UNITED STATES v. GRAHAM

No. Crim. 3:99CR271(CFD)

119 F. Supp.2d 116 (2000) | Cited 0 times | D. Connecticut | October 26, 2000

RULING ON MOTIONS TO SUPPRESS

The defendant, Kimberly Graham, was indicted for conspiracy topossess with intent to distribute 100 grams and more of mixturesand substances containing a detectable amount of phencyclidine(PCP) in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 846. She hasfiled a motion to suppress physical evidence, a motion tosuppress statements, and a motion to suppress evidence seizedfrom her residence. For the following reasons, each of themotions to suppress is DENIED

I. Background

The defendant claims several violations of the Fourth, Fifth,and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution in hersuppression motions. These claims arise mainly from a motorvehicle stop on November 13, 1999, by police officers assigned tothe New Haven Drug Task Force. During the stop, the officerssearched the vehicle and seized two bottles of liquid PCP. Thedefendant, who was driving the car, made statements to theofficers following their discovery of the PCP Although thedefendant was not arrested at that time, Task Force officerslater obtained and executed a search warrant for the defendant'shome at 10 Rosewood Avenue in New Haven, Connecticut, from whichthey recovered additional evidence.1

The defendant was charged by a single-count indictment onNovember 30, 1999 with conspiracy to possess with intent todistribute 100 grams and more of mixtures and substancescontaining a detectable amount of PCP. On March 9, 2000, thedefendant filed a motion to suppress physical evidence on theground that the Task Force officers lacked probable cause to stopor search the car she was driving on November 13, 1999, includinga search of her purse found in the car, in violation of theFourth and Fourteenth Amendments.2 The defendant also filed amotion to suppress statements on March 9, 2000, claiming that herstatements to the officers following their discovery of the PCPwere made in violation of the Fourth, Fifth, and FourteenthAmendments. In addition, on March 10, 1999, the defendant filed amotion to suppress evidence seized from 10Rosewood Avenue on the ground that the search warrant lackedprobable cause, was based in part on illegally seized evidencefrom the car stop, and included false and misleading informationin violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.3 TheCourt conducted evidentiary hearings on the motions to suppresson June 19 and 27, 2000.

II. Findings of Facts

The Court makes the following findings of fact based on theevidence presented at the hearings on the suppression motions,which the government has proven by a preponderance of theevidence. See U.S. v. Matlock, 415 U.S. 164, 177 & n. 14, 94S.Ct. 988, 39 L.Ed.2d 242 (1974).

The Drug Enforcement Administration in New York City began aninvestigation in July 1999 of Mark Godfrey Theus, also known as"Sanchez," a suspected distributor of liquid PCP. During thecourse of its investigation, the DEA learned that Mr. Theus wasproviding PCP to Michelle Little and other individuals in NewHaven, Connecticut. The DEA contacted the Task Force in New Havento determine whether it had any information concerning Ms. Littleor the other individuals. The Task Force then began its owninvestigation of Ms. Little, among others. As part of theirinvestigation, Task Force officers received information fromreliable confidential informants confirming that Ms. Little wasinvolved in selling PCP with an unidentified female partner. Theyalso observed Mr. Theus at Ms. Little's home in New Haven. Inaddition, they conducted judicially authorized electronicsurveillance of Ms. Little, which included wiretaps of hertelephone.4 The Task Force had no information concerning thedefendant or her suspected involvement in criminal activity,however, prior to November 13, 1999.

On November 12, 1999, Task Force officers monitored a telephonecall between Mr. Theus and Ms. Little, in which they agreed tomeet the next day in New York so that Ms. Little could purchasePCP from Mr. Theus. Ms. Little called 10 Rosewood Avenue the nextmorning and asked to speak to "Kim." When the person who answeredthe phone refused to awaken Kim, Ms. Little indicated that shewould stop by and awaken Kim herself. Ms. Little then paged Mr.Theus, who called her in response. Mr. Theus and Ms. Littlearranged to meet at a car wash in New York City, where they hadmet on previous occasions, so that Ms. Little could purchase nineounces of liquid PCP from Mr. Theus. Ms. Little also indicated toMr. Theus that she would leave Connecticut around 10:00 a.m. andwould bring someone with her.

Task Force officers placed Ms. Little under physicalsurveillance and followed her in a gray Lexus to 10 RosewoodAvenue, where she picked up a female later identified as thedefendant.5 The officers followed the two women in the Lexusas they headed south on Interstates 91 and 95 toward New York.After breaking off their surveillance near Fairfield,Connecticut, the officers alerted the DEA in New York.

Shortly thereafter, the DEA advised the Task Force that itsagents observed Mr. Theus meet with Ms. Little and the defendantat the car wash, and that the women were headed back toConnecticut in theLexus. Task Force officers resumed physical surveillance of theLexus as it returned to Connecticut and headed toward New Haven.Detective Samuel Cotto and Detective Rafael Segarra, who were NewHaven police officers assigned to the Task Force, decided to stopthe Lexus. They hoped to recover the nine ounces of PCP discussedin the conversation between Mr. Theus and Ms. Little, which theysuspected would be in the car following the meeting at the carwash. After observing the Lexus speeding at approximately 85 to90 miles per hour, the detectives stopped the car on Route 80near Middletown, Connecticut. The detectives were wearing policeuniforms and driving a marked police cruiser in order to appearas if the stop were a routine traffic stop.

As the detectives approached the Lexus, they observed thedefendant in the driver's seat and Ms. Little in the frontpassenger seat. Neither the defendant nor Ms. Little was wearinga seatbelt. Detective Cotto told the defendant and Ms. Littlethat they had been stopped because they were speeding. He askedthe defendant to get out of the car and sit in the police cruiserwhile Detective Segarra prepared an infraction for drivingwithout a seatbelt. Detective Cotto told the defendant that shewould receive only a verbal warning for speeding, and said to her"you'll be on your way" once the seatbelt infraction wasprepared. Neither police officer mentioned the PCP investigation,and neither the defendant nor Ms. Little was placed under arrest.However, Detective Cotto patted down the defendant with the backof his hand before placing her in the back of the police cruiser.

As Detective Segarra sat in the driver's seat of the policecruiser, Detective Cotto returned to the Lexus. He asked Ms.Little for the vehicle's registration and insurance card so thatDetective Segarra could prepare the infraction. Ms. Little openedthe glove box and, as she did so, Detective Cotto observed asmall bottle roll forward. Ms. Little attempted to cover thebottle with her left hand while handing the registration andinsurance information to the detective with her right hand.6Detective Cotto recognized the bottle as matching a descriptionpreviously provided by the DEA in New York of the ounce-sizepackages of PCP sold by Mr. Theus. He also saw that theclear-glass bottle contained a yellow-brown liquid substanceconsistent with the color of liquid PCP.

Detective Cotto asked Ms. Little to get out of the car andplaced her in the back of the police cruiser with the defendant.He then went back to the car and seized the bottle from the glovebox. He opened it and immediately smelled the odor of PCP.7He returned to the police cruiser with the bottle and asked Ms.Little and the defendant what was in it. They indicated at firstthat it was musk cologne, and then told the detective that it wasa spiritual oil that they purchased in New Haven. AlthoughDetective Cotto believed the substance in the bottle was PCP, hedid not reveal that he thought it was PCP. He expressed doubt asto whether it was spiritual oil and indicated that he was goingto send it to a laboratory and have it analyzed.

Given the small size of the bottle, and believing that therewere at least nine ounces of liquid PCP in the Lexus, DetectiveCotto returned to the car and looked inside it. He slid the frontseat of the car forward and discovered an open purse on the floorof the back seat. In the top of the purse, Detective Cotto couldsee asecond, larger clear-glass juice bottle containing a similaryellow-brown liquid substance consistent with the color of liquidPCP.8 He seized the second bottle, opened it, and immediatelysmelled the odor of PCP. Again, he returned to the police cruiserwith the bottle and asked Ms. Little and the defendant what wasin it without revealing that he thought it was PCP. Theyindicated that it, too, was spiritual oil. Detective Cotto thenexpressed doubt as to whether it was spiritual oil and indicatedthat he was going to have it tested as well. He also indicatedthat if the substance were determined not to be spiritual oil,warrants for their arrests would probably be issued. DetectiveCotto stated again, however, that Ms. Little and the defendantwere not going to be arrested at that time.

When Detective Segarra finished preparing the infraction andthe defendant got out of the police cruiser, he explained to herhow she should respond to the ticket. At the same time, DetectiveCotto accompanied Ms. Little from the police cruiser back to theLexus. He asked her who owned the purse, and she indicated thatshe did not know, that it was left there by the owner of the car.Detective Cotto told Ms. Little that since she did not know whothe purse belonged to, he would go through it and find out whoowned it. As he began looking through the purse foridentification, the defendant approached him and asked what hewas doing going through her purse. The detective gave the purseback to the defendant. She and Ms. Little then left the scene,and the detectives field-tested the liquid from the seizedbottles, which tested positive for liquid PCP. The entireencounter lasted approximately ten minutes.

