United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Middle Division
DAVID PROCTOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case is before the court on Defendant Marcus Laquon
Maddox's (“Maddox” or
“Defendant”) Motion to Suppress Evidence. (Doc. #
11). In his Motion, Defendant seeks to suppress evidence he
contends was illegally obtained when he was subjected to a
stop and pat search of his person on November 9, 2017.
(Id. at 1). Specifically, Defendant contends that
officers from the Fort Payne Police Department violated his
Fourth Amendment rights when they performed (1) an
investigatory stop that was not supported by a reasonable and
articulable suspicion of a crime and (2) a pat search of his
person that was not supported by reasonable suspicion that he
was armed and dangerous. (Id.). The pat search of
Defendant revealed a loaded pistol. After conducting a
suppression hearing on May 16, 2019, the court ordered the
parties to submit supplemental briefing. The Motion is now
fully briefed (Docs. # 12, 19-20) and ripe for review. After
careful consideration, and for the reasons explained below,
the court concludes that Defendant's Motion to Suppress
Evidence (Doc. # 11) is due to be denied.
the hearing, the court heard testimony from a single witness:
Officer Levi Bates.The court also accepted into evidence and
reviewed three body camera videos from the responding
officers. After considering the testimony at the
suppression hearing, assessing the witness's credibility,
and observing the three body camera videos of the incident,
the court makes the following factual findings:
Thursday, November 9, 2017 at approximately 11:15 p.m., the
Fort Payne Police received a call that a suspicious male and
female had approached the caller's car at an ATM machine
at BBVA Compass Bank, located at 200 Gault Avenue in Fort
Officers Levi Bates, Matthew Jones, and Nick Hill responded
to the call.
Officers did not know the identity of the caller.
he was driving toward the bank, Officer Bates saw two people
he believed matched the description of the two people from
the report. He stopped them as they were walking on the
sidewalk in front of the Police Department, which is about
two blocks from the bank. Both individuals were wearing warm
clothing and jackets. The female was barefoot.
Officer Bates recognized both individuals from prior night
patrols and identified them as Marcus Maddox and Juliana
Blankinship. He specifically recognized Defendant from prior
encounters involving drug activity.
Officer Bates pulled up in his patrol car and called
Defendant by his first name. Defendant was walking a few feet
ahead of Blankinship.
Officer Bates instructed Defendant to come to him. Although
Blankinship stopped walking and stayed with the Officers on
the sidewalk, Defendant continued to walk down the sidewalk.
Defendant finally stopped, walked back towards the Officers,
and sat on top of a concrete planter.
Officer Bates was equipped with a body camera. After about
thirty seconds of interacting with Defendant and Blankinship,
he activated his body camera and recorded the events.
Officers did not immediately search Defendant and
Blankinship. Instead, they conducted a field interview.
Officer Bates asked Defendant and Blankinship why they had
been approaching cars at the ATM.
After Officer Bates began recording, Officer Nick Hill
radioed to dispatch, asking for a “10-29 check on
Marcus Maddox.” As Officer Bates explained, a 10-29
check is a search for outstanding warrants. The Officers did
not ask for a 10-29 check on Blankinship.
Blankinship took the lead in the conversation with the police
officers. In comparison, Defendant offered very few responses
to the Officers' questions. Blankinship told the Officers
that she was the one approaching bank customers asking for a
ride back home to 2004 Gault Avenue. She said she was asking for
a ride because her sister left them and she was not wearing
About thirty seconds into the field interview, Officer Bates
advised the other officers that they should pat down
Defendant. However, at that point, none of the officers
initiated the pat down, and Officer Bates continued the field
Even though there was not an immediate pat down of Defendant,
Officer Bates testified that, at that moment, Defendant and
Blankinship were not free to leave.
Shortly thereafter, dispatch radioed back, “negative
29, ” which was an indication that there were ...