Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

UNITED STATES v. HUBBARD

September 13, 1979

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
MARY SUE HUBBARD, et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICHEY

The fourth amendment of the U. S. Constitution provides:

 
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

 U.S.Const. Am. 4. This amendment was intended to prevent searches under unchecked general authority, such as those that had resulted from the use of the general warrant in England and the writs of assistance in the Colonies, and to ensure the "privacies of life". Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616, 630, 6 S. Ct. 524, 29 L. Ed. 746 (1886). See Stanford v. Texas, 379 U.S. 476, 481-85, 85 S. Ct. 506, 13 L. Ed. 2d 431 (1965); Frank v. Maryland, 359 U.S. 360, 363-65, 79 S. Ct. 804, 3 L. Ed. 2d 877 (1959).

 The exclusionary rule is a judicially created means of effectuating fourth amendment rights. Stone v. Powell, 428 U.S. 465, 482, 96 S. Ct. 3037, 49 L. Ed. 2d 1067 (1976). In Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383, 34 S. Ct. 341, 58 L. Ed. 652 (1914), the Supreme Court held that a defendant could petition prior to trial for the return of illegally seized evidence, and in Gouled v. United States, 255 U.S. 298, 41 S. Ct. 261, 65 L. Ed. 647 (1921), the Court held that such evidence could not be introduced in a federal prosecution. Although the exclusion of probative reliable evidence denigrates the public interest in the determination of the truth at trial, the exclusionary rule has evolved as one deterrent to police misconduct. Stone v. Powell, 428 U.S. 465, 487-88, 96 S. Ct. 3037, 49 L. Ed. 2d 1067 (1976). *fn1"

 Before the Court at this time are the motions of the defendants to suppress evidence. Finding no illegality in the actions of the government agents who executed the warrants at issue, the Court will deny the motions, and order the defendants to proceed to trial to be "acquitted or convicted on the basis of all the evidence which exposes the truth." Alderman v. United States, 394 U.S. 165, 175, 89 S. Ct. 961, 967, 22 L. Ed. 2d 176 (1969).

 I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

 On July 8, 1977, three search warrants were simultaneously executed on premises owned and operated by the Church *fn2" of Scientology: 2125 S Street, N. W., Washington, D.C.; 5930 West Franklin Avenue, Hollywood, California (the Fifield Manor); and 4833 Fountain Avenue, Hollywood, California (the Cedars-Sinai Complex). Immediately following the execution of the warrants, the Church filed two separate actions in Los Angeles and the District of Columbia seeking the return and suppression of property pursuant to Rule 41(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. *fn3"

 In separate Memorandum Opinions of April 4, 1978, and July 5, 1978, Judge Lucas upheld the execution of the warrants in California on all grounds. Church of Scientology v. United States, No. CV-77-2565-MML (C.D.Cal. April 4, 1978); Church of Scientology v. United States, No. CV-77-2565-MML (C.D.Cal. July 5, 1978). On February 22, 1979, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the Church's appeal of Judge Lucas' decision on the ground that the judgment was interlocutory and unappealable. Church of Scientology v. United States, 591 F.2d 533 (9th Cir. 1979).

 Meanwhile, on August 15, 1978, eleven individuals were indicted by a federal Grand Jury. *fn4" It is these individuals, *fn5" about to go on trial, who are before this Court seeking to suppress the evidence seized on July 8, 1977. The suppression hearing began on July 3, 1979, with this Judge taking testimony in Los Angeles, California, *fn6" and ended, following a view of the premises and several weeks of proceedings in Washington, D.C., on August 29, 1979.

 Five days prior to the completion of the hearing on the defendants' motions to suppress, Chief Judge Bryant issued an eleven-page Memorandum and Order holding that the search conducted in Washington, D.C. violated the fourth amendment. In re: Search Warrant Dated July 4, 1977, Misc. No. 77-0151 (D.D.C. August 24, 1979). *fn7" It has been the government's position throughout the litigation before this Court, that none of the documents seized at the District of Columbia location were shown to the Grand Jury which indicted the defendants, and that none would be used at the trial in this case. Thus, the propriety of the District of Columbia search is not an issue before this Court. *fn8" Accordingly, before this Court is the motion, filed by the nine individuals about to go on trial, to suppress the evidence seized on July 8, 1977, from the two Church of Scientology premises in Los Angeles, California.

 The defendants have raised six broad grounds in support of their motion to suppress:

 2. The search was illegal because the affidavit which was necessary to uphold the legality of the warrant was not attached to the warrant at the time it was executed;

 3. The agents conducted a general, exploratory search, in violation of the terms of the warrant and of the first and fourth amendments;

 4. The agents seized documents beyond the scope of the warrant;

 5. The agents used excessive force in their searches in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 3109; and,

 6. The warrant was obtained and executed by the government in a manner which violated defendants' right to process of law.

