United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
A. DOUGHTY JUDGE
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. Hayes United States Magistrate Judge
the undersigned Magistrate Judge, on reference from the
District Court, is a motion to suppress filed by Defendant
Daryon D. Kelley. [doc. # 27]. For reasons explained below,
it is recommended that the motion be DENIED.
October 2, 2017, Sergeant Matthew Downhour ("Sgt.
Downhour") of the West Monroe Police Department observed
a 2014 Chevy Impala drive through an intersection at
approximately 10 to 15 miles per hour, without stopping at
the stop sign. He conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle and
made contact with the driver, Defendant Daryon D. Kelley.
Defendant informed Sgt. Downhour that he had no
identification on his person, but stated his name was Victor
G. Kelley, his date of birth was July 1, 1992, and he was
driving a rental vehicle, which he had permission to drive.
provided Sgt. Downhour with the rental agreement, which
listed Charles Langford as the renter of the vehicle.
(See Ex. 1, [doc. # 35-1]). Victor Kelley was not
listed as an authorized driver. Sgt. Downhour tried to
contact Langford, but he did not answer his
phone. Sgt. Downhour also contacted the manager
at the rental car agency who confirmed Victor Kelley was not
an authorized driver of the vehicle.
Downhour used his mobile data terminal to look up a picture
of Victor Kelley and determined that the man driving the
vehicle did not match the picture. He then called for backup,
and Sergeant Robert Ellis ("Sgt. Ellis") arrived at
the scene to assist Sgt. Downhour. Sgt. Downhour arrested
Defendant for failing to identify himself and for not having
a driver's license in his possession. When the officers
opened the door to the Impala and Defendant stepped out, Sgt.
Downhour smelled burnt marijuana on Defendant and coming from
the vehicle. Sgt. Downhour read Defendant his
Miranda rights and placed him in his patrol car. He
then searched the vehicle and found a fully loaded Ruger LC9
9mm pistol, $10, 400.00 in cash, and a cigar package
containing one partially smoked marijuana cigar in the center
armrest compartment. Defendant denied knowledge of the items
found in the center console. When asked about his name,
Defendant continued to insist he was Victor Kelley.
Downhour transported Defendant to the West Monroe
Correctional Center, and once there, Defendant provided his
correct personal information. It was discovered that
Defendant is a convicted felon and that there was a warrant
for his arrest. While Defendant was being booked, Sgt.
Downhour continued asking him questions. Defendant denied
knowledge of the firearm in the vehicle but told Sgt.
Downhour that all he had was a little blunt and that it is
not illegal to have a gun and money.
27, 2018, a federal grand jury indicted Defendant on one
count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). [doc. # 1].
October 16, 2018, Defendant filed the instant motion to
suppress evidence seized and statements obtained from him by
the Government. Defendant claims Sgt. Downhour had no
probable cause or reasonable suspicion to believe a traffic
offense had been committed in order to stop and search the
car Defendant was driving. Defendant also claims the
statements he made following his arrest should be suppressed
because they were not voluntary or elicited pursuant to a
valid Miranda waiver, [doc. # 27].
October 30, 2018, the Government filed its response claiming
Sgt. Downhour had probable cause to conduct the traffic stop,
arrest Defendant, and search the vehicle, and that
Defendant's post-arrest statements were obtained pursuant
to a voluntary Miranda waiver, [doc. #30].
suppression hearing took place on November 14, 2018, with
testimony from Sgt. Downhour, Sgt. Ellis, and Charles
Langford. The matter is ripe.
Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees
"[t]he right of the people to be secure in their
persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable
searches and seizures." U.S. Const, amend. IV. The
protections of the Fourth Amendment extend to the states