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United States v. Hattaway

United States District Court, Eighth Circuit

January 10, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
BRANDON HATTAWAY, Defendant.

ORDER ADOPTING IN PART AND MODIFYING IN PART REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION, SUSTAINING IN PART AND OVERRULING IN PART OBJECTIONS, AND GRANTING MOTION TO SUPPRESS

JEFFREY L. VIKEN, Chief District Judge.

Before the court is a motion to suppress evidence filed by defendant Brandon Hattaway on June 11, 2013. (Docket 24). Mr. Hattaway seeks to suppress all evidence seized from his home by law enforcement on March 29, 2013, and all statements made by him to law enforcement during that encounter. Id .; see also Docket 25. The suppression motion was referred to Magistrate Judge Veronica Duffy for a report and recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and the standing order dated June 11, 2007. A suppression hearing was held before the magistrate judge on July 9, 2013. (Docket 37). Magistrate Judge Duffy issued her report and recommendation on July 18, 2013. Id . The government filed its objections to the report and recommendation on July 30, 2013. (Docket 38).

Under the Federal Magistrate Act, 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), if a party files written objections to the magistrate judge's proposed findings and recommendations, the district court is required to "make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." Id . The court may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." Id.

THE GOVERNMENT'S OBJECTIONS

FACTUAL OBJECTIONS

The government's factual objections to the report and recommendation are summarized as follows:

1. After Officer Ehlert told the defendant the officer had seen a shell casing for a handgun and asked Mr. Hattaway where the handgun was, Mrs. Hattaway immediately stated "It's mine."
2. During small talk with Mrs. Hattaway and Officer Ehlert, Mr. Hattaway made the following statement:
You ever have a life event epiphany?... I'm standing here right now, and it's like an out-of-body experience. I'm lookin' at this and thinkin' you know what? Five years ago I woulda told ya "what're you talking about? Got a warrant? There's my driveway, you can go ahead and leave." Well, I'm not that person....
3. When Deputy Haugen stated he was going to inform the state trooper who was standing by of Deputy Haugen's intention to go back inside the home and "do a quick sweep, " both Mr. and Mrs. Hattaway stated "Okay."

(Docket 38 at pp. 5-7) (emphasis in government's objections removed). Otherwise, the government acknowledged that "[m]ost of the facts [stated in the report and recommendation] are not in dispute." Id. at p. 2.

LEGAL CONCLUSIONS

The government's objections to the magistrate judge's legal conclusions are summarized as follows:

1. The magistrate judge relied too heavily on the law enforcement officers' misrepresentations.
2. Mr. Hattaway, because of his status as a felon, knew Deputy Haugen wanted to collect any guns in the home and Mr. Hattaway knew he could require the Deputy Sheriff to obtain a search warrant instead of handing over the guns.
3. If the magistrate judge could not determine whether Deputy Haugen misstated the law concerning firearms in Mr. Hattaway's home, then Deputy Haguen's interpretation of the ...

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