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United States v. Albertson

March 14, 2007

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DANE EARL ALBERTSON, SR. A/K/A EARL ALBERTSON, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Jones

ORDER

THE BACKGROUND OF THIS ORDER IS AS FOLLOWS

Pending before this Court is a Motion to Suppress ("the Motion"), filed by Defendant Dane Earl Albertson, Sr. ("Defendant" or "Albertson"), on January 9, 2007. (Rec. Doc. 28). For the reasons that follow, the Motion will be denied.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On October 12, 2006, the Grand Jury for the Middle District of Pennsylvania returned a two-count Indictment against Albertson. (Rec. Doc. 1). In Count One, he was charged with Possession of Firearms and Ammunition by a Convicted Felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), and in Count Two, he was charged with Receiving or Possessing a Firearm which is Not Registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, in violation of 26 U.S.C. §§ 5861(d), 5841, 5845(e), and 5871. (Rec. Doc. 1). We note that Defendant was ordered detained on or about November 21, 2006 (doc. 22), and Defendant has pleaded not guilty to the charges (doc. 16).

On January 9, 2007, Defendant filed the instant Motion (doc. 28), which has been briefed by the parties. On February 2, 2007, this Court issued an Order canceling the scheduled hearing on the Motion after concluding that there were no genuine factual disputes warranting a hearing. (Rec. Doc. 34). Accordingly, the matter is ripe for our review.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

For our purposes here, we accept the following facts from Defendant's Motion, and the Exhibits attached thereto, as true. (See Rec. Doc. 28).

On July 14, 2003, in the Court of Common Pleas of Columbia County, Albertson was sentenced to 11 1/2 to 23 months of imprisonment in the Columbia County Prison on a charge of carrying a firearm without a license. (Rec. Doc. 28, ¶ 9). Also on July 14, 2003, in the aforesaid court, Albertson was sentenced to 24 months of probation, to run consecutive to the sentence imposed on the firearms charge, on a charge of reckless endangerment. (Rec. Doc. 28, ¶ 10). Both of these sentences were imposed under docket number 726 of 2001 ("No. 726") in the Court of Common Pleas of Columbia County.

On December 22, 2003, Albertson was paroled on No. 726. (Rec. Doc. 28, ¶ 11). However, on April 29, 2004, Albertson's parole was revoked and he was resentenced to incarceration until his maximum date of December 7, 2004. (Rec. Doc. 28, ¶ 12).

On December 7, 2004, Albertson was released from the Columbia County Prison. (Rec. Doc. 28, ¶ 13). Albertson alleges that at the time of his release, he was told by prison staff that his sentence had been completed. (Rec. Doc. 28, ¶ 14). Thus, Albertson did not report to the Columbia County Adult Probation Office ("Probation Office") upon his release, and no contact between Albertson and the Probation Office occurred for approximately nine (9) months, from December 7, 2004 until September 18, 2005. (Rec. Doc. 28, ¶¶ 15-16).

A couple of days prior to September 18, 2005, the Chief of the Columbia County Adult Probation and Parole Office, Donald Coleman ("Chief Probation Officer Coleman"), conversed with Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole Agent Ron Hess ("Agent Hess"), who conveyed some suspicions about Albertson. (Rec. Doc. 28, ¶¶ 16, 18). Agent Hess conveyed to Chief Probation Officer Coleman the following: The Pennsylvania State Police ("PSP") suspected that Albertson had ties to Damien Cox ("Cox") and that Cox was frequenting Albertson's house. (Rec. Doc. 28, ¶ 24). Cox was being supervised by the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (doc. 28, ¶ 20), and warrants had been issued for Cox's arrest because he was suspected of committing multiple burglaries (doc. 28, ¶ 23).

On September 16, 2005, the Probation Office sought and received a bench warrant for Albertson. (Rec. Doc. 28, ¶ 19). On September 18, 2005, probation officers from Columbia County, parole agents from the state parole board, and state troopers arrived at Albertson's residence. (Rec. Doc. 28, ¶ 27). Albertson was taken into custody as a result of the bench warrant, and Chief Probation Officer Coleman directed that Albertson's house be searched. (Rec. Doc. 28, ¶¶ 28-29).

Chief Probation Officer Coleman directed the search because he believed that he had reasonable suspicion that Albertson was in violation of several conditions of probation. (Rec. Doc. 28, ΒΆ 33). Specifically, Chief Probation Officer Coleman testified that he knew that Albertson "was failing to make any contact with his officer, intensive supervision officer," and that he suspected that Albertson was "in contact with another person on probation or parole" ...


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