 The government has convincingly undermined the persuasiveness of the defendants' arguments on three broad grounds. First, the government contends that the standing of the defendants to seek the suppression of evidence seized from the premises of the Church is severely limited. Second, the government points to the decision of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upholding the facial validity of the search warrant, In re: Search Warrant Dated July 4, 1977, supra, and the decisions of Judge Lucas upholding its execution in Los Angeles. Church of Scientology v. United States, supra. Finally, the government seeks to narrow the inquiry to the documents the government intends to introduce into evidence as part of its case-in-chief, which the defendants virtually concede were properly seized. The Court will begin its inquiry with an analysis of the defendants' right to challenge the search of the Church's premises.

 II. THE DEFENDANTS' FOURTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS ARE LIMITED TO THEIR OWN OFFICES.

 Traditionally, it was necessary for a defendant to demonstrate "standing" before he or she could challenge the validity of a search. See Jones v. United States, 362 U.S. 257, 80 S. Ct. 725, 4 L. Ed. 2d 697 (1960). In Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128, 99 S. Ct. 421, 58 L. Ed. 2d 387 (1978), the Supreme Court subsumed the traditional standing inquiry under substantive fourth amendment doctrine. Id. 99 S. Ct. at 428. Thus, defendants can have illegally seized evidence suppressed if their fourth amendment rights have been infringed. Id.

 In the prior proceedings at which the searches were challenged, the searches plainly involved the plaintiff's fourth amendment rights: the Church of Scientology was the owner and operator of the premises and the party challenging the searches. In the proceedings before the Court, the parties challenging the searches are individuals.

 Each individual defendant in a criminal case must demonstrate that his or her fourth amendment rights are involved in order to suppress evidence. In Alderman v. United States, 394 U.S. 165, 89 S. Ct. 961, 22 L. Ed. 2d 176 (1969), the Supreme Court noted that:

 
The established principle is that suppression of the product of a Fourth Amendment violation can be successfully urged only by those whose rights were violated by the search itself, not by those aggrieved solely by the introduction of damaging evidence. Coconspirators and codefendants have been accorded no special standing.

 Id. at 171-72, 89 S. Ct. at 965.

 An individual's fourth amendment rights are involved if he or she has "a legitimate expectation of privacy in the invaded place." Rakas v. Illinois, supra, 99 S. Ct. at 430. It has been recognized that such a test does not provide a "bright line" between cases, but instead, each case must be determined on the facts and circumstances presented. Id. at 435 (Powell, J., concurring). Accordingly, with respect to each defendant, the Court must make a determination, on the facts and circumstances presented by that defendant, whether they had a legitimate expectation of privacy in the area from which evidence was seized.

 In the Fifield Manor, evidence was seized from the offices of the defendants Duke Snider and Henning Heldt. In the Cedars-Sinai Complex, the only defendants' offices from which evidence was seized were those of Cindy Raymond and Greg Willardson. The government concedes that Heldt, Snider, Raymond, and Willardson have standing to suppress evidence seized from their own offices.

 The defendants contend that every defendant has a legitimate expectation of privacy with respect to both premises in their entirety. In support of this claim, the defendants rely on three independent sources. First, the defendants argue that the places from which the documents were seized were secure offices with limited access. Second, the defendants contend that the documents were purportedly either authored or received by the defendants. Third, the defendants claim that they have an expectation of privacy in the exercise of their first amendment right to association and free exercise of religion.

 The Court finds that there is a legitimate expectation of privacy with respect to one's own office. In Mancusi v. De Forte, 392 U.S. 364, 88 S. Ct. 2120, 20 L. Ed. 2d 1154 (1968), union records were seized from an office shared by the defendant and several other union officials. Id. at 365, 88 S. Ct. 2120. The parties in Mancusi stipulated that the defendant spent a considerable amount of time in the office, and that he had custody of the papers at the moment of the seizure. Id. at 368-69, 88 S. Ct. 2120. Accordingly, if documents were illegally seized from an office of one of the defendants, that defendant could prevent the introduction of that evidence to prove his or her guilt.

 Another of the defendants has attempted to fit within the rule of the Mancusi case. The defendant Mary Sue Hubbard has sought to suppress evidence seized from the office of Janet Lawrence because Hubbard is Lawrence's supervisor. The evidence before the Court shows that Hubbard did not even have a key to this office, trans. of August 29, 1979, at 329, and there is no evidence that she ever set foot in it. Accordingly, the Court finds that the defendant Hubbard has no legitimate expectation of privacy in documents located in the office of her assistant.

