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United States v. Hogan

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

December 13, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
CHRISTIAN HOGAN, Defendant

          MEMORANDUM

          William W. Caldwell United States District Judge

         I. Introduction

         Currently before the court is Defendant Christian Hogan's (“Defendant”) motion (Doc. 40) to suppress physical evidence seized by police during the searches of two separate residences, as well as statements allegedly made by Defendant during each of the searches.

         II. Background

         A. Events Leading to Defendant's Indictment

         On or about September 22, 2015, Officer Adam Bruckhart of the West Manchester Township Police Department submitted an application for a search warrant with respect to premises described as “327 E. Philadelphia Street, 1st floor apartment, York, PA, ” including “any cartilage [sic] associated with the residence as well as all persons present during the service of the warrant.” (See Doc. 41-1 at 1, 3). The application sought permission to search for and seize “[h]eroin, a schedule I controlled substance, along with any other drugs, paraphernalia, packaging materials, scales, illegal weapons, business records, cash, identification, documents, and other physical items relating to the possession, distribution, and sale of dangerous drugs.” (Id.) Officer Bruckhart's affidavit of probable cause in support of the application provided, in relevant part, as follows:

Within the past 72 hours, I met with a confidential informant (CI) who stated that . . . a drug vending operation is taking place at 327 E. Philadelphia St., 1st floor apartment, York, PA. Specifically, the CI stated that a large build black male, approx. 35 YOA, later identified as [Defendant], is using his residence, 327 E. Philadelphia St., 1st floor apartment, to package bulk heroin for resale. The CI stated that [Defendant] is then selling the bundled heroin from the residence. The CI stated that they had purchased the heroin from [Defendant] for more than three months, including several times within the past month.
Through an independent investigation, I obtained a photo of [Defendant]. I showed this photo to the CI. The CI confirmed the identity of [Defendant] via this photograph. A PA DL check indicates that [Defendant] lists his address as 327 E. Philadelphia St., York, PA. A public records check also indicates that [Defendant] lists his address as 327 E. Philadelphia St., York, PA. I responded to the area of 327 E. Philadelphia St., York, PA and observed the name “Hogan” on the 1st floor apartment mail box. A criminal history check indicates that [Defendant] was charged with felony drug offenses on 06/03/08 and plead guilty.
Within the past 72 [hours], I directed the CI to purchase a sum of heroin from [Defendant]. Prior to the transaction, I searched the CI for any type of contraband with negative results, provided the CI with official funds, and escorted the CI to the area of 327 E. Philadelphia St., York, PA. A short time later, police observed [Defendant] exit 327 E. Philadelphia St., 1st floor apartment, and responded directly to an arranged location. At this location, [p]olice observed [Defendant] briefly meet with the CI and conduct a hand-to-hand transaction with the CI. After the transaction, the CI then responded to a predetermined location where the CI turned over a sum of heroin which they stated had been purchased from [Defendant]. The CI was searched again for any type of contraband with negative results. During the entire incident, police kept the CI under constant surveillance. The heroin was field-tested with a positive result.
Also after the transaction, police kept constant surveillance on [Defendant], who was observed entering 327 E. Philadelphia St., 1st floor apartment, York, PA several minutes after the transaction.

(Id. at 2-3).

         On September 23, 2015, after a Magisterial District Judge granted Officer Bruckhart's application for a search warrant, a group of eight police officers, including Officer Bruckhart, traveled to the aforementioned apartment at 327 East Philadelphia Street to execute the warrant. (Doc. 45 at 13). When the officers arrived, Defendant refused to open the door, and officers gained access to the apartment by breaching the front door. (Id.) As officers entered the apartment, Defendant allegedly attempted to reach for a handgun in the front bedroom, but he was taken into custody before he could obtain the gun. (Id.) After he was taken into custody, Officer Bruckhart conducted an interview with Defendant.[1] (Id.) In that interview, Defendant stated that police would find a handgun, heroin, and cash within the apartment, and he admitted that those items belonged to him. (Id.) Defendant also admitted to selling heroin, and he admitted that he had acquired a “street” gun because someone had robbed him earlier in the week. (Id.) Defendant conceded that he was not permitted to possess the gun because of prior felony convictions. (Id.) Police searched various rooms within the apartment and seized contraband, including a loaded revolver, raw heroin, drug paraphernalia, and $2, 424.00 in cash. (Id. at 13-14).

