United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. Jackson Judge
the Court is Defendant Ricky Joseph's Motion to
Suppress (Doc. 201) wiretap evidence. Joining in the
motion are Defendants Byron Robins, Shanard Banks, Reuben
Crawford, Chris Davis, Le'Alan Banks, Toddriquez Bradley,
and Charlene Brock. (Docs. 255, 256, 257, 258, 259, 260,
261). For the reasons that follow, the Motion (Doc.
201) is DENIED.
drug-conspiracy case arises from the activities of the
FreeBandz organization in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Doc. 1). A
grand jury returned a 68-count indictment charging 21
FreeBandz associates with drug-related crimes.
United States District Judges entered orders authorizing the
use of wiretaps to investigate the FreeBandz organization.
See Doc. 1-3 in No. 17-MC-40 (Brady, J.); Doc. 1-4
in No. 17-MC-64 (Jackson, J.); Doc. 1-6 in No. 17-MC-148
move to suppress evidence derived from these wiretaps on the
ground that the wiretap applications failed to satisfy 18
U.S.C. § 2518(3)(c). (Doc. 201). That provision creates a
necessity requirement: a wiretap applicant must show that
"normal investigative procedures have been tried and
have failed or reasonably appear to be unlikely to succeed if
tried or to be too dangerous." 18 U.S.C. §
concede that the first wiretap application is dispositive: if
it meets the necessity requirement, then the second and third
do, too. (Doc. 201-1). So the Court recites only those facts
relevant to the first application. See Doc. 1 in No.
United States applied for the wiretap about six months after
it began investigating the FreeBandz organization.
See Doc. 1 in No. 17-MC-40. In its application, the
United States stated that "normal investigative
techniques have been tried and have failed, or reasonably
appear unlikely to succeed if tried or are too dangerous to
employ." Doc. 1 in No. 17-MC-40.
support that assertion, the United States offered the 52-page
affidavit of a Drug Enforcement Administration agent.
See Doc. 1-2 in No. 17-MC-40. The affidavit
describes the "normal investigative procedures" the
United States tried or considered before applying for the
wiretap. Id. Those procedures include: confidential
sources, controlled purchases, physical surveillance, pole
cameras, undercover agents, search warrants, vehicle tracking
devices, subject interviews, grand jury subpoenas, trash
searches, pen registers, police records, mail cover requests,
and financial investigation. Id.
the affidavit's assertions, Defendants argue that the
United States cannot show necessity because "normal
investigative procedures" yielded "significant
evidence." (Doc. 201-1). The United States rejoins that
its limited success using "normal investigative
procedures" does not preclude it from applying for a
wiretap. (Doc. 291).
bear the initial burden of showing that the United States
illegally obtained the wiretap. See United
States v. De La Fuente, 548 F.2d 528, 533 (5th Cir.
1977). If Defendants meet that burden, then the burden shifts
to the United States to "prove that the evidence in
question was obtained from another source and is not tainted
by the illegal surveillance." Id.
III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968
governs the interception of wire communications. See
18 U.S.C. §§ 2510 to 2520. It has twin purposes:
'"(1) protecting the privacy of wire and oral
communications, and (2) delineating on a uniform basis the
circumstances and conditions under which the interception for
wire and oral communications may be ...