United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
WALLACE CAPEL, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Raymond David Jacques, III (“Jacques” or
“Defendant”), is charged with violations of 21
U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), possession with intent to distribute
methamphetamine, and 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A),
possession of a firearm in furtherance of a controlled
substance crime. Doc. 1. Evidence of those alleged crimes was
seized from Defendant's vehicle as part of a controlled
delivery involving a confidential informant
(“CI”). Defendant filed a Motion to Suppress
(Doc. 18), which is currently pending before the Court. In
the motion, Defendant argues that his Fourth Amendment rights
were violated because the police did not have reasonable
suspicion or probable cause to stop or arrest him and that
the evidence retrieved from his vehicle should be suppressed.
Doc. 18 at 1.
FINDINGS OF FACT
February 7, 2018, Detective Robert Hubbard (“Detective
Hubbard”) conducted a search warrant at the residence
of Erin Hurst (“Hurst”) located on Texas Court in
Montgomery, Alabama. Supp. Hr'g. Tr. (Doc. 37) at 4. The
search warrant followed a controlled buy in which Hurst had
sold methamphetamine. Id. at 58. While being
interviewed by the police after her arrest, Hurst agreed to
provide the names of several people from whom she was
purchasing methamphetamine. Id. at 4. Hurst did not
sign a contract setting forth her duties in acting as a
confidential informant, and Detective Hubbard had not
previously worked with her. Id. at 16.
the individuals identified by Hurst was the defendant in this
case, Raymond Jacques, whom she calls “Bubba.”
Id. at 6-7. Ms. Hurst told the police that Jacques
lived on Forest Hills Drive and drove a white Nissan Titan
truck. Id. at 7. Detective Hubbard used the computer
systems available to the police department to verify
Jacques' address and vehicle information given to him by
Hurst. Id. at 7-8. Hurst also identified Jacques
from a photo shown to her by Hubbard. Id. at 8. Upon
verifying Jacques' residence address, Hubbard sent
officers to Jacques' home to begin surveillance.
Id. at 10.
indicated to Detective Hubbard that she could arrange to buy
half an ounce of methamphetamine from Jacques. Id.
The interview between Detective Hubbard and Hurst was
videotaped. The Government produced copies of the videotapes
of the interview to the undersigned following the suppression
hearing. The videos show that Hurst spoke to Jacques on the
phone and that they texted over a span of almost four hours
while Hurst was in custody at the police
department. Below is a summary of the relevant
activity from the video tapes.
beginning of the video, Detective Hubbard asks Hurst,
“Who are you getting your dope from?”
See Video dated Feb. 27, 2018 at
15:50:48. Hurst was reluctant to answer the
question, so Detective Hubbard told her that it was her
choice and that she could “eat her [drug]
charges” if she wanted. Id. Hurst then
responds that her “dope” comes from someone named
Cody Mobley but that Mobley had instructed her to go through
Jacques for the last couple of weeks. Id. Hurst
usually goes to Jacques' house to make the purchase, and
the house is located in Forest Hills next door to Mobley.
Id. She said she normally buys a “half
ounce" at a time, and her most recent purchase was two
nights earlier. Id. She also explained that it
was about time for her to purchase again and that Jacques was
“probably waiting on [her] now.” Id. She
stated that she usually pays him $300.00, that she was short
on money the last time she purchased from him, and that he
has been adding $50.00 to each purchase to make up for the
money she owes. Id.
thirty minutes later, Detective Hubbard told Hurst to send
Jacques a text message to see if “he's up and able
to bring it to you.” Id. at 16:21:19. He tells
her to say that she will be at her house on Texas Court in
the next hour. Id. He further instructs her to tell
Jacques that she will have some of his money and that she
needs “to get a half.” Id. Hubbard
watches over Hurst's shoulder as she types, and he
continues to monitor each message that she types throughout
the entire videotaped interview. Id. When Jacques
does not immediately respond, Hurst asks if she should call
him, but Hubbard says not to call him yet. Id.
Hubbard eventually takes the phone and leaves the room.
Hubbard comes back into the room and says Jacques responded
by texting “did you find her” and that Jacques
was asking whether Hurst had found any drugs. Id. at
18:00:30. Hubbard tells Hurst to ask Jacques to bring it to
her house. Id. A few minutes later, Hurst calls
Jacques and says that she needs to get up with him, is on
Texas Court, and does not have a vehicle. Id.
Jacques then says to give him about thirty minutes. Hubbard
tells two other officers who are in the room with him to
“get people in place.” Id.
twenty minutes later, Hubbard tells Hurst to text Jacques and
ask whether he is sure that he is going to be on his way.
Id. at 18:23:54. He also said to tell Jacques that
she has his money and that she already has “got some
sold.” Id. He then tells Hurst to do whatever
she has to do to “finalize the sale.”
minutes later Hurst and Hubbard discuss money again.
Id. at 18:30:26. Hurst confirms that she normally
pays Jacques $300 for a “half.” Id.
Because Hurst already owes Jacques money, Hubbard suggests
telling Jacques that she “hit a casino” and has
$450.00. Id. They then discuss whether to call
Jacques, but Hubbard tells her to text him and say that she
“hit a little bit at the casino last night” and
has $400.00. Id.
fifteen minutes later, Hubbard walks back in the room and
tells Hurst that Jacques has responded by saying that he is
home with his little girl and for Hurst to have someone drive
her to his house. Id. at 18:46:25. Hubbard directs
Hurst to tell Jacques that she is at her house alone, that it
will be quick, and all he has to do is drop it off.