Later that day, the Task Force monitored a telephone callbetween Ms. Little and the defendant, in which they discussed thecar stop and the seizure of PCP. The defendant also indicatedthat she going to purchase additional PCP.9 Ms. Little andMr. Theus also discussed the car stop and the seizure of PCP overthe telephone later that night.

On November 14, 1999, Ms. Little and Mr. Theus spoke again andagreed to meet where they had met the previous day, at the carwash in New York City. The Task Force and DEA in New Yorkconducted physical surveillance of the defendant and Ms. Littleas they traveled to New York City in a green Mazda. The DEAfurther advised the Task Force that Ms. Little and the defendantmet with Mr. Theus at the car wash and were returning toConnecticut in the Mazda. Task Force officers conducted physicalsurveillance of the Mazda, which they learned was registered tothe defendant's mother, as it returned to Connecticut.10 Theyfollowed the Mazda to a residence in New Haven, which theysubsequently learned from a reliable confidential informant wasused for drug dealing activities, and later observed it parked atthe defendant's residence at 10 Rosewood Avenue. Based on thepreceding information, on November 16, 1999. Senior U.S. DistrictJudge Ellen B. Burns signed a search warrant for 10 RosewoodAvenue. Task Force officers executed the search warrant onNovember 18, 1999 and recovered evidence from the defendant'sbedroom at the residence.11

III. Discussion

A. Legitimate Expectation of Privacy in the Lexus and Its Contents

The government initially contends that the defendant had nolegitimate expectation of privacy in the Lexus, which wasregistered to Ms. Little, and thus she cannot challenge the stopor search of the Lexus. Although the government concedes that thedefendant had a legitimate expectation of privacy in her purse,which was found in the Lexus, the government argues that thedefendant did not have a sufficient property interest orpossessory interest in the car to create a legitimate expectationof privacy in the car itself. See Rakas v. Illinois,439 U.S. 128, 148-49, 99 S.Ct. 421, 58 L.Ed.2d 387 (1978) (Rehnquist, J.,plurality). The government therefore argues that the defendant'sFourth Amendment rights were not violated by the stop or searchof the Lexus, even if the stop and search were illegal.12See id. at 134, 148-50, 99 S.Ct. 421; see also United Statesv. Osorio, 949 F.2d 38, 40 (2d Cir. 1991).

In light of the circumstances of the car stop, however, seeRakas, 439 U.S. at 152, 99 S.Ct. 421 (Powell, J., concurring),the Court concludes that the defendant had a legitimateexpectation of privacy in the Lexus. Although the defendant didnot own the Lexus, she was driving it at the time of the stop.She also had permission to use the car, as indicated by Ms.Little's presence in the car with her. In addition, with theexception of Ms. Little, the defendant had exclusive dominion andcontrol of the Lexus. This conclusion is further supported by thenature of the close personal relationship between the defendantand Ms. Little, which was stronger than an ordinarydriver-passenger relationship.13 Accordingly, the Courtconcludes that the defendant had a possessory interest in the carsufficient to create a legitimate expectation of privacy in it.See United States v. Sanchez, 635 F.2d 47, 64 (2d Cir. 1980),United States v. Ochs, 595 F.2d 1247, 1253 (2d Cir.), cert.denied, 444 U.S. 955, 100 S.Ct. 435, 62 L.Ed.2d 328 (1979). TheCourt therefore proceeds to consider the merits of thedefendant's suppression motions related to the car stop, as wellas her motion concerning the search of 10 Rosewood Avenue. SeeOchs, 595 F.2d at 1253.

B. Probable Cause to Stop the Lexus

The defendant moved to suppress the two bottles of PCP seizedas a result of the car stop and the subsequent search of theLexus, including a search of her purse, claiming that her rightsunder the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments were violated.

"An ordinary traffic stop constitutes a limited seizure withinthe meaning of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. . . .Accordingly, such stops must be justified by probable cause or areasonable suspicion, based on specific and articulable facts."United States v. Scopo, 19 F.3d 777, 781 (2d Cir.), cert.denied, 513 U.S. 877, 115 S.Ct. 207, 130 L.Ed.2d 136 (1994),see also Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806, 809-10, 116S.Ct. 1769, 135 L.Ed.2d 89 (1996). Probable cause arises when apolice officer reasonably believes that an offense has beencommitted or is being committed. See Scopo, 19 F.3d at 781.Furthermore, "probable cause is a fluid concept — turning on theassessment of probabilities in particular factual contexts."Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 232, 103 S.Ct. 2317, 76L.Ed.2d 527 (1983). "[O]nly the probability, and not a primafacie showing, of criminal activity is thestandard of probable cause." Id. at 235, 103 S.Ct. 2317(internal quotations omitted).

1. Probable Cause to Believe There Was PCP in the Lexus

The defendant concedes that the Task Force had reason tobelieve that Ms. Little was involved in a narcotics transactionon November 13, 1999, and that the Task Force officers had areasonable suspicion to believe that there might be narcotics inthe Lexus at the time of the car stop.14 The defendantcontends, however, that Detectives Cotto and Segarra lackedprobable cause to stop the Lexus, which resulted in the seizureof the two bottles of PCP and gave rise to the defendantstatements that the bottles contained spiritual oil and that sheowned the purse from which the larger bottle was seized. TheCourt nevertheless concludes that the police officers hadprobable cause to believe that there were narcotics in the Lexus,and thus probable cause to stop the car on that basis.

The Task Force had extensive information concerning Ms.Little's involvement in selling PCP prior to the car stop onNovember 13, 1999, both from its own investigation of her andfrom the DEA's investigation of Mr. Theus in New York. Thisinformation included information gathered from reliableconfidential informants and from physical and electronicsurveillance of Ms. Little and Mr. Theus. It included monitoredtelephone calls between Ms. Little and Mr. Theus, including thecall on the morning of the car stop in which Ms. Little arrangedto meet Mr. Theus at the car wash in New York and purchase nineounces of liquid PCP. The Task Force and the DEA also confirmedthe trip to New York and the meeting at the car wash withphysical surveillance. Shortly before the car stop, the DEAadvised the Task Force that it observed Ms. Little and thedefendant meet with Mr. Theus in New York, and that Ms. Littleand the defendant were on their way back toward Connecticut inthe Lexus. Detectives Cotto and Segarra, who were assigned to theTask Force, intercepted the Lexus as it returned to Connecticutand decided to stop it and search for the nine ounces of PCP.

Based on the totality of these circumstances, see id. at 238,103 S.Ct. 2317, the Court concludes that there was probable causeto suspect that there were narcotics in the Lexus at the time ofthe stop Detectives Cotto and Segarra, who were involved in theTask Force's PCP investigation of Ms. Little and the surveillanceof the Lexus on November 13, 1999, clearly had a reasonable basisfor believing that there was PCP in the Lexus at the time theystopped it. See also, e.g., United States v. Ross,456 U.S. 798, 817 & n. 22, 102 S.Ct. 2157, 72 L.Ed.2d 572 (1982)(involving a similar factual situation). The car stop thereforedid not violate the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.

2. Probable Cause to Believe the Lexus Was Speeding

Alternatively, the government has presented evidence that theLexus was speeding at the time it was stopped by Detectives Cottoand Segarra. The defendant does not dispute that speeding is aviolation of Connecticut law. See Conn. Gen.Stat. § 14-219. TheCourt also credits Detective Cotto's testimony that the car wasspeeding at approximately 85 to 90 miles per hour, in violationof Connecticut law. See id. The Court therefore concludesthat there was probable cause to stop the Lexus for speeding,regardless of the officers' true motive for the stop or whetherthe defendant ultimately received a ticket for speeding. SeeScopo, 19 F.3d at 782 ("When an officer observes a trafficoffense-however minor-he has probable cause to stop the driver ofthe vehicle."); see also United States v. Dhinsa, 171 F.3d 721,725 (2d Cir. 1998).

C. Probable Cause to Search the Lexus

The defendant further contends that, even if there wereprobable cause to stop the Lexus for speeding or some othertraffic violation, such a violation did not justify the scope ofthe search of the Lexus by Detective Cotto. In support of thiscontention, the defendant argues that Detective Cotto's search ofthe Lexus exceeded the scope of what is permitted during aroutine traffic stop under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.She also contends that she was entitled to a heightenedexpectation of privacy in her purse because of its very personalnature, and thus that Detective Cotto was not entitled to searchit during the traffic stop. In addition, because the Task Forcehad no information concerning the defendant or her involvement incriminal activity prior to November 13, 1999, the defendantcontends that the search of her purse was not supported byindependent probable cause to believe that there were narcoticsin it.

