United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
HORNSBY MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
E. WALTER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are two related motions in the above-captioned
matter. Defendant Damione Brock (“Brock”) filed a
Motion to Suppress Evidence and Request for Franks
Hearing and Motion to Amend and Supplement Motion to Suppress
and Request for Franks Hearing. See Record
Document 166; Record Document 191. The Government filed an
opposition. See Record Document 197. For the reasons
herein, the motions are DENIED.
is charged with one count of conspiracy to possess with the
intent to distribute methamphetamine, a schedule II
controlled dangerous substance, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 846, 841(a)(1) & (b)(1)(A)(viii). His
co-defendants are Roderick Dewaine Hogan
(“Hogan”), Steven Dewayne Gilbert
(“Gilbert”), Keisarah McGee
(“McGee”), and Marvin Beck. See Record
Document 157. Brock is an inmate at Angola State
Penitentiary. The charges in this case stem from an alleged
attempt to smuggle methamphetamine into the penitentiary for
2018, Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”)
agents were investigating Hogan for dealing drugs. As part of
the investigation, the Honorable S. Maurice Hicks, Jr., Chief
United States District Judge for the Western District of
Louisiana, signed several orders authorizing the interception
of wire communications by Hogan and Gilbert. The Court's
orders, phone owner, and numbers intercepted are as follows:
(1) October 4, 2018, Hogan, (318) 578-2387 and (318)
402-2227; (2) October 18, 2018, Hogan, (318) 423-4087; (3)
November 5, 2018, Hogan, (318) 578-2387; (4) November 16,
2018, Gilbert (318) 578-3434.
incarcerated in Angola, Brock was allegedly heard
communicating with Hogan on (318) 578-2387, one of the
telephone numbers authorized for interception. The government
alleges that Brock arranged the transfer of methamphetamine
to McGee, a correctional officer employed at Angola, who
later attempted to bring the drugs into the penitentiary.
McGee was stopped while attempting to enter, and
methamphetamine was found in her vehicle. Brock seeks to
suppress the wire and electronic intercepts and all evidence
Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Street Act of 1968 provides
that under certain circumstances a federal judge may issue
wiretap orders authorizing the interception of communications
in an effort to prevent, detect, or prosecute serious federal
crimes. See 18 U.S.C. § 2510 et seq. However,
such intercepts, or evidence derived therefrom, may be
suppressed if: “the communication was unlawfully
intercepted; (ii) the order or  approval under which it was
intercepted is insufficient on its face; or (iii) the
interception was not made in conformity with the order of
authorization or approval.” 18 U.S.C. §
2518(10)(a). Brock raises several arguments in support of his
motion to suppress the wire intercepts in the case against
him, which the Court will address in turn.
Alleged Irregularities with the Application
argues that the Government's November 5, 2018,
Application for Continued Interception of Wire and Electronic
Communications that was presented to Judge Hicks included an
attachment which does not contain the true initials or
signature of Deputy Assistant Attorney General Raymond
Hulser. See Record Document 191 at 2. Brock argues
that this results in the Department of Justice
(“DOJ”) approving officer being misidentified.
See id. The exhibit in question contains Raymond
Hulser's name and title of Deputy Assistant Attorney
General, Criminal Division. See Record Document
197-1 at 16-18 (Government Ex. A). A signature appears
directly above Mr. Hulser's name and title. See
id. Brock argues that the signature is not that of Mr.
evidentiary hearing is required on a motion to suppress only
when necessary to receive evidence on an issue of
fact.” United States v. Harrelson, 705 F.2d
733, 737 (5th Cir. 1983). A hearing is necessary only when a
defendant alleges sufficient facts, if proven true, that
would justify relief. See id. Sufficient facts are
those that are specific, detailed, and nonconjectural.
See id. A bare allegation such as Brock's is
insufficient to support such a claim. Although Brock argues
that the signature authorizing the application for continued
wiretap interceptions is not that of Mr. Hulser, he has
offered the Court nothing to support this contention other
than argument. “General or conclusory assertions,
founded upon mere suspicion or conjecture, will not
suffice.” Id. (citation omitted).
further argues that even if the signature contained in
Government Exhibit A is that of Deputy Assistant Attorney
General Raymond Hulser, he did not have authorization nor
probable cause to approve the continued interception of
communications to and from telephone number (318) 578-2387
belonging to Hogan. See Record Document 191 at 3.
This argument is without merit. Title 18 U.S.C. §
2516(1) provides that any Deputy Assistant Attorney General
may authorize an application to present to a federal judge to
obtain a wire intercept. The Government's Exhibit A is a
letter from the Attorney General's office to the Criminal
Division of the Department authorizing the presentation of
the wire intercept application for number (318) 578-2387 to a
federal judge. Mr. Hulser did not “approve” the
wire intercept. Only a federal judge may do that. Mr. Hulser,
in his capacity as Deputy Assistant Attorney General,
approved the presentation of the application to Judge Hicks.
This is clearly within Mr. Hulser's authority under the
Use of Wiretap ...