         Subsequently, on or about February 24, 2016, Officer Clayton Glatfelter of the York City Police Department submitted an application for a search warrant with respect to premises described as “766 W. Market St., 2nd flr., apartment 4 and any curtilage associated with the listed address in the City of York.” (Doc. 41-2 at 3). The application sought permission to search for and seize “[h]eroin, a schedule II controlled substance, along with any other drugs or paraphernalia, packaging materials, scales, business records, official funds, firearms, ammunition, identification and other documentary and physical items relating to the possession, distribution and sale of narcotic and dangerous drugs.” (Id. at 1, 4). In his affidavit of probable cause in support of the application, Officer Glatfelter wrote, in relevant part, as follows:

In February 2016 I received information from two Confidential Sources (CS) that a black, heavyset, male drug dealer currently resides at 766 W. Market St., 2nd flr., apartment 4 in the City of York. Where he is currently conducting a drug vending operation at his residence by storing large quantities of heroin at his residence as well as selling heroin from his residence.
Through the information provided by a Reliable Confidential Source (RCS), the drug dealer was identified through departmental records and state databases as [Defendant]. A picture obtained from state databases was shown to the RCS who positively identified [Defendant] as the individual who is currently residing at 766 W. Market St., 2nd flr., apartment 4 in the City of York where he is conducting a drug vending operation from his residence by storing and selling Heroin at his residence. In February, 2016 [Defendant] had police contact at which time [Defendant] was identified by PO Craven, PO Lentz and PO Martin and he provided them with the address of 766 W. Market St. York, PA as his current residence.
A criminal history obtained for [Defendant] revealed that in Pennsylvania in June, 2008 he plead [sic] guilty to Felony charges of Possession with Intent to Deliver A Controlled Substance. In September, 2015 [Defendant] was arrested for Felony charges of Persons not to Possess a Firearm and Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance for which no disposition is currently reported. In New York [Defendant] was convicted of or plead [sic] guilty to six Felony and Misdemeanor offenses for Drug offenses, Robbery and Attempted Possession of Forged Instrument.
Within the last 72 hours this officer met with the RCS in order to purchase Heroin from [Defendant]. The RCS was searched for contraband with negative results. The RCS was taken to the area of 766 W. Market St. York, PA and was supplied with official recorded funds (photocopied). The RCS was observed entering 766 W. Market St., York, PA and then exiting a few minutes later. The RCS returned directly to Det. Nadzon at which time they turned over an amount of heroin they had purchased from inside 766 W. Market St., Apt. 4, York, PA[.] The RCS was searched again for contraband with negative results. The RCS observed [Defendant] in possession of Heroin packaged for sale. The RCS also told police that [Defendant] had additional amounts of Heroin for sale. The RCS was kept under constant police surveillance during this incident. This officer later field tested the heroin purchased by the RCS, which field tested as such.
Over the past month officers utilized an RCS to purchase Heroin from [Defendant] on two separate occasions. Both times [Defendant] was identified by officers as the person who sold the heroin. On both occasions the Heroin obtained from [Defendant] field tested positive as such by this officer. Charges in these incidents are pending.
RCS is an admitted past drug user/seller and is familiar with how drugs are packaged and sold in York County. RCS should be considered reliable and has provided information in the recent past that has proven to be true and correct. That information lead [sic] to a Felony arrest where cocaine, marijuana and cash were seized.

(Id. at 2-3).

         On February 26, 2016, after a Magisterial District Judge granted Officer Glatfelter's application for a search warrant, nine officers, including Officer Glatfelter, traveled to the aforementioned apartment at 766 West Market Street to execute the warrant. (Doc. 45 at 26). Upon entry into the apartment, the officers encountered Defendant in the living room. (Id.) According to an incident report, Detective Scott Nadzom read Defendant his Miranda rights[2] and informed Defendant that the officers had a warrant to search the apartment. (Id. at 28). Officer Glatfelter reported that he read the warrant to Defendant, and that Defendant stated that he understood his Miranda warnings as read by Detective Nadzom. (Id. at 26). Officer Corey Ames, Detective Nadzom, and Detective Seelig then began to search the apartment, while Officer Glatfelter interviewed Defendant. (Id.) During the interview, Defendant claimed that he did not personally use heroin or cocaine, but he admitted that he had 6-7 grams of heroin located in a shoe box in the apartment's living room. (Id.) Defendant also stated that he had approximately $400.00 on a dresser. (Id.) Defendant indicated that he lived at the apartment, which belonged to his mother, and that his mother and sister also lived in the apartment. (Id.) Defendant asserted that neither his mother nor his sister had any contraband in their rooms, and that anything illegal in the apartment belonged to ...


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