1. Search Based on Probable Cause to Believe There Was PCP in the Lexus

Although the Court agrees that probable cause to stop a car forspeeding does not, without more, justify a full search of thecar, see Knowles, 525 U.S. at 114, 119 S.Ct. 484, the policeofficers in this case had probable cause to believe that therewas PCP in the Lexus. See supra Part III.A.1. Detective Cottotherefore had probable cause to search the Lexus for narcotics,including every part of the Lexus and its contents that mighthave concealed narcotics. See Ross, 456 U.S. at 825, 102 S.Ct.2157 ("If probable cause justifies the search of a lawfullystopped vehicle, it justifies the search of every part of thevehicle and its contents that may conceal the object of thesearch."). Accordingly, because the defendant's purse was foundin the car and could have concealed PCP, Detective Cotto hadprobable cause to search it during the car stop. See Wyoming v.Houghton, 526 U.S. 295, 307, 119 S.Ct. 1297, 143 L.Ed.2d 408(1999).15

2. Search Based on Probable Cause to Believe the Lexus Was Speeding

Even if the police officers initially lacked probable cause tobelieve that there were narcotics in the Lexus, and thus lackedprobable cause to stop the car on any basis other than forspeeding, the search of the Lexus, including the search of thedefendant's purse, would be permitted underthe "plain view" exception to the Fourth and FourteenthAmendments.

"The plain view doctrine is a well-recognized exception to theFourth Amendment warrant requirement." Ruggiero v. Krzeminski,928 F.2d 558, 561 (2d Cir. 1991) (internal quotation marksomitted). "The plain view exception to the warrant requirementauthorizes seizure of illegal or evidentiary items visible to apolice officer whose access to the object has some prior FourthAmendment justification and who has probable cause to suspectthat the item is connected with criminal activity." Scopo, 19F.3d at 782 (internal quotation marks omitted). "Under thisexception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement, a policeofficer may seize evidence when in plain view if: (1) theofficer's initial intrusion was permissible under the FourthAmendment; (2) the discovery of evidence is inadvertent; and (3)the nature of the evidence found is immediately apparent." Id.(internal quotation marks omitted).

Detectives Cotto and Segarra had independent probable cause tostop the Lexus for speeding. See supra Part III. A.2. As theyapproached the Lexus, they also observed the defendant in thedriver's seat and Ms. Little in the front passenger seat. Neitherthe defendant nor Ms. Little was wearing a seatbelt, which wasalso a violation of Connecticut law. See Conn. Gen.Stat. §14-100a. It was therefore constitutionally permissible for thedetectives to request the car's registration, which DetectiveCotto did while standing next to the Lexus. See United States v.Boucher, 909 F.2d 1170, 1173 (8th Cir.), cert. denied,498 U.S. 942, 111 S.Ct. 350, 112 L.Ed.2d 314 (1990) (citingCommonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106, 111, 98S.Ct. 330, 54 L.Ed.2d 331 (1977)).

When Detective Cotto asked Ms. Little for the vehicle'sregistration and insurance card so that Detective Segarra couldprepare an infraction for driving without a seatbelt, she openedthe glove box. As she did so, Detective Cotto observed a smallbottle roll forward. In addition, as the bottle rolled forward inthe glove box, Ms. Little attempted to cover it with her lefthand while handing the registration and insurance information tothe detective with her right hand. As indicated, Detective Cottorecognized the bottle as matching a description previouslyprovided by the DEA in New York of the ounce-size packages of PCPsold by Mr. Theus. He also saw that the clear-glass bottlecontained a yellow-brown liquid substance consistent with thecolor of liquid PCP. The Court concludes from this evidence thatDetective Cotto observed the bottle from outside the car, hisobservation was an inadvertent result of the vehicle registrationcheck, and the illegal nature of the bottle was immediateapparent to him. Consequently, because the bottle of PCP was inplain view, neither its observation or its subsequent seizureinvolved any invasion of privacy warranting suppression. SeeHorton v. California, 496 U.S. 128, 133, 141, 110 S.Ct. 2301,110 L.Ed.2d 112 (1990).

Once Detective Cotto placed Ms. Little in the back of thepolice cruiser with the defendant and returned to the Lexus, hefurther confirmed that it was PCP by opening the bottle andsmelling its contents. By this point, Detective Cotto also hadprobable cause to believe that there were narcotics in the Lexus.Accordingly, he had probable cause to search the Lexus morefully, including probable cause to move the seat forward, whichhe did. See Ross, 456 U.S. at 825, 102 S.Ct. 2157. Furthermore,once Detective Cotto moved the seat forward, he observed thesecond, larger bottle of PCP in the top of the defendant's purse,which the Court also concludes was in plain view at that point.

D. Statements by the Defendant

As there was no violation of the Fourth Amendment resultingfrom the stop or search of the Lexus, including a search ofthe defendant's purse, the defendant's statements to DetectivesCotto and Segarra that the bottles contained spiritual oil andthat she owned the purse from which the larger bottle was seizedwere not fruits of an unlawful search and seizure, which must besuppressed. See Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471,484-86, 83 S.Ct. 407, 9 L.Ed.2d 441 (1963). However, thedefendant also contends that her statements to the policeofficers during the car stop constitute a violation of her rightsunder the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

Although the parties agree that the defendant and Ms. Littlewere not placed under arrest during the car stop, the defendantcontends that she was questioned by the detectives concerning thesubstance in the bottles seized from the car and ownership of herpurse in violation of her Fifth Amendment rights againstcompelled self-incrimination. While there is no dispute that thedefendant did not receive Miranda warnings prior to beingquestioned concerning the substance in the seized bottles orprior to indicating that she owned the purse, the Court concludesthat the defendant was not in custody for the purpose ofrequiring Miranda warnings under the Fifth Amendment. SeeDickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428, 120 S.Ct. 2326, 147L.Ed.2d 405 (2000) (discussing the constitutional rule announcedin Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d694 (1966)).

"Miranda safeguards come into play whenever a person incustody is subjected to either express questioning or itsfunctional equivalent." State of Rhode Island v. Innis,446 U.S. 291, 300-01, 100 S.Ct. 1682, 64 L.Ed.2d 297 (1980). Therelevant inquiry in determining whether a suspect is "in custody"at a particular time is how a reasonable person in the suspect'sposition would have understood the situation. See Berkemer v.McCarty, 468 U.S. 420, 442, 104 S.Ct. 3138, 82 L.Ed.2d 317(1984). While acknowledging that few motorists would feel free todisobey a police officer during a traffic stop, the Supreme Courthas nevertheless determined that a car stop does notautomatically render a suspect "in custody" for the purpose ofrequiring Miranda warnings. See id. at 436-37, 86 S.Ct. 1602.A motorist instead must show that he or she was subject torestraints comparable to those associated with a formal arrest,which restraints are not present in a typical, public trafficstop that lasts for a brief period of time. See id. at 437-39,441.

1. Statements Concerning the Substance in the Bottles

In this case, Detective Cotto told the defendant and Ms. Littlethat they had been stopped for speeding. He asked the defendantto leave the Lexus and sit in the back of the police cruiserwhile Detective Segarra prepared an infraction for drivingwithout a seatbelt. Although Detective Cotto patted down thedefendant and placed her in the police cruiser, he also told herthen that she would receive a verbal warning for speeding andindicated that she would be free to leave once the infraction wasprepared. In addition, Detective Cotto placed Ms. Little in theback of the police cruiser with the defendant, without making anyeffort to separate them. When he confronted them with the bottlesof PCP, he asked them what the bottles contained and thenindicated that he would have them analyzed at the laboratory.However, at no time did Detective Cotto or Detective Segarramention the PCP investigation or their suspicions that thebottles contained PCP. Detective Cotto also reiterated thatneither of them would be placed under arrest at that time.

In light of these circumstances, the Court concludes that theencounter was not so "police dominated" as to rise to the levelof a custodial interrogation. See id. at 439, 86 S.Ct. 1602.Although the defendant may have been apprehensive during theencounter, particularly when confronted with the bottles of PCPand questioned about their contents, at no time was shearrested or threatened with arrest. Rather, the defendant wastold that she would not be arrested.

