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United States v. Flynn

September 29, 2006

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
MICHAEL R. FLYNN, JR.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Arthur J. Schwab United States District Judge

ELECTRONICALLY FILED

Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law September 27, 2006

Introduction

Before the Court is defendant Michael R. Flynn, Jr.'s Motion to Suppress Physical Evidence and Statements and to Dismiss the Indictment. (Document No. 33). The motion to suppress essentially comes down to a "four corners" analysis of the affidavit supporting the challenged search warrant application. There is little or no dispute of fact. After careful consideration of the motion and memorandum of law in support, the government's response and memorandum of law in opposition, and after an evidentiary hearing conducted on September 8, 2006, the Court will deny the motion on all grounds.

Findings of Fact

1. Defendant is charged in the indictment herein with one count of being a convicted felon in possession of six firearms and ammunition, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(1).

2. On January 19, 2006, a federal search warrant was executed by FBI Special Agent Patrick Howley and other FBI Special Agents at defendant's residence in Washington, Pennsylvania, which warrant authorized the search for and seizure of four handguns, a semi- automatic assault rifle and a shotgun, and defendant's United States Passport.

3. When handed the receipt for the seized items, defendant stated, according to Special Agent Howley's report, "that the Savage 12 gauge shotgun was an old hunting weapon that he owned since he was a teenager," and that one of the handguns (a .22 caliber H&R Model 622) was owned by Ms. Anne Belcastro, who was present at the time. When Ms. Belcastro heard this, Ms. Belcastro said "It is?" FBI Form FD-302 dated January 9, 2006, Motion to Suppress, Exhibit D.

4. On January 18, 2006, Mr. Flynn's residence and his business, the Union Grill, in Washington Pennsylvania were searched by Pennsylvania State Police Officers, agents with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, and FBI agents pursuant to a search warrant issued by a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County (the "state warrant").

5. The state warrant arose from an almost one year gambling investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police Department and the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office of John "Duffy" Conley, whose residence and offices also were searched on January 18, 2006. The applications for the Flynn and Conley state warrants were supported by the 69 page affidavit of Pennsylvania State Trooper Anthony Cornetta and Attorney General's Office Special Agent Paul Marraway, both of whom had extensive law enforcement experience, including investigation of organized crime, illegal gambling, money laundering and other investigations. Motion to Suppress, Exhibit A, Application for Search Warrant and Authorization, with Affidavit in Support of Application for Search.

5. The state warrants indicated that Mr. Conley and numerous other persons, including defendant, were under investigation and surveillance for violations of the Pennsylvania organized crime, illegal gambling, money laundering and conspiracy statutes, 18 Pa.C.S. §§ 903, 911, 5511 and 5514. Id.

6. The Items to Be Searched for and Seized were listed as, inter alia, records, numbers, betting slips, electronic equipment such as computers and pagers, currency, coins and financial instruments, including stocks and bonds, address books, indicia of residency and ownership, books, papers and records of any business enterprise, and "7. Financial records including but not limited to bank statements, wire transfers, tax returns, checks, statements of investments, and records of substantial purchases." Motion to Suppress, Exhibit A, Application for Search Warrant at 1-3.

6. The items seized from defendant's residence pursuant to the state warrant included over $300,000 in currency and coins found in various amounts in numerous locations throughout the residence, jewelry, computer equipment, and personal financial documents and records. Motion to Suppress, Exhibit B,

7. The officers and agents executing the January 18th state warrant observed, in plain view, the firearms and ammunition that became the objects of the January 19th federal warrant and seizure. It was these plain view ...


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