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United States v. Jackson

September 20, 2007


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Christopher C. Conner United States District Judge


Presently before the court is defendant's motion to suppress (Doc. 29) all evidence seized pursuant to a warrant executed on March 5, 2007, in connection with a police investigation of defendant's brother, Randell Jackson. The court held an evidentiary hearing on defendant's motion on August 27, 2007 and a supplemental hearing on September 7, 2007. (See Docs. 44, 46.) The motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for disposition. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be denied.

I. Findings of Fact*fn1

On May 2, 2007, defendant, Shawn Jackson, was indicted by a grand jury.

The indictment charges defendant with possession of cocaine base with the intent to distribute, conspiracy to distribute cocaine base, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of a firearm during and in connection with a drug trafficking offense. (Doc. 1.) On May 22, 2007, defendant entered a plea of not guilty to each count in the indictment. (Doc. 16.)

The allegations in the indictment are based, in large part, upon evidence seized pursuant to a search warrant from the home of defendant's mother, who resides at 2890 Forrest Lane in York, Pennsylvania. (Doc. 44 at 3.) Defendant and his brothers Darnell and Randell Jackson also reside at this residence. The impetus for the search arose when police found evidence allegedly linking Randell Jackson to drug activities after conducting a search of an apartment located at 85 Bridlewood Way in York, Pennsylvania. Because the evidence uncovered during the Bridlewood Way search affects the probable cause calculus in the instant case, the court turns first to the details of the Bridlewood Way search.

A. The Bridlewood Way Search

On March 5, 2007, Detective Raymond Craul ("Detective Craul") of the Springettsbury Township Police Department met with employees of the apartment complex located at 85 Bridlewood Way. The property manager informed Detective Craul that a maintenance worker had discovered evidence of drug activity while investigating a water leak in Apartment C-42. The maintenance worker provided Detective Craul with a small portion of an off-white chunky substance that he had discovered on the apartment counter. Detective Craul conducted a field test of the substance, which tested positive for cocaine. (Doc. 29-2 at 9.) Based upon this evidence, Detective Craul applied for and was issued a search warrant for Apartment C-42 by Magisterial District Judge Harold Kessler ("Judge Kessler"). (Id. at 8.)

At approximately 3:17 p.m., Detective Craul and a number of other officers, including Corporal Craig Fenstermacher ("Corporal Fenstermacher") of the Pennsylvania State Police, executed the search warrant. (Doc. 37 at 1.) The search revealed 1.5 kilograms of cocaine and assorted drug trafficking paraphernalia. (Id.; see also Doc. 29-2 at 10-11.) The officers also located receipts in the name of Zunny Santiago ("Santiago"), who was later determined to be the lessee of the apartment. (Id. at 2.) The officers noted that the apartment was sparsely furnished and contained no food or clothing items. The officers deemed this consistent with a "stash house," meaning that "the primary reason for [the apartment's] use [was] to store the cocaine at a location away from the possessors' actual residence, thus attempting to insulate them from the cocaine." (Id.) At approximately 7:15 p.m., the officers observed an individual approaching Apartment C-42. When the individual used a key to enter the apartment, he was taken into custody and identified as Randell Jackson ("Randell"). (Id.; see also Doc. 37 at 2.)

B. The Investigation into Randell's Residence

Suspecting that the Bridlewood Way apartment was a "stash house," the officers attempted to ascertain where Randell resided because they believed that additional evidence might be located there. Randell stated that he resided at 823 West King Street in York, Pennsylvania and produced a Pennsylvania identification card bearing the same address. (Doc. 29-2 at 2.) However, the officers visited that address and found it to be vacant. (Id. at 3.) The officers then asked Randell where he keeps his clothing, and he responded that he keeps his things "all over." (Id. at 2.) Next, the officers determined that the vehicle that Randell had driven to Bridlewood Way was registered to Randell's mother, Brenda Pinkney ("Pinkney"), whose address was determined to be 2890 Forrest Lane in York, Pennsylvania. (Id.) Through further investigation, the officers determined that Randell had provided the Forrest Lane address as his home address to: (1) the York City Police Department on four prior occasions, most recently in January of 2007, and (2) the York County Court of Common Pleas in December of 2006. (Id.; Doc. 44 at 6.) The officers also learned from Santiago that she and Randell had "picked up a personal affect [sic] associated with a business they operate" from the Forrest Lane address several days prior. (Doc. 29-2 at 3.) Based upon this evidence, Corporal Fenstermacher applied for and was issued a search warrant for 2890 Forrest Lane by Magisterial District Judge John R. Olwert.*fn2 (Id. at 1.)

The warrant described the premises to be searched as "2890 Forrest Lane, Springettsbury Township, York County, PA" and stated that the residence was "a single family home, split level style, tan brick with white siding and a two car garage." (Id.) The warrant listed Randell Jackson as the owner, occupant or possessor of the premises to be searched. (Id.) The warrant also described the items to be searched for and seized as: (1) "any documentation pertaining to 85 Bridlewood Way, Apartment #C-42, York, PA, including but not limited to, lease agreements, mail, receipts, [and] door keys to this residence," (2) "cocaine, cash, records of drug distribution and paraphernalia associated with drug distribution," and (3) "any banking records in the name of Zunny Santiago or Randell Jackson." (Id.)

C. The Forrest Lane Search

The officers executed the warrant at the Forrest Lane residence at approximately 9:50 p.m. (Doc. 29 ΒΆ 4.) Officer Christopher Keppel ("Officer Keppel") of the Pennsylvania State Police testified that the officers knocked at the front door of the residence, where they were met by Darnell Jackson ("Darnell"). (Doc. 47 at 18.) The officers identified themselves to Darnell and advised that they had a search warrant before entering the residence. (Id. at 19.) The officers proceeded to search the entire residence, looking both for anyone who may pose a threat to their ...

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