Furthermore, because Detective Cotto explained that thedefendant would receive an infraction and indicated that shewould then be free to leave, his patting her down and placing herin the police cruiser was, from an objective viewpoint,insufficient to convey the message that she was not free toleave. See Nova v. Bartlett, 63 F. Supp.2d 449, 452-53 (S.D.N Y1999), aff'd, 211 F.3d 705 (2d Cir. 2000). The fact thatDetective Cotto presented the defendant with the bottles of PCPalso was insufficient to escalate the encounter into a custodialinterrogation, particularly because the defendant was not awareof PCP investigation, Detective Cotto's role in such aninvestigation, or his suspicions concerning PCP in the bottles.Cf., e.g., id. at 454-57; United States v. Murray,89 F.3d 459, 461 (7th Cir. 1996) (involving a police officer showing thedefendant a firearm and questioning him about it while in theback of a squad car); Boucher, 909 F.2d at 1174 (involving apolice officer's unrevealed suspicions concerning a concealedfirearm). In addition, the encounter occurred on a publicthoroughfare and lasted approximately ten minutes, which confirmsthat there was no custodial interrogation. Cf., e.g., Berkemer,468 U.S. at 441-42, 104 S.Ct. 3138; United States v. Wong,867 F.2d 754, 756 (2d Cir. 1989); Nova, 63 F. Supp.2d at 454-57.

2. Statement Concerning Ownership of the Purse

The Court also concludes that, even if the defendant were incustody while in the police cruiser, she was not in custody forthe purpose of requiring Miranda warnings when she indicated toDetective Cotto that she owned the purse from which the second,larger bottle of PCP was seized. In addition to the precedingfactors, the Court reaches this conclusion based on the factthat, at the time the defendant indicated that she owned thepurse, she had received her infraction from Detective Segarra,who explained to her how she should respond to it, and she was nolonger in the police cruiser. She was free to leave. Sheapproached Detective Cotto at the Lexus voluntarily and asked himwhat he was doing with her purse. Accordingly, even if DetectiveCotto's actions in searching through the purse were reasonablylikely to elicit an incriminating response from the defendant,see Innis, 446 U.S. at 301, 100 S.Ct. 1682, she was not subjectto restraints comparable to a formal arrest at that time. Nor,absent any evidence of additional compulsion, which the defendanthas not offered, would the suppression of any statements by thedefendant while she was in the police cruiser require thesuppression of her later, otherwise admissible statementconcerning ownership of her purse. See generally Oregon v.Elstad, 470 U.S. 298, 105 S.Ct. 1285, 84 L.Ed.2d 222 (1985). Herstatement concerning ownership of the purse therefore was notcompelled in violation of her rights under the Fifth andFourteenth Amendments, even if her earlier statements wereobtained in violation of such rights.16

E. Search Warrant for 10 Rosewood Avenue

Finally, the defendant contends that the search warrant for 10Rosewood Avenue was not supported by probable cause, was based inpart on illegally seized evidence from the car stop, and includedfalse and misleading information in violation of the Fourth andFourteenth Amendments. However, because the car stop did notresult in any violation of the Fourth, Fifth,or Fourteenth Amendments, the Court concludes as an initialmatter that the search warrant was not based on illegally seizedevidence from that encounter.

Based on the totality of circumstances surrounding the issuanceof the search warrant for 10 Rosewood Avenue, see Gates, 462U.S. at 230, 103 S.Ct. 2317, the Court also concludes that thesearch warrant was supported by probable cause. Following the carstop on November 13, 1999, which was recounted in the affidavitin support of the search warrant, there was a reasonable basis tobelieve that the defendant was involved with Ms. Little inselling PCP. The defendant had also been identified as "KimberlyGraham" by the time the warrant was prepared. The warrantaffidavit further indicated that the defendant lived at 10Rosewood Avenue and that the gray Lexus had been seen therepreviously. It also recounted the events of November 14, 1999. Onthat date, as indicated, Ms. Little and Mr. Theus spoke again andagreed to meet at the car wash in New York. The DEA in New Yorkadvised the Task Force later that day that Ms. Little and thedefendant met with Mr. Theus at the car wash and were returningtoward Connecticut in a green Mazda. Task Force officersconducted physical surveillance of the Mazda, which they learnedwas registered to the defendant's mother, as it returned toConnecticut. They followed the Mazda to a residence in New Haven,which they subsequently learned from a reliable confidentialinformant was used for drug dealing activities, and laterobserved it parked at the defendant's residence at 10 RosewoodAvenue. Accordingly, based on the information contained in thesearch warrant affidavit, there was a reasonable basis to believethat 10 Rosewood Avenue might be used for drug dealingactivities.17 Cf., e.g., United States v. Travisano,724 F.2d 341, 346-47 (2d Cir. 1983).

Even if the search warrant for 10 Rosewood Avenue lackedprobable cause, the defendant has failed to establish thatsuppression would be an appropriate remedy. The search warrantfor 10 Rosewood Avenue was authorized by Senior U.S. DistrictJudge Ellen B. Burns, and thus is entitled to great deference.See United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897, 914, 104 S.Ct. 3405,82 L.Ed.2d 677 (1984). Suppression is therefore appropriate onlyif Judge Burns was misled by knowingly false information in thewarrant affidavit, if she wholly abandoned her neutral judicialrole, if the warrant was so lacking in indicia of probable causeas to render official belief in its existence entirelyunreasonable, or if the warrant itself was do facially deficientthat the executing officers could not reasonably presume it to bevalid. See id. at 923, 104 S.Ct. 3405. The defendant haspresented no evidence in support of such claims, and the Courtconcludes that none of these justifications for suppression isapplicable in this case.

In particular, to the extent that the defendant challenges theveracity of the affidavit in support of the search warrant, theCourt concludes that the defendant has offered no basis fromwhich to conclude that the affidavit contained statements ofdeliberate falsehood or reckless disregard for the truth. SeeFranks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154, 155-56, 171-72, 98 S.Ct. 2674,57 L.Ed.2d 667 (1978). The defendant has identified no portion ofthe warrant affidavit that is claimed to be false, ordemonstrated that the warrant would lack probable cause withoutsuch portions. See id. at 171-72, 98 S.Ct. 2674. Nor has sheoffered sworn affidavits or statements from witnesses-or anexplanation for the absence of such evidence-from which toestablish that the warrant affidavit relied on by Judge Burns wasin any way false. See id. Accordingly, under no circumstancesis suppression of the evidence recovered from the search of 10Rosewood Avenue appropriate in this case.

IV. Conclusion

For the preceding reasons, the motion to suppress physicalevidence [Document # 41], the motion to suppress statements[Document # 45], and the motion to suppress evidence seized fromthe defendant's residence [Document # 47] are DENIED.

1. This evidence included $3,600.00, a leafy substance in tinfoil that contained PCP, mint leaves similar to those used toprepare PCP for ingestion, packaging materials, and a notebook.PCP is typically ingested by smoking mint leaves soaked in thedrug.

2. The defendant moved to suppress the two bottles of liquidPCP. It is unclear whether she also moved to suppress her purseas physical evidence; this opinion will assume that she did.

3. The defendant also contended that Task Force officersfailed to knock and announce their presence when executing thewarrant. However, as set forth on the record at the suppressionhearing, the defendant has withdrawn that claim.

4. The defendant does not contest the legality of thejudicially authorized electronic surveillance, including thewiretaps

5. It is unclear exactly when the Task Force identified thedefendant as "Kimberly Graham." However, it is undisputed thatthe Task Force had not identified her prior to the car stop onNovember 13, 1999. See also infra note 9. It is also undisputedthat the defendant resided at 10 Rosewood Avenue.

6. After providing Detective Cotto with the registration forthe Lexus, which indicated that the car belonged to "MichelleLittle," Ms. Little stated that she was "Michelle Durham," thatthe car did not belong to her, and that she and the defendant hadborrowed the car from a friend.

7. Detective Cotto testified that as a police officer he wasfamiliar with, and had smelled, liquid PCP before this incident.

8. The bottle had a juice label, but did not contain a red ormaroon liquid matching the appropriate juice color.

9. At Ms. Little's urging, however, the defendant returned toNew Haven so that they could pool their money. In addition, theTask Force had identified the defendant as "Kimberly Graham" bythis point. See also supra note 5.

10. The defendant's mother also resided at 10 RosewoodAvenue.

11. As set forth on the record at the suppression hearing, theCourt considers the post-car stop evidence only as it relates tothe validity of the search warrant for 10 Rosewood Avenue, whichwas prepared after the stop. It is not relevant to the validityof the car stop and has not been considered in relation to thatencounter.

12. In its proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law,the government contends that the defendant lacks standing tochallenge the car stop or the search of the car. The Courtinterprets this argument to mean that the defendant's FourthAmendment rights were not violated by the stop or search of thecar. See Rakas, 439 U.S. at 140, 99 S.Ct. 421 (Rehnquist, J.,plurality).

