Franks v. Delaware Hearing
The Court held a hearing pursuant to Franks v. Delaware, supra, to determine whether there were false statements in Detective Bradley's affidavit. Defendants claimed that contrary to Detective Bradley's affidavit, neither Joseph Gaither nor Kathryn Gaither had reported to Detective Bradley that they knew of or had seen guns in apartment #1106.
The Court heard testimony from Detective Bradley and Special Agents Gabor and Walsh from the DEA, who witnessed the August 17, 1994 interviews with Joseph and Kathryn Gaither.
Kathryn and Joseph Gaither also testified, as did investigator Leonard Willis of the Federal Public Defender's Office.
Detective Bradley testified he went to 5929 East Capitol Street, S.E. on August 17, 1994 as part of the investigation of the killing of Earl McDaniels. Joseph Gaither approached him and Detective Bradley asked about "Albert Gaither," whom Joseph Gaither identified as Albert Gaither Chapman. Joseph Gaither told Detective Bradley that he had seen Albert Chapman together with his uncle, Timothy Gaither, and that they had a blue knapsack full of guns. He said that he had seen Timothy Gaither hand a gun to Albert and that Timothy Gaither was a bad influence on Albert Chapman. Detective Bradley further testified that Joseph Gaither told him that Timothy Gaither was dealing drugs out of 5929 East Capitol Street, S.E. #1106 and that he had guns to protect his drug business.
Joseph Gaither went to get his mother who appeared shortly thereafter. According to Detective Bradley, Mrs. Gaither also stated that she had seen a blue knapsack and that she had seen guns inside Timothy Gaither's girlfriend's apartment #1106 in the previous two weeks.
Kathryn Gaither contradicted both the statement attributed to her in the affidavit and Detective Bradley's trial testimony. She denied telling the police officers that she had seen guns in apartment #1106. Indeed, she testified that she had never been in that apartment.
The Court's credits Detective Bradley's testimony and finds the warrant to be valid. Special Agents Gabor and Walsh, who were present at least during part of the time that Detective Bradley spoke with Joseph and Kathryn Gaither, corroborated the essential parts of Detective Bradley's testimony. Agent Gabor said that Detective Bradley had spoken with Kathryn Gaither for about 20 minutes and that she had told Bradley that she had seen numerous guns in Timothy Gaither's apartment #1106. Agent Walsh confirmed that Mrs. Gaither had spoken to Detective Bradley about the blue knapsack's containing guns and about having seen guns in Timothy Gaither's girlfriend's apartment.
The Court was particularly impressed with the testimony of Detective Bradley, a 24-year veteran of the MPD. When the Court asked him why he had not sought authorization to search for drugs, he candidly testified there was not sufficient evidence to make such a request. He proceeded carefully in his investigation. He was looking for a murder suspect and weapons. He received information that he believed was reliable from close relatives of the murder suspect. He sifted through the information he obtained. Only after concluding that the information was reliable, did he write a detailed affidavit and proceed to obtain a search warrant.
We are living in difficult times. Drugs and weapons exist throughout the city. Under all the circumstances, the Police acted prudently and properly. The recovery of four potentially killer weapons from a small apartment occupied by a woman and small children clearly defines how serious this problem is. Accordingly, the defendants' motion to suppress is denied.
United States District Court
The Court having considered the written submissions and the testimony presented, hereby orders that the defendants' motion to suppress evidence be
United States District Court