Hubbard tells Hurst to ask Jacques what time he thinks he
will be at her house because she is not going to have a ride.
Id. at 18:54:48. After a couple of minutes, Hurst
calls Jacques to ask when he will be leaving. Id. At
the end of the phone conversation, Jacques asks about his
money and Hurst replies that she has all of it. Id.
then instructs Hurst to “tell him to make sure you
bring what you need.” Id. at 18:59:10. Thirty
minutes later, Hubbard instructs her to ask Jacques if he has
left yet. Id. at 19:30:40. Hurst calls but Jacques
does not answer. Id. Jacques then calls Hurst, says
he is on Atlanta Highway, and confirms that she is on Texas
Court. Ten minutes later at 19:40:41. Shortly thereafter,
Hurst leaves the interview room and the video ends.
deal between Hurst and Jacques was being set up, Hubbard
relayed information to the officers doing surveillance. Doc.
37 at 28. In total, there were four detectives and five or
six SWAT operators, not including supervisors, on the streets
for the surveillance and the arrest. Id. at 29.
Because the purpose of the operation was a
“takedown” after a controlled delivery,
police had no intentions of pulling Jacques over for a
traffic stop after he left his residence. Id. at 30.
The plan was to wait for Jacques to deliver the narcotics to
1806 Texas Court and then take him into custody. Id.
R.T. Jackson is one of the officers who surveilled
Jacques' residence while the police were waiting for him
to leave. Id. at 63. When Officer Jackson began the
surveillance, he already knew that Jacques would be driving a
white Nissan Titan truck. Id. at 63-64. Officer
Jackson parked approximately fifty yards from Jacques'
house and identified a vehicle matching that description at
Jacques' residence. Id. at 64. While there,
Jackson was in contact with the other officers involved in
the investigation. Id. When Jacques left the
residence, Jackson maintained visual on him as he traveled to
Hurst's home. Id. at 64-65. Jacques lived three
to four miles from Hurst and took a direct route to
Hurst's home. Id. at 65. Officer Jackson
followed Jacques until he turned onto Texas Court.
Id. at 64-65. While following, he maintained contact
with the other officers and relayed information to them.
Id. at 66. He verified the vehicle description,
advised that Jacques was speeding and driving erratically,
and let them know the direction of travel. Id.
Additional officers were located on Texas Court. Id.
Operator Lee Alley was on standby a block or two away from
the residence on Texas Court until Jacques' vehicle
approached. Id. at 68-70. He had been given a
vehicle description and a description of the suspect, and he
observed the vehicle and suspect arrived on Texas Court at
the same residence where he had conducted a search warrant
earlier. Id. at 69. All of the information he
received while on standby came from Detective Hubbard.
Id. at 74. He and another officer waited
approximately two or three hours before receiving information
that the suspect was en route. Id. at 70. When
Jacques' vehicle pulled into Hurst's driveway on
Texas Court, Alley and his partner pulled in behind him with
the blue lights and sirens, and Alley's partner
approached the driver's side of the vehicle. Id.
at 71. They asked to see Jacques' hands. Id. at
72. Jacques complied and was handcuffed. Id. He was
placed in the back of the patrol car and transported back to
the Specials Ops Division. Id. This took
approximately three to five minutes, and neither Alley nor
his partner searched the vehicle. Id. at 73.
Todd Oliver was part of the SWAT team involved in the
takedown. Id. at 77. He was parked several blocks
away on the west side of Texas Court waiting for an
undercover officer to advise that Jacques had arrived.
Id. at 77-78. By the time Corporal Oliver arrived at
the residence on Texas Court, officers from another vehicle
had already made contact with Jacques and taken him into
custody. Id. at 78-79. Corporal Oliver conducted a
wingspan search of the driver's side of the vehicle to
look for needles. Id. at 79. Corporal Oliver
located a black handgun but did not touch it. Id. at
79, 81. The police were not aware of any criminal history for
Jacques and did not know if he had a permit to carry a
pistol. Id. at 32-33. After conducting the wingspan
search, Corporal Oliver drove the vehicle to the office and
turned it over to an investigator. Id. 81.
Hubbard testified that, when someone is arrested, vehicles
are searched so valuables can be removed and then impounded.
Id. at 49-50. When Jacques' truck was searched,
the police located 66 grams of methamphetamine in a cowboy
boot that was “behind the passenger seat, right
underneath the child's car seat, up underneath the -
where their feet would sit.” Id. at 14.
Detective Hubbard prepared the police report for this case,
he wrote in the report that methamphetamine was discovered
during the wingspan search. Id. at 31. While
testifying, Detective Hubbard said more than once that the
drugs were not found until the vehicle was taken back to the
office and searched. Id. at 31. He admitted that the
statement in the police report about the drugs being found
during the wingspan search is incorrect. Id. at 32.
Thus, there is no dispute that the methamphetamine was found
after the vehicle was searched at the police department and
not as part of the wingspan search conducted at the scene.
makes several arguments in his motion. First, he argues that,
because the police report states that certain traffic
violations were committed but no citations were issued, there
can be no reasonable suspicion. Doc. 18 at 1-2. Next, he
argues that the stop of Defendant was unlawful under
Rodriguez v. U.S., 135 S.Ct. (2015) because the stop
was prolonged beyond the reasonable time to complete the
issuance of a ticket. Id. at 2. He also argues that
the officers conducted a wingspan search after Jacques was
taken into custody and after the police took his vehicle to
the police department, but it was unnecessary because Jacques
was cuffed immediately and was placed away from ...