13. The defendant admits that she and Ms. Little were engagedin a romantic relationship.

14. The Court concludes that the police officers could havestopped the Lexus solely on the basis of this reasonablesuspicion admitted by the defendant. See Scopo, 19 F.3d at 781.Stopping the car on the basis of a reasonable suspicion, however,would not have permitted the police officers to search it asfully or thoroughly as a stop based on probable cause. SeeKnowles v. Iowa, 525 U.S. 113, 118-18, 119 S.Ct. 484, 142L.Ed.2d 492 (1998). In this regard, the defendant appears todispute whether there was probable cause to stop the Lexus as away of challenging the scope of the subsequent search of the car.See infra Part III.B.

15. Even if a woman's purse found in a car during a search fornarcotics might warrant a heightened expectation of privacy, andthus greater protection under the Fourth and FourteenthAmendments, the mere fact that a container is a purse does notalter the conclusion that a search supported by probable causeextends to a search of all containers capable of concealing theobject of the search. See Houghton, 526 U.S. at 308, 119 S.Ct.1297 (Breyer, J., concurring). Consequently, as in this case,where the defendant's purse was located under a seat in the Lexusand was not attached to her person, it would not warrant greaterprotection under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. See id.

Nor does the fact that Detective Cotto searched the purse attwo separate times during the encounter alter the conclusion thatthe search was constitutionally permissible. Because Ms. Littledenied ownership of the Lexus and stated that the purse did notbelong to her or to the defendant, and thus because it was stillnecessary to identify the purse's owner, the Court concludes thatthe second examination of the purse by Detective Cotto was merelya continuation of the initial examination. Cf., e.g., UnitedStates v. Huslage, 480 F. Supp. 870, 875 (W.D.Pa. 1979) (citingseveral appellate court decisions).

16. To the extent that the defendant also contends her variousstatements were obtained in violation of her Sixth Amendmentright to counsel, the Court concludes that the Sixth Amendment isinapplicable because the defendant had not been charged with anyoffense related to the subjects of her statements at the timethat she made them. See Illinois v. Perkins, 496 U.S. 292, 299,110 S.Ct. 2394, 110 L.Ed.2d 243 (1990).

17. Nor is information in the warrant affidavit from reliableconfidential informants concerning other residences used for drugdealing sufficient to alter this conclusion. Such informationsupplements the probable cause to believe that Ms. Little and thedefendant were engaged in a wide-ranging PCP conspiracy.

RULING ON MOTIONS TO SUPPRESS

The defendant, Kimberly Graham, was indicted for conspiracy topossess with intent to distribute 100 grams and more of mixturesand substances containing a detectable amount of phencyclidine(PCP) in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 846. She hasfiled a motion to suppress physical evidence, a motion tosuppress statements, and a motion to suppress evidence seizedfrom her residence. For the following reasons, each of themotions to suppress is DENIED

I. Background

The defendant claims several violations of the Fourth, Fifth,and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution in hersuppression motions. These claims arise mainly from a motorvehicle stop on November 13, 1999, by police officers assigned tothe New Haven Drug Task Force. During the stop, the officerssearched the vehicle and seized two bottles of liquid PCP. Thedefendant, who was driving the car, made statements to theofficers following their discovery of the PCP Although thedefendant was not arrested at that time, Task Force officerslater obtained and executed a search warrant for the defendant'shome at 10 Rosewood Avenue in New Haven, Connecticut, from whichthey recovered additional evidence.1

The defendant was charged by a single-count indictment onNovember 30, 1999 with conspiracy to possess with intent todistribute 100 grams and more of mixtures and substancescontaining a detectable amount of PCP. On March 9, 2000, thedefendant filed a motion to suppress physical evidence on theground that the Task Force officers lacked probable cause to stopor search the car she was driving on November 13, 1999, includinga search of her purse found in the car, in violation of theFourth and Fourteenth Amendments.2 The defendant also filed amotion to suppress statements on March 9, 2000, claiming that herstatements to the officers following their discovery of the PCPwere made in violation of the Fourth, Fifth, and FourteenthAmendments. In addition, on March 10, 1999, the defendant filed amotion to suppress evidence seized from 10Rosewood Avenue on the ground that the search warrant lackedprobable cause, was based in part on illegally seized evidencefrom the car stop, and included false and misleading informationin violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.3 TheCourt conducted evidentiary hearings on the motions to suppresson June 19 and 27, 2000.

II. Findings of Facts

The Court makes the following findings of fact based on theevidence presented at the hearings on the suppression motions,which the government has proven by a preponderance of theevidence. See U.S. v. Matlock, 415 U.S. 164, 177 & n. 14, 94S.Ct. 988, 39 L.Ed.2d 242 (1974).

The Drug Enforcement Administration in New York City began aninvestigation in July 1999 of Mark Godfrey Theus, also known as"Sanchez," a suspected distributor of liquid PCP. During thecourse of its investigation, the DEA learned that Mr. Theus wasproviding PCP to Michelle Little and other individuals in NewHaven, Connecticut. The DEA contacted the Task Force in New Havento determine whether it had any information concerning Ms. Littleor the other individuals. The Task Force then began its owninvestigation of Ms. Little, among others. As part of theirinvestigation, Task Force officers received information fromreliable confidential informants confirming that Ms. Little wasinvolved in selling PCP with an unidentified female partner. Theyalso observed Mr. Theus at Ms. Little's home in New Haven. Inaddition, they conducted judicially authorized electronicsurveillance of Ms. Little, which included wiretaps of hertelephone.4 The Task Force had no information concerning thedefendant or her suspected involvement in criminal activity,however, prior to November 13, 1999.

On November 12, 1999, Task Force officers monitored a telephonecall between Mr. Theus and Ms. Little, in which they agreed tomeet the next day in New York so that Ms. Little could purchasePCP from Mr. Theus. Ms. Little called 10 Rosewood Avenue the nextmorning and asked to speak to "Kim." When the person who answeredthe phone refused to awaken Kim, Ms. Little indicated that shewould stop by and awaken Kim herself. Ms. Little then paged Mr.Theus, who called her in response. Mr. Theus and Ms. Littlearranged to meet at a car wash in New York City, where they hadmet on previous occasions, so that Ms. Little could purchase nineounces of liquid PCP from Mr. Theus. Ms. Little also indicated toMr. Theus that she would leave Connecticut around 10:00 a.m. andwould bring someone with her.

Task Force officers placed Ms. Little under physicalsurveillance and followed her in a gray Lexus to 10 RosewoodAvenue, where she picked up a female later identified as thedefendant.5 The officers followed the two women in the Lexusas they headed south on Interstates 91 and 95 toward New York.After breaking off their surveillance near Fairfield,Connecticut, the officers alerted the DEA in New York.

Shortly thereafter, the DEA advised the Task Force that itsagents observed Mr. Theus meet with Ms. Little and the defendantat the car wash, and that the women were headed back toConnecticut in theLexus. Task Force officers resumed physical surveillance of theLexus as it returned to Connecticut and headed toward New Haven.Detective Samuel Cotto and Detective Rafael Segarra, who were NewHaven police officers assigned to the Task Force, decided to stopthe Lexus. They hoped to recover the nine ounces of PCP discussedin the conversation between Mr. Theus and Ms. Little, which theysuspected would be in the car following the meeting at the carwash. After observing the Lexus speeding at approximately 85 to90 miles per hour, the detectives stopped the car on Route 80near Middletown, Connecticut. The detectives were wearing policeuniforms and driving a marked police cruiser in order to appearas if the stop were a routine traffic stop.

As the detectives approached the Lexus, they observed thedefendant in the driver's seat and Ms. Little in the frontpassenger seat. Neither the defendant nor Ms. Little was wearinga seatbelt. Detective Cotto told the defendant and Ms. Littlethat they had been stopped because they were speeding. He askedthe defendant to get out of the car and sit in the police cruiserwhile Detective Segarra prepared an infraction for drivingwithout a seatbelt. Detective Cotto told the defendant that shewould receive only a verbal warning for speeding, and said to her"you'll be on your way" once the seatbelt infraction wasprepared. Neither police officer mentioned the PCP investigation,and neither the defendant nor Ms. Little was placed under arrest.However, Detective Cotto patted down the defendant with the backof his hand before placing her in the back of the police cruiser.

As Detective Segarra sat in the driver's seat of the policecruiser, Detective Cotto returned to the Lexus. He asked Ms.Little for the vehicle's registration and insurance card so thatDetective Segarra could prepare the infraction. Ms. Little openedthe glove box and, as she did so, Detective Cotto observed asmall bottle roll forward. Ms. Little attempted to cover thebottle with her left hand while handing the registration andinsurance information to the detective with her right hand.6Detective Cotto recognized the bottle as matching a descriptionpreviously provided by the DEA in New York of the ounce-sizepackages of PCP sold by Mr. Theus. He also saw that theclear-glass bottle contained a yellow-brown liquid substanceconsistent with the color of liquid PCP.