 The defendants' second ground is completely unconvincing. According to the defendants, merely because they purportedly authored or were to receive certain letters, they have a legitimate expectation of privacy with respect to the contents of such letters. First, the defendants cannot rely on the government's "purported" allegations or the indictment, but have the burden of asserting a property or possessory interest in the seized property. Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128, 99 S. Ct. 421, 423, 58 L. Ed. 2d 387 n.1 (1978). *fn9" Having failed to do so, they have failed to meet their burden. Second, even assuming the defendants had established that they received the letters would not decide the issue. The legitimate expectations of privacy of a party who has received letters is obviously affected by what happens to the letters after their arrival. If the letters are kept in the office of the addressee, the addressee would have standing under the rule of the Mancusi case. However, if the letters are forwarded to a central filing system, and access to such system is available to numerous third parties, the expectations of privacy would be seriously undermined. Finally, the Court is unable to understand how sending letters to a third party would form a basis for a legitimate expectation of privacy after their delivery. *fn10" The reasonableness of one's privacy expectations would certainly be undermined by the act of relinquishing control. See United States v. Miller, 425 U.S. 435, 96 S. Ct. 1619, 48 L. Ed. 2d 71 (1976).

 The defendants' final contention is the vague and general argument that they had an expectation of privacy in the exercise of their first amendment right to association and free exercise of religion. In effect, the defendants seek to raise the rights of third parties simply because they share membership in a religious organization. In Rakas, the Supreme Court explicitly and emphatically declared that fourth amendment rights are personal and cannot be raised vicariously. See Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128, 99 S. Ct. 421, 425, 58 L. Ed. 2d 387 (1978). Mere membership in a religious organization would not result in the "legitimation of expectations of privacy . . . by reference to concepts of real or personal property law or to understandings that are recognized and permitted by society." Id. at 430 n.12. For example, there is no evidence that the defendant Wolfe ever set foot in any of the Church's offices in California, and no evidence that he was even aware of the existence of the documents seized on July 8, 1977. The Court is unable to fathom how he could have any expectation of privacy with respect to documents and premises merely because of his membership in the Church. Being an official of the Church would not alter this analysis. The defendants seek a significant broadening of the right to suppress evidence. This attempt must be rejected. The Court is unconvinced that such an enlargement in the class of those who can invoke the exclusionary rule would benefit the effectuation of fourth amendment goals. See Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128, 99 S. Ct. 421, 427, 58 L. Ed. 2d 387 (1978). Accordingly, only the defendants Heldt, Snider, Willardson, and Raymond have fourth amendment rights touched by the searches of July 8, 1977, and their rights are limited to evidence seized from their offices which is being introduced against them.

 III. THE WARRANTS ARE FACIALLY VALID.

 Each warrant at issue in this case included a description of the premises, a description of property to be seized with 162 items, a source of documents indicating the source of the first 147 items to be seized, and an affidavit in support of the search warrant. The defendants contend that the information relied on by the affiant is unreliable, and the warrants were not supported by probable cause, do not particularly describe the places or things to be seized, and are based on stale information.

 Each of the warrants executed on July 8, 1977, was supported by the same thirty-five page affidavit in support of the search warrant. The affidavits are identical except that typographical errors in the District of Columbia affidavit were corrected in the Los Angeles affidavits, and two additional footnotes were added to the two Los Angeles affidavits. The Court's analysis of the defendants' challenge to the Los Angeles warrants is greatly aided by the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which reversed Chief Judge Bryant's earlier ruling and upheld the facial validity of the D.C. warrant. In re Search Warrant Dated July 4, 1977, 187 U.S.App.D.C. 297, 572 F.2d 321 (D.C.Cir.1977), cert. denied, 435 U.S. 925, 98 S. Ct. 1491, 55 L. Ed. 2d 519 (1978). Of course, such a ruling is controlling precedent.

 The affidavit in support of the search warrants details the series of events which led up to the request by the government to search the premises of the Church of Scientology. The following are allegations made in the affidavit:

