United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
DAVID PROCTOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
case is before the court on Defendant Christopher Ryan
Perdue's (“Perdue” or
“Defendant”) Motion to Suppress Evidence and
Statements (Doc. # 13), filed April 16, 2019. In his Motion,
Defendant seeks to suppress (1) all physical evidence
obtained from what he contends was a warrantless search of
his bedroom and (2) all pre- and post-Miranda
statements he made during and after the search. (Id.
at 1). Specifically, Defendant claims that on October 23,
2018, law enforcement officers violated his Fourth and Fifth
Amendment rights when, without a warrant or his consent, they
unlawfully entered and searched a bedroom he contends he was
occupying, seized evidence from the bedroom, arrested him
without a warrant, and elicited incriminating statements from
him in violation of Miranda v. Arizona, 385 U.S. 436
(1966). (Id.). He also asks the court to suppress
all post-Miranda statements as fruit of the prior
unlawful search conducted earlier that day. (Id.).
holding a suppression hearing on June 10, 2019, the court
ordered the parties to submit supplemental briefing. The
Motion is now fully briefed (Docs. # 14, 27-28) and ripe for
review. After careful consideration, and for the reasons
explained below, the court concludes that Defendant's
Motion to Suppress Evidence and Statements (Doc. # 13) is due
to be granted in part and denied in part.
Findings of Fact
the hearing, the court heard testimony from two witnesses:
Talladega Police Department (“TPD”) Detectives
Jeremy Falkner and Todd Williamon. The court also
accepted into evidence and reviewed three body camera videos
from the responding officers, the consent-to-search form
which the actual homeowner of the subject property executed,
and a video and transcript of Defendant's
post-Miranda interview. After hearing the testimony
at the suppression hearing and assessing the witnesses'
credibility, the court makes the following factual findings:
October 21, 2018, the TPD opened an investigation concerning
a report of stolen property and a related assault that
allegedly occurred at a local mechanic's shop. The
complainant, Ronald Roberts, worked at the mechanic's
shop. He initially called the TPD to report that Terrika
Brewer, whom he referred to as a friend, had been stealing
property from his employer.
Roberts called the TPD again later that day and alleged that
Brewer and Defendant (who was Brewer's boyfriend at the
time) returned to the shop, assaulted him, and left the scene
in a 2002 Ford Explorer that belonged to one of the
shop's customers. Roberts also claimed that Defendant and
Brewer stole his cell phone, cash, keys to the shop, keys to
about eight other vehicles, and a “Snap-On scan
tool” (an automotive diagnostic tool). The TPD reported
the Explorer as stolen.
Talladega Police Detective Jeremy Falkner was assigned to
work the investigation.
Detective Falkner had dealt with both Brewer and Defendant
several times before (since their teenage years). He knew
Defendant as a drug abuser who had a reputation for carrying
firearms and running from the police. Detective Falkner also
knew that Brewer was a drug abuser with a history of minor
Detective Falkner did not know where Brewer was living at the
time. As recently as a few weeks before the subject incident,
Detective Falkner heard that Defendant was living at an
apartment complex, the Talladega Downs, with his mother.
Detective Falkner also knew Brewer had recently spent time
with Wayne Collier. Collier owned a three-bedroom residence
on Brady Street in Talladega, Alabama. Collier had a
reputation with the TPD because he frequently allowed drug
abusers to temporarily stay at this house in exchange for
drugs. Over the past five years, the TPD had discovered
stolen property at his residence, particularly vehicles.
Detective Falkner had never seen Defendant at Collier's
residence, but he knew that Brewer had spent time there.
days after the report was made, on October 23, 2018 at
approximately 10:00 a.m., Detective Falkner drove by
Collier's house hoping to locate the Ford Explorer
reported stolen. In fact, the vehicle was found parked
outside the residence and Detective Falkner suspected that
Defendant and Brewer were inside.
he saw the stolen Explorer, Detective Falkner called the TPD
to ascertain whether Defendant had any outstanding warrants.
He discovered that Defendant had three misdemeanor traffic
warrants. He then drove back to the TPD, retrieved the
warrants, and returned to Collier's residence.
Detective Falkner also summoned Detective Williamon,
Detective McDaniel, Officer Layton, Officer Cavender, and
Vincent Pitts (Officer Cavender's shadow) to the scene.
All six TPD personnel arrived at Collier's residence at
the same time.
Detective Falkner left the traffic-related warrants in his
vehicle and instructed the other officers to set up a
perimeter outside the house.
went to the front door of Collier's residence and
knocked. An occupant named David Morgan answered the door.
Morgan told Detective Falkner that Collier, the homeowner,
was in his bedroom. He did not allow the officers to enter at
Moments later, Collier appeared and identified himself as the
owner of the home. He seemed groggy like he had just woken
up, but otherwise seemed normal based on Detective
Falkner's past experiences with him. Detective Falkner
told Collier that he and his officers were investigating a
stolen vehicle and looking for Defendant and Brewer. Collier
confirmed that Defendant and Brewer were sleeping in the
second bedroom towards the back of the house. The second
bedroom had an exterior door that allowed ingress and egress
form outside the house.
Detective Falkner asked Collier if he and his other officers
could enter the house and search for Defendant and Brewer.
Collier agreed and stepped aside to let them inside the
Detective Falkner kept his weapon in its holster and did not
threaten or coerce Collier into compliance. In fact, both
Detective Falkner and Detective Williamon had received
Collier's consent to enter and search his home on at
least two prior occasions and related to other cases. Each
time, Collier readily gave consent for the officers to search
his entire home.
While this exchange took place, the officers outside the
house approached the door that led from the outside into the
second bedroom. They heard hushed voices and footsteps of
people exiting the bedroom. Detective Williamon heard
Brewer's voice coming from the bathroom, which was
adjacent to the second bedroom.
Having received Collier's consent for the officers to
enter his home and search for Defendant and Brewer, Detective
Falkner summoned the other officers to the front door.
Upon entering the house, the officer saw a male and a female
sitting on the couch. They did not know how many other people
were in the house. With this concern in mind, Detective
Falkner ordered his officers ...