodge
Charger. Mr. Reedy declined. Trooper Smith called in the K-9
Unit from the Border Patrol. (Ex. 1. at 1:27:58).
Smith explained to Mr. Reedy that he works criminal drug
interdiction on a regular basis and that Mr. Reedy's
story concerned him. Trooper Smith explained that the lack of
information on the Dodge Charger and Mr. Reedy's denial
of his previous drug charges and convictions seemed
suspicious. (Ex. 1. at 1:28:20-1:30:27). Six minutes later,
information from the Dodge Charger's VIN showed that the
car last had been registered in California. (Ex. 1 at
1:36:21). Nothing in the record indicates the identity of ...