 Michael Meisner and Gerald Wolfe were caught in areas off-limits to the public in the United States Courthouse in the District of Columbia in the spring of 1976. Affidavit in Support of Search Warrant (Aff.) at 15. Both gave phoney names and presented fraudulent Internal Revenue Service (IRS) identification. Id. Wolfe pleaded guilty to the false use of a government seal, 18 U.S.C. § 1017, and a warrant was issued for Meisner's arrest. Id. at 1-2. On June 20, 1977, an Assistant United States Attorney received a telephone call and an offer to cooperate from Michael Meisner. Id. at 2. Meisner was interrogated in the presence of the affiant over a two-week period at which he described numerous criminal acts committed by himself and others on behalf of the Church of Scientology. Id. At seventeen places in the affidavit, the information provided by Meisner was independently verified by the government. Id. 2 n.1, 3 n.2, 5 n.4, 6 n.6, 7 n.7, 9 n.10, 11 n.11, 13 n.12 & 13, 14 n.14 & 15, 16 n.16, 19 n.17, 20 n.18, 27 n.21. Meisner was a high official of the Guardian's Office, the office in the Church responsible for the "protection" of Scientology. Id. at 3-4. One of the five Bureaus of the Guardian's Office was the Information Bureau which was responsible for illegal operations to acquire government documents critical of Scientology, covert operations to discredit and remove from positions of power all persons whom the Church considers to be its enemies, and internal security within the Church. Id. at 3. Meisner was Assistant Guardian for Information for the District of Columbia, id. at 4, and later National Secretary in Los Angeles, id. at 21, and as such had access to the most sensitive Church documents, including those kept in the Church's Los Angeles offices. Id. at 4. No immunity was offered Meisner for his testimony. Id. at 21 n.20.

 The affidavit goes on to detail the conspiracies to steal government property and to obstruct justice. Beginning in early 1974, Guardian World Wide Jane Kember issued Guardian Order (GO) 1361, which called for an all-out attack on the IRS including infiltration of the offices of the IRS by agents of the Church. Id. at 4-5. Cindy Raymond, a member of the staff of the Deputy Guardian for Information, Mitchell Hermann, who was then responsible for covert activities in the District of Columbia, and Meisner recruited Gerald Wolfe for the purpose of infiltrating the IRS. Id. at 5. However, their plans were thwarted by Wolfe's inability to obtain all of the documents desired by his superiors. Id. at 5. In order to complete their plans covert entries were made by Meisner, Hermann, or Wolfe into IRS and Justice Department buildings on numerous occasions. Id. at 5-7. Furthermore, an electronic listening device was placed in an office which was used for high-level IRS meetings. Id. at 5 n.4.

 In December, 1975, Cindy Raymond developed a "program" calling for covert operations designed to obtain Interpol documents regarding the Church of Scientology contained in files held by government agencies. Id. at 7-8. This program was developed in response to the general directive contained in GO 1634 which sought to obtain all documents that were not disclosed pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552. Id. at 8. According to this program agents were to be placed in government offices, and thefts were to be made. Id.

 Pursuant to these programs and orders, offices of the Department of Justice, the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, and the IRS were entered on numerous occasions by Wolfe and Meisner. Id. at 5-9. Furthermore, Sharon Thomas, a member of the Church, was placed in a secretarial position within the Justice Department in order to assist in these thefts. Id. at 8-9.

 When documents were obtained from certain of these incursions, Meisner sent copies to the Los Angeles Guardian's Office where copies were distributed to Guardian's Office officials, including Henning Heldt, and Richard Weigand. Id. at 6. These were marked "Confidential GO 1361 Material". Id. Other documents obtained illegally were sent by Meisner or Hermann to their superiors with cover memos explaining their contents signed "Mike" or "Mitch". Id. at 12, 22.

 After Meisner and Wolfe were confronted in the Courthouse, the obstruction-of-justice conspiracy began. Id. at 15. Plans were made to limit the government's inquiry into the entry. Id. at 16-17. Included in this cover-up plan was the concoction of a false story Wolfe would present to the grand jury. Id. at 19-20. Eventually, Meisner became dissatisfied with his treatment at the hands of the Church officials, escaped from the guard placed on him by the Church, and agreed to cooperate in the ongoing government investigation. Id. at 21.

 Meisner also provided the affiant with detailed information on the filing system of the Church. Id. at 22. The primary depository for documents was the Information Bureau in Los Angeles. Id. Documents obtained through legitimate channels were marked "FOI" and those obtained through burglary or theft were marked "Non-FOI". Nowhere in the affidavit does it state, or even suggest, that these filing cabinets were the only places where documents named in the warrant could be found.

 The files and their locations are described in some detail. Id. at 23-24. The Information Bureau documents were divided into six file systems. Id. at 23. The main Information Bureau files were made up of two file systems individual and group totaling 250 file cabinets. Id. The government special bank contained government documents, the majority of which were "Non-FOI" in ten filing cabinets of four or five drawers each. Id. The individual, group and government special bank files were located in the Information Bureau's Offices in Cedars. Id. at 28. The program files were located in the Heldt suite. Id. at 30. The operations files were kept in the offices of the National Operations Officer, id. at 23, which was in Cedars. Id. at 29. The ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.