Detective Cotto asked Ms. Little to get out of the car andplaced her in the back of the police cruiser with the defendant.He then went back to the car and seized the bottle from the glovebox. He opened it and immediately smelled the odor of PCP.7He returned to the police cruiser with the bottle and asked Ms.Little and the defendant what was in it. They indicated at firstthat it was musk cologne, and then told the detective that it wasa spiritual oil that they purchased in New Haven. AlthoughDetective Cotto believed the substance in the bottle was PCP, hedid not reveal that he thought it was PCP. He expressed doubt asto whether it was spiritual oil and indicated that he was goingto send it to a laboratory and have it analyzed.

Given the small size of the bottle, and believing that therewere at least nine ounces of liquid PCP in the Lexus, DetectiveCotto returned to the car and looked inside it. He slid the frontseat of the car forward and discovered an open purse on the floorof the back seat. In the top of the purse, Detective Cotto couldsee asecond, larger clear-glass juice bottle containing a similaryellow-brown liquid substance consistent with the color of liquidPCP.8 He seized the second bottle, opened it, and immediatelysmelled the odor of PCP. Again, he returned to the police cruiserwith the bottle and asked Ms. Little and the defendant what wasin it without revealing that he thought it was PCP. Theyindicated that it, too, was spiritual oil. Detective Cotto thenexpressed doubt as to whether it was spiritual oil and indicatedthat he was going to have it tested as well. He also indicatedthat if the substance were determined not to be spiritual oil,warrants for their arrests would probably be issued. DetectiveCotto stated again, however, that Ms. Little and the defendantwere not going to be arrested at that time.

When Detective Segarra finished preparing the infraction andthe defendant got out of the police cruiser, he explained to herhow she should respond to the ticket. At the same time, DetectiveCotto accompanied Ms. Little from the police cruiser back to theLexus. He asked her who owned the purse, and she indicated thatshe did not know, that it was left there by the owner of the car.Detective Cotto told Ms. Little that since she did not know whothe purse belonged to, he would go through it and find out whoowned it. As he began looking through the purse foridentification, the defendant approached him and asked what hewas doing going through her purse. The detective gave the purseback to the defendant. She and Ms. Little then left the scene,and the detectives field-tested the liquid from the seizedbottles, which tested positive for liquid PCP. The entireencounter lasted approximately ten minutes.

Later that day, the Task Force monitored a telephone callbetween Ms. Little and the defendant, in which they discussed thecar stop and the seizure of PCP. The defendant also indicatedthat she going to purchase additional PCP.9 Ms. Little andMr. Theus also discussed the car stop and the seizure of PCP overthe telephone later that night.

On November 14, 1999, Ms. Little and Mr. Theus spoke again andagreed to meet where they had met the previous day, at the carwash in New York City. The Task Force and DEA in New Yorkconducted physical surveillance of the defendant and Ms. Littleas they traveled to New York City in a green Mazda. The DEAfurther advised the Task Force that Ms. Little and the defendantmet with Mr. Theus at the car wash and were returning toConnecticut in the Mazda. Task Force officers conducted physicalsurveillance of the Mazda, which they learned was registered tothe defendant's mother, as it returned to Connecticut.10 Theyfollowed the Mazda to a residence in New Haven, which theysubsequently learned from a reliable confidential informant wasused for drug dealing activities, and later observed it parked atthe defendant's residence at 10 Rosewood Avenue. Based on thepreceding information, on November 16, 1999. Senior U.S. DistrictJudge Ellen B. Burns signed a search warrant for 10 RosewoodAvenue. Task Force officers executed the search warrant onNovember 18, 1999 and recovered evidence from the defendant'sbedroom at the residence.11

III. Discussion

A. Legitimate Expectation of Privacy in the Lexus and Its Contents

The government initially contends that the defendant had nolegitimate expectation of privacy in the Lexus, which wasregistered to Ms. Little, and thus she cannot challenge the stopor search of the Lexus. Although the government concedes that thedefendant had a legitimate expectation of privacy in her purse,which was found in the Lexus, the government argues that thedefendant did not have a sufficient property interest orpossessory interest in the car to create a legitimate expectationof privacy in the car itself. See Rakas v. Illinois,439 U.S. 128, 148-49, 99 S.Ct. 421, 58 L.Ed.2d 387 (1978) (Rehnquist, J.,plurality). The government therefore argues that the defendant'sFourth Amendment rights were not violated by the stop or searchof the Lexus, even if the stop and search were illegal.12See id. at 134, 148-50, 99 S.Ct. 421; see also United Statesv. Osorio, 949 F.2d 38, 40 (2d Cir. 1991).

In light of the circumstances of the car stop, however, seeRakas, 439 U.S. at 152, 99 S.Ct. 421 (Powell, J., concurring),the Court concludes that the defendant had a legitimateexpectation of privacy in the Lexus. Although the defendant didnot own the Lexus, she was driving it at the time of the stop.She also had permission to use the car, as indicated by Ms.Little's presence in the car with her. In addition, with theexception of Ms. Little, the defendant had exclusive dominion andcontrol of the Lexus. This conclusion is further supported by thenature of the close personal relationship between the defendantand Ms. Little, which was stronger than an ordinarydriver-passenger relationship.13 Accordingly, the Courtconcludes that the defendant had a possessory interest in the carsufficient to create a legitimate expectation of privacy in it.See United States v. Sanchez, 635 F.2d 47, 64 (2d Cir. 1980),United States v. Ochs, 595 F.2d 1247, 1253 (2d Cir.), cert.denied, 444 U.S. 955, 100 S.Ct. 435, 62 L.Ed.2d 328 (1979). TheCourt therefore proceeds to consider the merits of thedefendant's suppression motions related to the car stop, as wellas her motion concerning the search of 10 Rosewood Avenue. SeeOchs, 595 F.2d at 1253.

B. Probable Cause to Stop the Lexus

The defendant moved to suppress the two bottles of PCP seizedas a result of the car stop and the subsequent search of theLexus, including a search of her purse, claiming that her rightsunder the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments were violated.

"An ordinary traffic stop constitutes a limited seizure withinthe meaning of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. . . .Accordingly, such stops must be justified by probable cause or areasonable suspicion, based on specific and articulable facts."United States v. Scopo, 19 F.3d 777, 781 (2d Cir.), cert.denied, 513 U.S. 877, 115 S.Ct. 207, 130 L.Ed.2d 136 (1994),see also Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806, 809-10, 116S.Ct. 1769, 135 L.Ed.2d 89 (1996). Probable cause arises when apolice officer reasonably believes that an offense has beencommitted or is being committed. See Scopo, 19 F.3d at 781.Furthermore, "probable cause is a fluid concept — turning on theassessment of probabilities in particular factual contexts."Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 232, 103 S.Ct. 2317, 76L.Ed.2d 527 (1983). "[O]nly the probability, and not a primafacie showing, of criminal activity is thestandard of probable cause." Id. at 235, 103 S.Ct. 2317(internal quotations omitted).

1. Probable Cause to Believe There Was PCP in the Lexus

The defendant concedes that the Task Force had reason tobelieve that Ms. Little was involved in a narcotics transactionon November 13, 1999, and that the Task Force officers had areasonable suspicion to believe that there might be narcotics inthe Lexus at the time of the car stop.14 The defendantcontends, however, that Detectives Cotto and Segarra lackedprobable cause to stop the Lexus, which resulted in the seizureof the two bottles of PCP and gave rise to the defendantstatements that the bottles contained spiritual oil and that sheowned the purse from which the larger bottle was seized. TheCourt nevertheless concludes that the police officers hadprobable cause to believe that there were narcotics in the Lexus,and thus probable cause to stop the car on that basis.

The Task Force had extensive information concerning Ms.Little's involvement in selling PCP prior to the car stop onNovember 13, 1999, both from its own investigation of her andfrom the DEA's investigation of Mr. Theus in New York. Thisinformation included information gathered from reliableconfidential informants and from physical and electronicsurveillance of Ms. Little and Mr. Theus. It included monitoredtelephone calls between Ms. Little and Mr. Theus, including thecall on the morning of the car stop in which Ms. Little arrangedto meet Mr. Theus at the car wash in New York and purchase nineounces of liquid PCP. The Task Force and the DEA also confirmedthe trip to New York and the meeting at the car wash withphysical surveillance. Shortly before the car stop, the DEAadvised the Task Force that it observed Ms. Little and thedefendant meet with Mr. Theus in New York, and that Ms. Littleand the defendant were on their way back toward Connecticut inthe Lexus. Detectives Cotto and Segarra, who were assigned to theTask Force, intercepted the Lexus as it returned to Connecticutand decided to stop it and search for the nine ounces of PCP.

