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United States v. Briggs

July 22, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LALA BRIGGS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jeffrey L. VIKEN United States District Judge

ORDER

INTRODUCTION

Pending before the court is a motion to suppress statements and physical evidence filed by defendant Lala Briggs. (Docket 20). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and the court's standing order (Docket 9), Magistrate Judge Veronica L. Duffy held a hearing on this matter and issued a report and recommendation. (Docket 30). The magistrate judge recommended granting Mr. Briggs' motion in part and denying in part. Id. at p. 20. Mr. Briggs timely filed several objections to the report and recommendation. (Docket 32). The court reviews de novo those portions of the report and recommendation which are the subject of objections. Thompson v. Nix, 897 F.2d 356, 357-58 (8th Cir. 1990); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The court considers each objection in turn.

DISCUSSION

A. Objections to the Magistrate Judge's Factual Findings

Mr. Briggs raises four objections to the magistrate judge's factual findings. (Docket 32 at pp. 1-3). First, Mr. Briggs objects to the following factual finding: "Shortly after Deputy Battest entered Mr. Briggs' apartment, Mr. Briggs' mother and a thirteen[-]year-old boy entered the room where Mr. Briggs and Deputy Battest were standing." (Docket 30 at p. 3). Mr. Briggs argues the thirteen-year-old boy was not present in the room. (Docket 32 at p. 1). The court has reviewed the transcript of the suppression hearing and agrees with the magistrate judge, as evidenced by the following excerpt from Deputy Battest's testimony:

As this is occurring, as we are stepping back further into the threshold of the apartment, his mother enters the room, essentially.

It's one -- the kitchen and living room are one large open area. She enters the room. And there's also a 13-year-old boy in there. He entered also a short time after the mother did. (TR p. 10, lines 21-25; p. 11, line 1).*fn1 Accordingly, Mr. Briggs' first objection to the magistrate judge's factual findings is overruled.

Secondly, Mr. Briggs objects to the following factual finding: "Deputy Battest instructed Deputy Oldson to secure the evidence in view on the dining room table to make sure it was not destroyed while a search warrant was being secured." (Docket 30 at p. 4). Mr. Briggs argues Deputy Battest instructed Deputy Oldson to secure the evidence so it could be taken after the arrest of Mr. Briggs was complete. (Docket 32 at pp. 1-2). The court has reviewed the transcript of the suppression hearing and agrees with the magistrate judge, as illustrated by the following excerpts from Deputy Battest's testimony:

I directed Deputy Olson to go over to the table and basically secure the evidence that's at hand....

....

My direction was pretty general, go over there. Remember, we have two other people in this house that are not handcuffed are [sic] not in my immediate control. So I directed him over to the table, one, because I didn't want other people in the residence to destroy the evidence, and stuff like that........

[W]hen the firearms were located, I advised Deputy Olson to secure what's there, what we see.....

[H]e brought in some evidence bags, and he put that stuff in evidence bags that's in plain view, so it's not laying out because I have unsecured people in the residence. So it's always my concern that evidence is going to be destroyed, so we put it in a container; the stuff that's in plain view we put it in a container; the firearm was cleared, secured at the table, and at that point I advised him don't do anything else, you know.... (TR p. 23, lines 19-20; p. 25, lines ...


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