United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
TERRY A. DOUGHTY
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
Thomas Goodin [doc. # 51]. For reasons explained below, it is
recommended that the motion be DENIED.
November 30, 2017, at approximately 12:30 a.m., Louisiana
State Police Trooper Randall Colby Dickerson initiated a
traffic stop of a white Ford Fusion after observing the
vehicle's tires cross over the solid white fog line that
separates the road from the right while traveling eastbound
on Interstate 20. (Hearing Transcript (“Tr.”)
4-5, [doc. # 104]).
Dickerson made contact with the driver, later identified as
Defendant Goodin, who got out and met Trooper Dickerson at
the rear of the vehicle. Trooper Dickerson told Goodin he
pulled him over for crossing the fog lines a few times and
was checking to see if Goodin was impaired or sleepy. Goodin
responded that he was fatigued from driving for a long time.
Goodin stated he had left San Bernardino, CA that morning,
stopped in Dallas, TX to drop off his girlfriend, and was
driving to Monroe, LA to visit family. (Tr. 10-11).
to Trooper Dickerson, Goodin appeared “very
nervous.” He would not look Trooper Dickerson in the
eyes and exhibited “a lot of nervous behavior.”
Trooper Dickerson asked Goodin for identification. Goodin
stated he did not have a driver's license but provided
Trooper Dickerson with a Louisiana Identification Card issued
to Malchia Desha Douzart. The person depicted on the
Louisiana ID resembled Goodin, although the height appeared
to be off. However, the photograph “looked so much
like” Goodin that Trooper Dickerson thought the height
could be just a misprint. Trooper Dickerson asked Goodin why
he had a Louisiana ID if he lived in California. Goodin
responded that he thought it would be good to have Louisiana
ID for when he came to Monroe to visit family, which Trooper
Dickerson thought was “an odd answer.” (Tr.
Dickerson patted Goodin down and went back to his vehicle to
check the ID and the car and to write Goodin a ticket for
having no driver's license. He verified that the license
plate was suspended and Douzart had an extensive criminal
history. During this time, Trooper Dickerson observed Goodin
sit on the ground, then stand up and “sway nervously,
” and exhibit “a lot of nervous movement.”
(Tr. 14-17, 19).
returned with the ticket, Trooper Dickerson asked Goodin-whom
he believed to be Douzart-whether he had ever been arrested
before. Goodin replied that he had been arrested “for a
few bar fights, ” but Trooper Dickerson already knew
from looking up the criminal history that Douzart had been
arrested for things more serious than bar fights. Based on
Goodin's response, his “nervous behavior, ”
the height on the ID card, the fact that Goodin exited the
vehicle “as quickly as he did” when stopped,
Trooper Dickerson became “more suspicious that there
might something more going on.” (Tr. 21-22).
Approximately twenty minutes after initiating the stop,
Trooper Dickerson issued a citation for driving without a
license and then asked for consent to search the
vehicle, which Goodin denied. (Tr. 24-25; see Gov.
Dickerson then called for a K-9. At 1:08 a.m., Deputy Jared
Benjamin from the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office
arrived at the scene with his narcotics certified K-9, Igo.
(Tr. 25- 26; see Gov. Exs. 1, 5). At the scene,
Deputy Benjamin conducted a safety check of the ground around
the vehicle to verify there was nothing that could harm the
K-9. He then retrieved Igo and conducted an open air sniff of
the vehicle. Igo alerted to the presence of narcotics at the
passenger side rear door of the vehicle by swiping his paw
across the door. (Tr. 67-71; see Gov. Ex. 1).
Benjamin informed Trooper Dickerson that Igo positively
alerted to the presence of narcotics, and
troopers began to search the vehicle. When they
opened the car they smelled marijuana inside. They then
popped the trunk and found two packages wrapped like
presents, which they removed and placed on the ground outside
the vehicle. (Tr. 30-31). At one of the trooper's
request, Deputy Benjamin and Igo conducted a secondary sniff
of the interior of the car and Igo alerted to the presence of
narcotics in the trunk and in a suitcase on the front
passenger floorboard. (Tr. 72-74). The troopers opened the
packages. One package contained two Gold Peak Tea bottles,
vacuum sealed with a waxy substance, with a yellow tinted
liquid inside. The other package contained a handmade candle
in a glass jar. (Tr. 31-32).
Dickerson opened the vacuum sealed bottles and smelled an
odor that, based on his experience, he identified as
phencyclidine (“PCP”). He then placed Goodin
under arrest. The packages later tested positive for PCP and
methamphetamine. (Tr. 33, 49). After Goodin was arrested and
transported to Troop F, officers located his driver's
license inside his wallet and found there was an outstanding
warrant for his arrest for the distribution of
methamphetamine and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
(Tr. 18-19, 34-35; see Gov. Ex. 2). In connection
with this incident, Goodin was charged with one count of
possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and one
count of possession with intent to distribute PCP, both in
violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1)-(2). [doc. # 1].
October 19, 2018, Goodin filed a motion to suppress the
evidence seized during the traffic stop. He claims (1) the
extension of the traffic stop to conduct a dog sniff was
unreasonable; and (2) the K-9's signal was unreliable.
[doc. # 51-1 at 5].
March 1, 2019, the Government filed its response claiming (1)
the traffic stop was supported by probable cause; (2) there
was reasonable suspicion that contraband was in the vehicle
in order to extend the stop to wait on the K-9 officers; (3)
the certified K-9's positive alert on the vehicle
provided probable cause to search the entire vehicle; (4) the
contraband would have inevitably been be discovered through
an inventory search of the vehicle; and (5) any statements
made by Goodin were free and voluntary. [doc. # 83].
filed a reply on March 5, 2019. [docs. # 84].
suppression hearing took place on April 1, 2019, with
testimony from Trooper Dickerson and Deputy Benjamin.
Defendant submitted a post-hearing brief. [docs. # 107]. This
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