Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Morrison

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

March 21, 2018

UNITED STATES
v.
LEONARD MORRISON

         SECTION: "S" (1)

          ORDER AND REASONS

          MARY ANN VIAL LEMMON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence and Statements (Doc. #204) is DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         This matter is before the court on a motion to suppress filed by defendant, Leonard Morrison. Morrison argues that the evidence collected from his home and the statements that he made to law enforcement officers on February 25, 2016, should be suppressed because they were the fruits of an unlawful search and seizure that began as a "knock and talk." On October 27, 2017, Morrison was charged by the Grand Jury in a Second Superseding Indictment with various conspiracy, controlled substance and firearms offenses. Count 1 charges that Morrison conspired with his co-defendants to distribute and posses with the intent to distribute cocaine hydrochloride, heroin and marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. The description of the overt act attributed to Morrison states:

On or about February 25, 2016, LEONARD MORRISON, a/k/a "Leonard London, " did possess cocaine; heroin; marijuana; a Ruger Model Security-Six, .375 Magnum caliber revolver; and approximately $2, 945.00 in United States currency.

         Counts 2 and 7 charge Morrison with using a communications facility, namely a telephone, on May 1, 2015, and June 19, 2015, respectively, in committing, causing and facilitating the commission of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute heroin, cocaine hydrochloride and marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 843(b) and 18 U.S.C. § 2. Count 27 charges Morrison with possession with the intent to distribute cocaine hydrochloride on or about February 25, 2016, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(C), and 18 U.S.C. § 2. Count 28 charges Morrison with possession with the intent to distribute marijuana on or about February 25, 2016, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(D), and 18 U.S.C. § 2. Count 29 charges that, on or about February 25, 2016, Morrison possessed a firearm in furtherance of drug-trafficking crimes in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1)(A), 924(c)(1)(A)(I), and 2. Count 30 charges that, on or about February 25, 2016, Morrison was a previously convicted felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1), 924(e)(1), and 2.

         Counts 1, and 27 through 30 are premised on evidence obtained from Morrison's home and statements he made to law enforcement officers on February 25, 2016. Morrison argues such evidence should be suppressed because the search and seizure performed on that date was improper. On February 22, 2018, this court held an evidentiary hearing on Morrison's motion to suppress.

         At the hearing on Morrison's motion to suppress, Trooper First Class Rohn Bordelon, a narcotics agent with the Louisiana State Police High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area division ("LSP HIDTA"), and Detective David Biondolillo, who is employed by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office and assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area ("DEA HIDTA), both testified to the same facts regarding the "knock and talk." At 6:15 a.m., on February 25, 2016, agents from the LSP HIDTA and the DEA HIDTA, along with St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office deputies (collectively "officers") approached Morrison's home located at 732 Turtle Creek Lane, St. Rose, Louisiana to conduct a "knock and talk" because Morrison's name had come up during a narcotics investigation. Law enforcement officers obtained search warrants for three other residences associated with the investigation, while Morrison's residence was designated for a "knock and talk." The search warrants on the other residences were executed on February 25, 2016. Neither Bordelon nor Biondolillo knew why Morrison's residence was designated for a "knock and talk" instead of obtaining a search warrant.

         Bordelon and Biondolillo approached the front door of Morrison's residence to conduct the "knock and talk" while 6 other officers were standing in the driveway and front yard. Biondolillo knocked on the door and announced that he and Bordelon were law enforcement officers. Neither Bordelon nor Biondolillo tried to break down the door. All of the officers at the scene carried firearms, but at no point did any officer draw his or her weapon. After about a minute, Shlonda Jupiter, Morrison's live-in-girlfriend and the mother of his children, answered the door. Jupiter opened the door a little less than half way to speak to the officers. Bordelon spoke with Jupiter while Biondolillo kept watch to ensure the officers' safety.

         Bordelon testified that he identified himself to Jupiter by name and rank as a member of the LSP. Bordelon asked Jupiter if Morrison was home. Biondolillo testified that Jupiter responded that Morrison was sleeping. Bordelon testified that he saw Morrison walking behind Jupiter in the residence and Bordelon called out to Morrison. Bordelon asked Morrison if he could come in to talk to Morrison, who responded affirmatively. Bordelon testified that Jupiter stepped back and opened the door wider. Biondolillo testified that Jupiter opened the door and moved out of the way in a manner that he perceived as a gesture allowing the officers to enter the residence. Biondolillo testified that he saw Morrison coming out of the back bedroom after Jupiter opened the door. Jupiter never verbally objected to the officers' entering the house. Bordelon testified that Morrison appeared as if he had been sleeping.

         Both Bordelon and Biondolillo testified that they smelled burned marijuana when Jupiter opened the door. Although in his incident report, Biondolillo wrote that he smelled marijuana when he entered the house, he clarified at the hearing that he smelled the marijuana when the door opened before stepping inside the residence.

         Both Bordelon and Biondolillo testified that, as Bordelon approached Morrison, Bordelon told Morrison that he smelled the strong odor of burned marijuana. Morrison stated that he had smoked marijuana the previous night. As Morrison began to lead the officers to the master bedroom, Bordelon verbally advised Morrison of his Miranda rights while the men were all standing in the hallway. Morrison pointed out a partially burned cigar in the master bedroom. Bordelon testified that he told Morrison that he knew the house belonged to Gregory London and that Morrison's name came up during a narcotics investigation. Bordelon noticed a child sleeping in the bed and had Morrison bring the toddler to the living room to be with his mother.

         Bordelon testified that he asked Morrison to consent to a search of the residence. Morrison agreed. Bordelon read aloud, with Morrison reading silently along, the LSP and the DEA consent to search forms. Morrison did not appear to have any problem understanding the forms. Morrison initialed every paragraph of the forms, including statements that he understood his rights, that he was willing to answer questions and allow the search, and that nobody made threats or promises to induce him to answer any questions or relinquish any rights. The LSP form was signed by Morrison, Bordelon and Biondolillo. The DEA form was signed by Morrison and Biondolillo. Both Bordelon and Biondolillo testified that nobody threatened to arrest Jupiter or take away the children ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.