Based on the totality of these circumstances, see id. at 238,103 S.Ct. 2317, the Court concludes that there was probable causeto suspect that there were narcotics in the Lexus at the time ofthe stop Detectives Cotto and Segarra, who were involved in theTask Force's PCP investigation of Ms. Little and the surveillanceof the Lexus on November 13, 1999, clearly had a reasonable basisfor believing that there was PCP in the Lexus at the time theystopped it. See also, e.g., United States v. Ross,456 U.S. 798, 817 & n. 22, 102 S.Ct. 2157, 72 L.Ed.2d 572 (1982)(involving a similar factual situation). The car stop thereforedid not violate the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.

2. Probable Cause to Believe the Lexus Was Speeding

Alternatively, the government has presented evidence that theLexus was speeding at the time it was stopped by Detectives Cottoand Segarra. The defendant does not dispute that speeding is aviolation of Connecticut law. See Conn. Gen.Stat. § 14-219. TheCourt also credits Detective Cotto's testimony that the car wasspeeding at approximately 85 to 90 miles per hour, in violationof Connecticut law. See id. The Court therefore concludesthat there was probable cause to stop the Lexus for speeding,regardless of the officers' true motive for the stop or whetherthe defendant ultimately received a ticket for speeding. SeeScopo, 19 F.3d at 782 ("When an officer observes a trafficoffense-however minor-he has probable cause to stop the driver ofthe vehicle."); see also United States v. Dhinsa, 171 F.3d 721,725 (2d Cir. 1998).

C. Probable Cause to Search the Lexus

The defendant further contends that, even if there wereprobable cause to stop the Lexus for speeding or some othertraffic violation, such a violation did not justify the scope ofthe search of the Lexus by Detective Cotto. In support of thiscontention, the defendant argues that Detective Cotto's search ofthe Lexus exceeded the scope of what is permitted during aroutine traffic stop under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.She also contends that she was entitled to a heightenedexpectation of privacy in her purse because of its very personalnature, and thus that Detective Cotto was not entitled to searchit during the traffic stop. In addition, because the Task Forcehad no information concerning the defendant or her involvement incriminal activity prior to November 13, 1999, the defendantcontends that the search of her purse was not supported byindependent probable cause to believe that there were narcoticsin it.

1. Search Based on Probable Cause to Believe There Was PCP in the Lexus

Although the Court agrees that probable cause to stop a car forspeeding does not, without more, justify a full search of thecar, see Knowles, 525 U.S. at 114, 119 S.Ct. 484, the policeofficers in this case had probable cause to believe that therewas PCP in the Lexus. See supra Part III.A.1. Detective Cottotherefore had probable cause to search the Lexus for narcotics,including every part of the Lexus and its contents that mighthave concealed narcotics. See Ross, 456 U.S. at 825, 102 S.Ct.2157 ("If probable cause justifies the search of a lawfullystopped vehicle, it justifies the search of every part of thevehicle and its contents that may conceal the object of thesearch."). Accordingly, because the defendant's purse was foundin the car and could have concealed PCP, Detective Cotto hadprobable cause to search it during the car stop. See Wyoming v.Houghton, 526 U.S. 295, 307, 119 S.Ct. 1297, 143 L.Ed.2d 408(1999).15

2. Search Based on Probable Cause to Believe the Lexus Was Speeding

Even if the police officers initially lacked probable cause tobelieve that there were narcotics in the Lexus, and thus lackedprobable cause to stop the car on any basis other than forspeeding, the search of the Lexus, including the search of thedefendant's purse, would be permitted underthe "plain view" exception to the Fourth and FourteenthAmendments.

"The plain view doctrine is a well-recognized exception to theFourth Amendment warrant requirement." Ruggiero v. Krzeminski,928 F.2d 558, 561 (2d Cir. 1991) (internal quotation marksomitted). "The plain view exception to the warrant requirementauthorizes seizure of illegal or evidentiary items visible to apolice officer whose access to the object has some prior FourthAmendment justification and who has probable cause to suspectthat the item is connected with criminal activity." Scopo, 19F.3d at 782 (internal quotation marks omitted). "Under thisexception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement, a policeofficer may seize evidence when in plain view if: (1) theofficer's initial intrusion was permissible under the FourthAmendment; (2) the discovery of evidence is inadvertent; and (3)the nature of the evidence found is immediately apparent." Id.(internal quotation marks omitted).

Detectives Cotto and Segarra had independent probable cause tostop the Lexus for speeding. See supra Part III. A.2. As theyapproached the Lexus, they also observed the defendant in thedriver's seat and Ms. Little in the front passenger seat. Neitherthe defendant nor Ms. Little was wearing a seatbelt, which wasalso a violation of Connecticut law. See Conn. Gen.Stat. §14-100a. It was therefore constitutionally permissible for thedetectives to request the car's registration, which DetectiveCotto did while standing next to the Lexus. See United States v.Boucher, 909 F.2d 1170, 1173 (8th Cir.), cert. denied,498 U.S. 942, 111 S.Ct. 350, 112 L.Ed.2d 314 (1990) (citingCommonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106, 111, 98S.Ct. 330, 54 L.Ed.2d 331 (1977)).

When Detective Cotto asked Ms. Little for the vehicle'sregistration and insurance card so that Detective Segarra couldprepare an infraction for driving without a seatbelt, she openedthe glove box. As she did so, Detective Cotto observed a smallbottle roll forward. In addition, as the bottle rolled forward inthe glove box, Ms. Little attempted to cover it with her lefthand while handing the registration and insurance information tothe detective with her right hand. As indicated, Detective Cottorecognized the bottle as matching a description previouslyprovided by the DEA in New York of the ounce-size packages of PCPsold by Mr. Theus. He also saw that the clear-glass bottlecontained a yellow-brown liquid substance consistent with thecolor of liquid PCP. The Court concludes from this evidence thatDetective Cotto observed the bottle from outside the car, hisobservation was an inadvertent result of the vehicle registrationcheck, and the illegal nature of the bottle was immediateapparent to him. Consequently, because the bottle of PCP was inplain view, neither its observation or its subsequent seizureinvolved any invasion of privacy warranting suppression. SeeHorton v. California, 496 U.S. 128, 133, 141, 110 S.Ct. 2301,110 L.Ed.2d 112 (1990).

Once Detective Cotto placed Ms. Little in the back of thepolice cruiser with the defendant and returned to the Lexus, hefurther confirmed that it was PCP by opening the bottle andsmelling its contents. By this point, Detective Cotto also hadprobable cause to believe that there were narcotics in the Lexus.Accordingly, he had probable cause to search the Lexus morefully, including probable cause to move the seat forward, whichhe did. See Ross, 456 U.S. at 825, 102 S.Ct. 2157. Furthermore,once Detective Cotto moved the seat forward, he observed thesecond, larger bottle of PCP in the top of the defendant's purse,which the Court also concludes was in plain view at that point.

D. Statements by the Defendant

As there was no violation of the Fourth Amendment resultingfrom the stop or search of the Lexus, including a search ofthe defendant's purse, the defendant's statements to DetectivesCotto and Segarra that the bottles contained spiritual oil andthat she owned the purse from which the larger bottle was seizedwere not fruits of an unlawful search and seizure, which must besuppressed. See Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471,484-86, 83 S.Ct. 407, 9 L.Ed.2d 441 (1963). However, thedefendant also contends that her statements to the policeofficers during the car stop constitute a violation of her rightsunder the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

Although the parties agree that the defendant and Ms. Littlewere not placed under arrest during the car stop, the defendantcontends that she was questioned by the detectives concerning thesubstance in the bottles seized from the car and ownership of herpurse in violation of her Fifth Amendment rights againstcompelled self-incrimination. While there is no dispute that thedefendant did not receive Miranda warnings prior to beingquestioned concerning the substance in the seized bottles orprior to indicating that she owned the purse, the Court concludesthat the defendant was not in custody for the purpose ofrequiring Miranda warnings under the Fifth Amendment. SeeDickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428, 120 S.Ct. 2326, 147L.Ed.2d 405 (2000) (discussing the constitutional rule announcedin Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d694 (1966)).

"Miranda safeguards come into play whenever a person incustody is subjected to either express questioning or itsfunctional equivalent." State of Rhode Island v. Innis,446 U.S. 291, 300-01, 100 S.Ct. 1682, 64 L.Ed.2d 297 (1980). Therelevant inquiry in determining whether a suspect is "in custody"at a particular time is how a reasonable person in the suspect'sposition would have understood the situation. See Berkemer v.McCarty, 468 U.S. 420, 442, 104 S.Ct. 3138, 82 L.Ed.2d 317(1984). While acknowledging that few motorists would feel free todisobey a police officer during a traffic stop, the Supreme Courthas nevertheless determined that a car stop does notautomatically render a suspect "in custody" for the purpose ofrequiring Miranda warnings. See id. at 436-37, 86 S.Ct. 1602.A motorist instead must show that he or she was subject torestraints comparable to those associated with a formal arrest,which restraints are not present in a typical, public trafficstop that lasts for a brief period of time. See id. at 437-39,441.

