United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Christopher C. Conner, Chief United States District Judge.
Brandon Orr (“Orr”) moves the court to suppress
evidence and statements resulting from his arrest on
September 28, 2017. (Doc. 84). The court will deny Orr's
Findings of Fact
Russell Schauer (“Detective Schauer”) is employed
by the Springettsbury Township Police Department in York
County, Pennsylvania, and has served on the York County Drug
Task Force since 2008. (Tr. 4:8-5:3). On December 5, 2017, a
confidential informant advised Detective Schauer that the
informant could purchase ten grams of heroin from
(Id. at 5:11-16; Gov't Ex. 4 at 5). The
confidential informant placed an initial, mid-morning phone
call to Orr, who indicated he would not be available until
around 2:30 p.m. (Tr. 5:20-24, 19:9-19; Gov't Ex. 4 at
5). Using the confidential informant's cell phone,
Detective Schauer texted Orr shortly before 2:30 p.m. and set
up a meeting at a local ice cream shop. (Tr. 5:25-6:18;
Gov't Ex. 4 at 5). Orr agreed to sell ten grams of heroin
to Detective Schauer for $700. (Tr. 6:14-20; Gov't Ex. 4
Schauer assembled an arrest team of five other officers who
took up surveillance positions around the ice cream shop
parking lot. (Tr. 6:21-7:5, 21:14-22:4; Gov't Ex. 1 at
1). Orr arrived in the parking lot driving a black Ford
Fusion around 2:25 p.m. (Tr. 7:6-9, 52:2-11; Gov't Ex. 4
at 5). Officer Michelle Hoover (“Officer Hoover”)
walked past the driver's side door in plain clothes,
positively identified Orr as the driver, and signaled the
arrest team to move in. (Tr. 7:9-14; Gov't Ex. 4 at 5).
Detective Schauer pulled in front of the Ford Fusion, and
Officer Adam Bruckhart (“Officer Bruckhart”)
maneuvered his vehicle to block Orr in from behind. (Tr.
52:21-22, 53:8-15, 54:12-14, 80:1-2; see Gov't
Ex. 4 at 5). Officer Bruckhart arrested Orr at approximately
2:30 p.m. (Tr. 7:15-16, 31:16-24, 53:5-6; Gov't Ex. 1 at
1; Gov't Ex. 4 at 5). The officers found a cell phone on
Orr's person and a bag of heroin on the floor of the Ford
Fusion near the driver's seat. (Tr. 7:17-20, 8:1-5;
Gov't Ex. 4 at 5). Detective Schauer later confirmed that
the recovered cell phone was the same phone that he and the
confidential informant had called and text messaged earlier
in the day. (Tr. 7:21-25; Gov't Ex. 4 at 5).
Schauer placed Orr in the front passenger seat of his police
vehicle and provided him with verbal Miranda
warnings. (Tr. 8:9-9:5, 20:18-21:7, 22:11-14, 31:25-32:3;
Gov't Ex. 4 at 5). Detective Schauer made no promises to
Orr in exchange for waiving his Miranda rights or
consent to search his home. (Tr. 37:18-23). Orr agreed to
answer Detective Schauer's questions but initially denied
having anything illegal at his home. (Id. at
9:6-21). Detective Schauer explained that officers had
followed Orr from his house and that they would be obtaining
a search warrant for the residence. (Id. at 9:21-23,
58:11-23; Gov't Ex. 4 at 5). Orr then admitted that there
was a bookbag just inside the front door of the home
containing drugs. (Tr. 9:23-24, 10:7-13; Gov't Ex. 4 at
5). Orr explained that he received the drugs from Luis Minier
(“Minier”). (Tr. 9:24-10:6; Gov't Ex. 4 at
5). Orr asked Detective Schauer not to charge his girlfriend,
Shanique Johnson (“Johnson”), who was at the home
and had met with Minier earlier that day to obtain the
bookbag.(See Tr. 9:24-10:6, 11:12-14;
Gov't Ex. 4 at 5).
Schauer drove Orr to the Drug Task Force office where Orr was
asked to sign a consent-to-search form for his residence.
