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United States v. Bruce

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division

January 17, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JESSE A. BRUCE, Defendant.

          ORDER

          JEFFREY L. VIKEN CHIEF JUDGE.

         INTRODUCTION

         A grand jury indicted Jesse Bruce for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a) and 841(b)(1)(B) and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(3) and 924(a)(2). (Docket 1). Mr. Bruce filed a motion “to suppress all evidence seized by law enforcement from him and his vehicle and to suppress statements . . . .” (Docket 24).

         The motion to suppress was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and the standing order of March 9, 2015. An evidentiary hearing was held on May 25, 2016. (Docket 45). Magistrate Judge Wollmann issued a report and recommendation (“R&R”) on defendant's motion to suppress. (Docket 67). The magistrate judge recommended defendant's motion to suppress physical evidence be denied, to suppress statements Mr. Bruce made in the field be denied and to suppress statements once he was in custody be denied as moot. Id. at p. 18. The defendant timely filed his objections to the report and recommendation. (Docket 68).

         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. See also Fed. R. Crim. P. 59(b)(3).

         The court completed a de novo review of those portions of the R&R to which objections were filed. For the reasons stated below, the court finds the magistrate judge's report and recommendation is an appropriate application of the law to the facts presented by the parties at the suppression hearing. For the reasons stated below, the defendant's objections are overruled and the report and recommendation of the magistrate judge is adopted in its entirety.

         FACTUAL OBJECTIONS

         Defendant objects to facts found by the magistrate judge is as follows:

1. Mr. Bruce's vehicle did not have a functional driver's side rear brake light and did not have a functional rear license plate light;
2. Mr. Bruce did not show proof of valid insurance for the vehicle;
3. Mr. Bruce had a prior citation for no insurance on a vehicle;
4. Mr. Bruce could not provide proof of a history of insurance on the vehicle;
5. Mr. Bruce was cited for no proof of insurance and issued two warning tickets for the two separate light violations;
6. Officer Sayles had previously cited Mr. Bruce for no proof of insurance on his vehicle;
7. Mr. Bruce was asked to provide a blood or urine sample;
8. Mr. Bruce possessed a slim jim at the time of the traffic stop;
9. The police officers conducted an inventory search of Mr. Bruce's vehicle; and
10. Mr. Bruce did not have a concealed weapon permit.

(Docket 68 at pp. 2-3).

         LEGAL CONCLUSIONS

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

1. There was no probable cause to stop Mr. Bruce's vehicle;
2. The stop was illegally expanded to conduct an inventory search;
3. Mr. Bruce was subject to a custodial interrogation without being advised of his Miranda[1] rights;
4. Mr. Bruce did not waive his Miranda rights; and 5. All evidence seized was seized illegally.

(Docket 68 at pp. 6-12).

         Each of defendant's objections will be separately addressed in categories which make sense chronologically with the ...


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