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United States v. Clemons

February 17, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
DERRICK STEVEN CLEMONS



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

ELECTRONICALLY FILED

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW RELATING TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS

I. INTRODUCTION

Before this Court is Defendant Derrick Clemons' Motion to Suppress Evidence seized as a result of a strip search on October 13, 2007. (Doc. No. 49). After careful consideration of the motion and memorandum of law in support of said motion, the Government's response and memorandum of law in opposition, and after an evidentiary hearing conducted on December 7, 2009, the Court will DENY the Motion to Suppress Evidence (Doc. No. 49) on all grounds.

II. FINDINGS OF FACT

The grand jury returned a one-count Indictment against Defendant Derrick Steven Clemons charging him with the crime of possessing with the intent to distribute five (5) grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine base, in the form commonly known as crack, a Schedule II controlled substance (in violation of Title 21, U.S.C §841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(B)(iii)).

The Indictment was based on drugs seized from Clemons' person during a strip search that occurred following his October 13, 2007 arrest.

Defendant Clemons was observed by Indiana Borough Police Detective John Scherf as he was walking along Philadelphia Street in Indiana, Pennsylvania on October 13, 2007, at approximately 10:00 p.m.*fn1

Detective Scherf is a 13-year veteran of the Indiana Borough Police Department in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and a federally deputized task force officer with the FBI Safe Streets Task Force. This Court finds that Detective Scherf is a credible witness based on his experience and training.

Prior to observing Clemons on the evening of October 13, 2007, Detective Scherf was advised by Pennsylvania State Trooper Michael Zimmerman that there were three outstanding warrants for sales of narcotics to a confidential informant (CI) by Defendant. (April 6, 2006, CI purchased $300 worth of powder cocaine from Defendant at a residence on Laurel Street in Indiana, Pennsylvania; April 13, 2006, CI purchased $400 worth of crack cocaine from Defendant at Clemons' residence on Martin Road in Indiana, PA; April 18, 2006, CI purchased $600 worth of crack cocaine from Defendant at the Chevy Chase tennis courts in Indiana, PA).

Corporal Michael Zimmerman has been a member of the Pennsylvania State Police since October of 1998.*fn2 Corporal Zimmerman was assigned to the Vice & Narcotics Unit from August 2005 until March 2009 and conducted 126 arrests within the Vice and Narcotics Squad and was involved in many others. Based on his experience and training, this Court finds that Corporal Zimmerman is a credible witness.

After observing Clemons walking westbound in the 500 block of Philadelphia Street at approximately 10:15 pm, Detective Scherf called Corporal Zimmerman via cell phone and advised Zimmerman that he had "a visual" on Clemons.

As Corporal Zimmerman was not in the immediate vicinity, it was mutually agreed that Detective Scherf would attempt to effectuate the arrest of Clemons and then notify Corporal Zimmerman when Clemons had been arrested.

After backup officers arrived to assist Detective Scherf, Clemons was arrested by Detective Scherf and taken ...


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