(Tr. 10:14-25, 61:20-62:4). Orr had the opportunity to read
the consent-to-search form, and Detective Schauer testified
that he read Orr the following paragraph before Orr signed
I, Brandon Orr have been requested by Detective Schauer of
the York County Drug Task Force to give my consent for police
to search Place(s), item(s), or vehicle(s) described above
for the items described above. I have been told that I do not
have to give my consent. I understand that I have the right
to refuse this request, and that the police may not be able
to conduct this search without a search warrant unless I give
my consent. Nonetheless, I voluntarily give my consent to the
police to conduct this search.
(Tr. 33:24-34:21; Gov't Ex. 2). The consent-to-search
form further stated that no one had threatened or promised
anything to Orr in exchange for his consent. (Gov't Ex.
2). Orr claimed that he never read the form and that
Detective Schauer never read the above-quoted paragraph out
loud to him. (Tr. 78:8-16). As set forth below, the court
finds the law enforcement officers (Detective Schauer and
Trooper Wolfe) who testified at the suppression hearing to be
credible; conversely, the court does not find Orr's
statements or claims to be credible.
Hoover and Detective Schauer witnessed Orr sign the
consent-to-search form at approximately 3:10 p.m. (Gov't
Ex. 2; Tr. 32:20-33:5, ). Detective Schauer did not recall if
the form was signed at the Drug Task Force office or in front
of Orr's residence moments before the search. (Tr.
16:22-17:6). After Orr read and signed the consent form,
Detective Schauer and Officer Hoover drove Orr to his
residence. (Id. at 11:1-5, 33:21-23,
34:19-21, 62:21-24; Gov't Ex. 2; Gov't Ex. 4 at 5).
Detective Schauer testified that the purpose of bringing Orr
along was twofold: (1) Orr agreed to let officers into the
residence, and (2) Orr would encourage Johnson to avoid any
conduct that might alert Minier that Orr was cooperating with
law enforcement. (Tr. 11:6-24). Immediately upon entering the
residence, Orr identified a bookbag on the floor.
(Id. at 11:25-12:2; Gov't Ex. 4 at 5). Detective
Schauer opened the bookbag and discovered approximately one
kilogram of cocaine and a gallon-sized bag of heroin. (Tr.
12:2-5; Gov't Ex. 4 at 5). Orr then asked Johnson to
refrain from publicizing that he had been arrested or that
the police had been at their home. (Tr. 12:6-20; Gov't
Ex. 4 at 5). Detective Schauer and Orr returned to the Drug
Task Force office, and Johnson was permitted to remain in the
home. (Tr. 12:22-25; Gov't Ex. 4 at 5).
enforcement decided to obtain a search warrant for
Minier's residence based on the information provided by
Orr including Orr's recent observation of $20, 000 in
drug proceeds when visiting Minier's residence. (Tr.
13:7-11, 15:6-9; see Gov't Ex. 1 at 2-3;
Gov't Ex. 3 at 2). Around 4 p.m., Detective Schauer
contacted Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Shawn Wolfe
(“Trooper Wolfe”) regarding the investigation of
Minier. (Tr. 40:17-24, 46:15-20). Trooper Wolfe has been a
Pennsylvania State trooper since 2003 and was a member of the
York County Drug Task Force from 2007 to 2018. (Id.
at 41:2-13). He is also detailed to the Federal Bureau of
Investigation's Safe Streets Task Force in Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania. (Id. at 40:25-41:1).
Wolf drove Orr to identify Minier's residence for the
search warrant that Detective Schauer was preparing.
(Id. at 13:12-17, 42:16-43:7, 43:13-16). When Orr
entered Trooper Wolfe's vehicle around 5 p.m., Trooper
Wolfe identified himself as law enforcement and provided Orr
with verbal Miranda warnings before asking any
questions “to make sure that there was no confusion as
to why [he] was there as part of [the] investigation.”
(Id. at 43:17-44:6, 48:8-16, 48:25-49:6, 49:16-22,
50:15-21). Orr testified that Trooper Wolfe never read him
his Miranda rights. (Id. at 65:6-8,
65:18-20). As Trooper Wolfe drove down Orr's street, Orr
identified Minier's home by pointing out Minier's
Chevy Impala and an inflatable Santa Claus on Minier's
lawn. (Id. at 44:18-45:15, 65:9-17). After dropping
Orr off at the Drug Task Force office, Trooper Wolfe returned
to Minier's residence to conduct surveillance until ...