United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
OF DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANT IDENTITY DOCKET NO.
VERONICA L. DUFFY, United States Magistrate Judge
Dustyn James Taylor is before the court on an indictment
charging him with being a felon in possession of firearms in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). See Docket
No. 1. Mr. Taylor now moves the court for an order compelling
the United States (“government”) to immediately
disclose the name of the confidential informant who tipped
off a Sioux Falls police officer, who then relayed the
information to Taylor's state parole officer, that Mr.
Taylor may have contraband at his house. See Docket
evidentiary hearing was held on a suppression motion filed by
Mr. Taylor during which many facts relevant to the current
motion were fleshed out. This court issued a report and
recommendation (R & R) on that motion to suppress.
See Docket No. 58. The following statement of facts
is taken from this court's R & R.
8, 2015, Mr. Taylor was released to parole from a South
Dakota state conviction. During his initial parole meeting
with his parole officer, Heather Buiter, Ms. Buiter explained
the terms and conditions of Mr. Taylor's parole.
See Exhibit A. Mr. Taylor's mother was present
during this initial meeting. During this meeting, Ms. Buiter
explained the conditions of Mr. Taylor's parole. Mr.
Taylor executed a Standard South Dakota Parole Supervision
Agreement (hereinafter “agreement”). See
Exhibit A. The agreement contained several conditions with
which Mr. Taylor agreed to comply in order to remain on
parole. Among those conditions included: that Mr. Taylor
would obey all local, state and federal laws (id.,
SA 1); that Mr. Taylor would not possess, purchase, or use
marijuana, narcotics, controlled substances or drug
paraphernalia (id., SA 2); that Mr. Taylor would not
own, purchase, or possess dangerous weapons (id., SA
4); that Mr. Taylor would avoid companions with criminal
influences (id., SA 7); that Mr. Taylor would comply
with all instructions of his parole agent in matters
affecting his supervision and cooperate fully and truthfully
in answering his parole agent's inquiries (id.,
SA 10); that Mr. Taylor would not purchase or consume alcohol
and would not enter establishments whose primary business was
the sale of intoxicating beverages (id., SA 13A
& B); and that Mr. Taylor would refrain from assaultive,
abusive, or violent behavior and threats of violence
(id., SA 14). Finally, the agreement allowed Mr.
Taylor's parole agent to visit his home at any time
(id., SA 9) and provided that Mr. Taylor would
submit his person, property, and place of residence to search
and seizure at any time, with or without a search warrant,
whenever a parole agent or law enforcement officer determined
there was “reasonable suspicion.” (id.,
this initial meeting with Ms. Buiter, Mr. Taylor expressed
that while in the past he had been an
“aggressive” person, he had outgrown such
behavior. Mr. Taylor was paroled to live with his parents
(his mother and stepfather) at a home on Menlo Avenue in
Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Based on his level of need, Ms.
Buiter met with Mr. Taylor once per month during his
28, 2015, a Brandon, South Dakota, police officer notified
Ms. Buiter that Mr. Taylor had been in a bar fight. As a
result of the bar fight, Mr. Taylor received a broken nose.
Though no criminal charges were filed against him, Mr.
Taylor's mere presence in a bar was a violation of the
terms of his supervision agreement. See Exhibit A,
SA 13B. As punishment for this incident, Ms. Buiter placed
Mr. Taylor in the Community Transition Program (CTP). The CTP
is a structured program in which parolees are free to attend
work during the day but must check into a residential
correctional facility at night. See
(last checked December 29, 2016). Mr. Taylor was in the CTP
program for approximately one month.
31, 2015, Ms. Buiter informed Mr. Taylor he would be allowed
to move back into the home on Menlo Avenue on the condition
that his parents did not reside there. Ms. Buiter did not
want Mr. Taylor to reside with his parents because his
parents had been present in the bar in Brandon with Mr.
Taylor when he had gotten into the fight. See
Exhibit A, SA 10, 13B. Mr. Taylor agreed to this condition,
and informed Ms. Buiter his parents would move out of the
Menlo Avenue home which he planned to rent. Mr. Taylor
represented to Ms. Buiter his parents would move out before
his release from CTP and only his girlfriend, Talissa Toft,
would be living there with him. Ms. Buiter approved this
living arrangement and allowed Mr. Taylor to move back to the
Menlo Avenue address. This condition was verbally agreed to
by Mr. Taylor and is noted in Ms. Buiter's case notes
regarding Mr. Taylor's supervision.
January 30, 2016, Ms. Buiter received an email from Sioux
Falls Police Department (SFPD) Detective Skidmore. The email
relayed that Detective Skidmore had received information from
a confidential informant regarding Mr. Taylor. The
confidential informant told Detective Skidmore the following
information about Mr. Taylor: (1) Mr. Taylor had multiple
guns in the Menlo Avenue home; (2) the type of vehicle Mr.
Taylor drove and that Mr. Taylor “possibly” had a
gun in his vehicle; (3) Mr. Taylor was selling drugs out of
his Menlo Avenue home; and (4) the person who had reported
this information to Detective Skidmore did not want to make a
police report because he/she had been in a dispute with Mr.
Taylor and was afraid of retaliation.
receipt of this email from Detective Skidmore, Ms. Buiter
contacted the Sioux Falls Police Department narcotics unit.
The narcotics unit informed Ms. Buiter it had received a
Crime Stoppers tip regarding the Menlo Avenue home and that
it had an open investigation regarding Mr. Taylor. Ms. Buiter
did not receive any further information about the content of
the Crime Stoppers tip and did not rely on the Crime Stoppers
information in deciding to search Mr. Taylor's residence.
Ms. Buiter testified the Crime Stoppers tip did not
contribute to her reasonable suspicion to search because she
did not know its contents. After she received the email from
Detective Skidmore, Ms. Buiter decided to conduct a parole
search of Mr. Taylor's home.
Buiter made the decision to search based upon a culmination
of circumstances. Mr. Taylor previously articulated a
propensity for violence, but claimed he had outgrown it.
Based on the occurrence of the bar fight, she believed he had
been insincere about his statement that he had outgrown his
propensity for violence. Detective Skidmore's comment
regarding the informant's fear of retaliation added to
her conviction that Mr. Taylor had lied to her about leaving
his propensity for aggression behind. In her view, that Mr.
Taylor had lied to her about this issue was a violation of
the parole agreement (SA 10, 14). Finally, the information
she received from Detective Skidmore's email led her to
believe Mr. Taylor had violated the terms of his parole
agreement regarding possessing weapons and drugs (SA 2 and SA
information regarding Mr. Taylor possessing guns led Ms.
Buiter to be increasingly concerned about Mr. Taylor's
violent tendencies. Ms. Buiter knew nothing about the
informant referenced in Detective Skidmore's email, and
she could not personally testify about his/her reliability.
Ms. Buiter stated she trusted Detective Skidmore's tip.
she received Detective Skidmore's email on January 30,
2016, Ms. Buiter did not conduct the parole search
immediately because she needed some time to prepare to make
sure the search could be conducted safely. On February 5,
2016, Mr. Taylor arrived at Ms. Buiter's office for his
regular (though re-scheduled) parole meeting. Ms. Buiter
detained Mr. Taylor for investigative and safety purposes.
Ms. Buiter contacted the Sioux Falls Police Department for
assistance in conducting the parole search. Mr. Taylor was