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United States v. Turner

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

November 14, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
ANTHONY TURNER and LARISSA JONES, Defendants

For ANTHONY TURNER, Defendant: Billy L. Ponds, LEAD ATTORNEY, PONDS LAW FIRM, Washington, DC.

For LARISSA JONES, also known as LARISSA TURNER, Defendant: Dwight E. Crawley, LEAD ATTORNEY, 601 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC.

For USA, Plaintiff: David B. Kent, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC.

Page 123

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, United States District Judge.

Before this Court at present are (1) Defendant Anthony Turner's [27] Motion to Suppress Tangible Evidence (" Def.'s Mot. to Suppress" ), which Defendant Larissa Jones subsequently adopted ( see ECF No. 30 (Motion to Adopt Any Applicable Co-Defendant Motions)), and (2) Defendant Turner's [39] Motion for an Evidentiary Hearing Based on Franks v. Delaware violations (" Def.'s Mot. for Franks Hearing" ). At a status conference held on October 2, 2014, counsel for Defendant Turner asked this Court to consider these motions together; the instant memorandum opinion and order responds to that request.

Page 124

After consideration of Defendant Turner's motion to suppress and motion for a Franks hearing, along with the Government's Oppositions ( see ECF Nos. 28 and 50), this Court concludes that the information in the search warrant affidavit in this case provided a substantial basis for the belief that probable cause existed, and Defendant Turner has failed to demonstrate that the affidavit contained any false statements or material omissions. Consequently, Defendant Turner's motions for suppression of tangible evidence and for a Franks hearing are DENIED.

I. THE SEARCH WARRANT AFFIDAVIT

Defendant Turner's argument in support of suppression and/or a Franks hearing turns entirely on his belief that the affidavit that law enforcement submitted in support of the application for a warrant to search 2300 Good Hope Road, Apartment #226 was defective.[1] A D.C. Superior Court Judge reviewed the search warrant affidavit at issue, which AUSA Rhonda Redwood and affiant Officer Herbert LeBoo of the Metropolitan Police Department submitted on April 9, 2014.

As relevant here, the search warrant affidavit makes the following general statements about the affiant's source of information and basis of knowledge: (1) Officer LeBoo had met with a confidential informant the day that Officer LeBoo swore the search warrant affidavit; (2) Officer LeBoo has worked with this particular informant for three years; (3) the information that Officer LeBoo has received from this informant " has always been detailed, exact, and reliable; " and (4) Officer LeBoo believes that this informant is " knowledgeable, truthful, and forthcoming." ( See Search Warrant Affidavit, Ex. 1 to Govt. Opp. Re: Suppression, ECF No. 28-1.) In addition, the search warrant affidavit makes several specific assertions about the information that led Office LeBoo to believe that there was contraband inside 2300 Good Hope Road, Apartment #226: first, that at some point in the 36 hours preceding the search warrant application, the informant had met a person named Anthony at that apartment; second, that the informant knew Anthony lived at that address; third, that the informant saw that Anthony had a large quantity of heroin, crack cocaine, and marijuana in the apartment, and the informant had watched Anthony packaging the marijuana with Ziploc bags and a digital scale; and fourth, that the informant identified Defendant Anthony Turner as the " Anthony" he knew based on a photograph. ( Id.)

The gravamen of Defendant's suppression argument is that this search warrant affidavit nevertheless " was insufficient to establish a 'substantial basis' for probable cause [because the affidavit] lacked specific information regarding any alleged illegal activity that occurred inside of [the residence]" insofar as it " is devoid of any information concerning on what date(s), at what time(s) and under what circumstances the [confidential informant] allegedly made its observations." (Def.'s Mot. to Suppress at 4-5 (emphasis added).) Defendant Turner also takes issue with the fact that Officer LeBoo did not personally observe illegal activity in Defendants' apartment, and instead relied on the information provided to him by an informant. ( See Def.'s Mot. to Suppress at 4-5; Def.'s Mot. for Franks Hearing at 6-7.) Additionally, Defendant Turner complains that the search warrant affidavit does not explain why Officer LeBoo believed that the

Page 125

confidential informant was credible, nor does it offer independent evidence that corroborates the informant's statements-information that, according to Defendant Turner, the judicial officer needed to have in order to verify or corroborate the informant's statements prior to issuing the warrant. ...


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