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United States v. Daniels

United States District Court, D. Montana, Butte Division

October 18, 2018




         Before the Court is Defendant Anthony Cole Daniels's motion to suppress (Doc. 18). The Court held a hearing on the issues presented in the motion on October 15, 2018. The Court denies the motion.

         Factual Background

         Daniels has been charged with 21 U.S.C. § 846, Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine; 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 2, Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine; and 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), Prohibited Person in Possession of a Firearm. The physical evidence that provides grounds for these charges was found and seized pursuant to a search of Daniels's residence on June 7, 2018.

         In 2010, Daniels was convicted by the State of Montana of one count of criminal production or manufacture of dangerous drugs, in violation of Montana Code Annotated § 45-9-110, and one count of operating an unlawful clandestine laboratory, in violation of Montana Code Annotated § 45-9-132. Daniels was sentenced to two concurrent terms of twenty years imprisonment with ten years suspended. Daniels was also required by state law to register as a violent offender. See Mont. Code Ann. § 46-23-502(13)(a).

         On April 25, 2013, Daniels was paroled from his Montana state sentence. Pursuant to his conditions of parole, Daniels agreed that “[u]pon reasonable suspicion, as ascertained by a Probation/Parole Officer, [his] person, vehicle, and/or residence may be searched at any time, day or night, . . . without a warrant by a Probation/Parole Officer . . . .” (Doc. 20-2 at 1.) He also agreed that that “[his] residence must be approved by a Probation/Parole Officer” and that he would “not change [his] place of residence without first obtaining written permission from Probation/Parole Officer.” (Doc. 22-1 at 1.) Daniels was also subject to ongoing registration requirements due to his classification as a violent offender.

         Prior to June 7, 2018, state probation and law enforcement officers became aware that Daniels was not living at his last-registered address. Detective Daniel Hayden heard from a confidential informant that Daniels was residing at a specific non-reported residence, a trailer located on Bozeman Trail Road, with his wife, “Sue.” The same informant told Hayden that Daniels was again involved in drug activity. Hayden verified that: 911 calls associated Daniels with Susan Guinn; Guinn lived on Bozeman Trail Road; and Daniels was a violent offender on parole.

         On June 6, 2018, Hayden traveled to the Bozeman Trail residence, where he noted: two vehicles registered to Daniels parked at the residence; a male resembling Daniels working in the yard; and mail with Daniels's name in the mailbox. The same day, Montana Probation Officer John Madigan went to Daniels's last-registered address. He looked through the windows and saw that the residence was empty of furniture and other household items. Although a vehicle registered to Daniels was parked outside the residence, Madigan believed, due to the emptiness of the residence, that Daniels had moved out.

         At 9:30 a.m. on June 7, 2018, Madigan, Hayden, and five other law enforcement officers arrived at the Bozeman Trail residence. Madigan knocked on the door to the trailer several times, announcing “Probation and Parole.” Daniels opened the door, naked. Because he believed that Daniels posed a safety threat to the officers, Madigan walked with Daniels to a bedroom, where Daniels got dressed, instead of waiting outside for Daniels to return fully clothed. Madigan asked Daniels if there were weapons in the residence, and Daniels told him that there were weapons in the spare bedroom next door. After officers handcuffed Daniels and his girlfriend Guinn, Daniels admitted that he had moved into Guinn's residence without Madigan's permission. He also admitted that he had failed to update the violent offender registry as required by law.

         Officers proceeded to search the residence while Daniels and Guinn were transported to jail. They found over $40, 000 in cash, approximately 1.5 pounds of methamphetamine, approximately 2 pounds of marijuana, 27 firearms, drug paraphernalia, and chemical precursers. While in custody, Daniels made self-incriminating statements over the telephone, which were recorded.

         Daniels was indicted on August 29, 2018. Trial is scheduled for November 5, 2018.

         Legal Standard

         Generally, a criminal defendant seeking to suppress evidence bears the burden of establishing a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128, 130 n.1 (1978). However, because warrantless searches are presumed unreasonable, the government bears the burden of proving the existence of an exception to the general warrant requirement. United States v. Vasey, 834 F.2d 782, 785 (9th Cir. 1987). The appropriate standard is whether ...

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