1. Statements Concerning the Substance in the Bottles

In this case, Detective Cotto told the defendant and Ms. Littlethat they had been stopped for speeding. He asked the defendantto leave the Lexus and sit in the back of the police cruiserwhile Detective Segarra prepared an infraction for drivingwithout a seatbelt. Although Detective Cotto patted down thedefendant and placed her in the police cruiser, he also told herthen that she would receive a verbal warning for speeding andindicated that she would be free to leave once the infraction wasprepared. In addition, Detective Cotto placed Ms. Little in theback of the police cruiser with the defendant, without making anyeffort to separate them. When he confronted them with the bottlesof PCP, he asked them what the bottles contained and thenindicated that he would have them analyzed at the laboratory.However, at no time did Detective Cotto or Detective Segarramention the PCP investigation or their suspicions that thebottles contained PCP. Detective Cotto also reiterated thatneither of them would be placed under arrest at that time.

In light of these circumstances, the Court concludes that theencounter was not so "police dominated" as to rise to the levelof a custodial interrogation. See id. at 439, 86 S.Ct. 1602.Although the defendant may have been apprehensive during theencounter, particularly when confronted with the bottles of PCPand questioned about their contents, at no time was shearrested or threatened with arrest. Rather, the defendant wastold that she would not be arrested.

Furthermore, because Detective Cotto explained that thedefendant would receive an infraction and indicated that shewould then be free to leave, his patting her down and placing herin the police cruiser was, from an objective viewpoint,insufficient to convey the message that she was not free toleave. See Nova v. Bartlett, 63 F. Supp.2d 449, 452-53 (S.D.N Y1999), aff'd, 211 F.3d 705 (2d Cir. 2000). The fact thatDetective Cotto presented the defendant with the bottles of PCPalso was insufficient to escalate the encounter into a custodialinterrogation, particularly because the defendant was not awareof PCP investigation, Detective Cotto's role in such aninvestigation, or his suspicions concerning PCP in the bottles.Cf., e.g., id. at 454-57; United States v. Murray,89 F.3d 459, 461 (7th Cir. 1996) (involving a police officer showing thedefendant a firearm and questioning him about it while in theback of a squad car); Boucher, 909 F.2d at 1174 (involving apolice officer's unrevealed suspicions concerning a concealedfirearm). In addition, the encounter occurred on a publicthoroughfare and lasted approximately ten minutes, which confirmsthat there was no custodial interrogation. Cf., e.g., Berkemer,468 U.S. at 441-42, 104 S.Ct. 3138; United States v. Wong,867 F.2d 754, 756 (2d Cir. 1989); Nova, 63 F. Supp.2d at 454-57.

2. Statement Concerning Ownership of the Purse

The Court also concludes that, even if the defendant were incustody while in the police cruiser, she was not in custody forthe purpose of requiring Miranda warnings when she indicated toDetective Cotto that she owned the purse from which the second,larger bottle of PCP was seized. In addition to the precedingfactors, the Court reaches this conclusion based on the factthat, at the time the defendant indicated that she owned thepurse, she had received her infraction from Detective Segarra,who explained to her how she should respond to it, and she was nolonger in the police cruiser. She was free to leave. Sheapproached Detective Cotto at the Lexus voluntarily and asked himwhat he was doing with her purse. Accordingly, even if DetectiveCotto's actions in searching through the purse were reasonablylikely to elicit an incriminating response from the defendant,see Innis, 446 U.S. at 301, 100 S.Ct. 1682, she was not subjectto restraints comparable to a formal arrest at that time. Nor,absent any evidence of additional compulsion, which the defendanthas not offered, would the suppression of any statements by thedefendant while she was in the police cruiser require thesuppression of her later, otherwise admissible statementconcerning ownership of her purse. See generally Oregon v.Elstad, 470 U.S. 298, 105 S.Ct. 1285, 84 L.Ed.2d 222 (1985). Herstatement concerning ownership of the purse therefore was notcompelled in violation of her rights under the Fifth andFourteenth Amendments, even if her earlier statements wereobtained in violation of such rights.16

E. Search Warrant for 10 Rosewood Avenue

Finally, the defendant contends that the search warrant for 10Rosewood Avenue was not supported by probable cause, was based inpart on illegally seized evidence from the car stop, and includedfalse and misleading information in violation of the Fourth andFourteenth Amendments. However, because the car stop did notresult in any violation of the Fourth, Fifth,or Fourteenth Amendments, the Court concludes as an initialmatter that the search warrant was not based on illegally seizedevidence from that encounter.

Based on the totality of circumstances surrounding the issuanceof the search warrant for 10 Rosewood Avenue, see Gates, 462U.S. at 230, 103 S.Ct. 2317, the Court also concludes that thesearch warrant was supported by probable cause. Following the carstop on November 13, 1999, which was recounted in the affidavitin support of the search warrant, there was a reasonable basis tobelieve that the defendant was involved with Ms. Little inselling PCP. The defendant had also been identified as "KimberlyGraham" by the time the warrant was prepared. The warrantaffidavit further indicated that the defendant lived at 10Rosewood Avenue and that the gray Lexus had been seen therepreviously. It also recounted the events of November 14, 1999. Onthat date, as indicated, Ms. Little and Mr. Theus spoke again andagreed to meet at the car wash in New York. The DEA in New Yorkadvised the Task Force later that day that Ms. Little and thedefendant met with Mr. Theus at the car wash and were returningtoward Connecticut in a green Mazda. Task Force officersconducted physical surveillance of the Mazda, which they learnedwas registered to the defendant's mother, as it returned toConnecticut. They followed the Mazda to a residence in New Haven,which they subsequently learned from a reliable confidentialinformant was used for drug dealing activities, and laterobserved it parked at the defendant's residence at 10 RosewoodAvenue. Accordingly, based on the information contained in thesearch warrant affidavit, there was a reasonable basis to believethat 10 Rosewood Avenue might be used for drug dealingactivities.17 Cf., e.g., United States v. Travisano,724 F.2d 341, 346-47 (2d Cir. 1983).

Even if the search warrant for 10 Rosewood Avenue lackedprobable cause, the defendant has failed to establish thatsuppression would be an appropriate remedy. The search warrantfor 10 Rosewood Avenue was authorized by Senior U.S. DistrictJudge Ellen B. Burns, and thus is entitled to great deference.See United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897, 914, 104 S.Ct. 3405,82 L.Ed.2d 677 (1984). Suppression is therefore appropriate onlyif Judge Burns was misled by knowingly false information in thewarrant affidavit, if she wholly abandoned her neutral judicialrole, if the warrant was so lacking in indicia of probable causeas to render official belief in its existence entirelyunreasonable, or if the warrant itself was do facially deficientthat the executing officers could not reasonably presume it to bevalid. See id. at 923, 104 S.Ct. 3405. The defendant haspresented no evidence in support of such claims, and the Courtconcludes that none of these justifications for suppression isapplicable in this case.

In particular, to the extent that the defendant challenges theveracity of the affidavit in support of the search warrant, theCourt concludes that the defendant has offered no basis fromwhich to conclude that the affidavit contained statements ofdeliberate falsehood or reckless disregard for the truth. SeeFranks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154, 155-56, 171-72, 98 S.Ct. 2674,57 L.Ed.2d 667 (1978). The defendant has identified no portion ofthe warrant affidavit that is claimed to be false, ordemonstrated that the warrant would lack probable cause withoutsuch portions. See id. at 171-72, 98 S.Ct. 2674. Nor has sheoffered sworn affidavits or statements from witnesses-or anexplanation for the absence of such evidence-from which toestablish that the warrant affidavit relied on by Judge Burns wasin any way false. See id. Accordingly, under no circumstancesis suppression of the evidence recovered from the search of 10Rosewood Avenue appropriate in this case.

IV. Conclusion

For the preceding reasons, the motion to suppress physicalevidence [Document # 41], the motion to suppress statements[Document # 45], and the motion to suppress evidence seized fromthe defendant's residence [Document # 47] are DENIED.

1. This evidence included $3,600.00, a leafy substance in tinfoil that contained PCP, mint leaves similar to those used toprepare PCP for ingestion, packaging materials, and a notebook.PCP is typically ingested by smoking mint leaves soaked in thedrug.

2. The defendant moved to suppress the two bottles of liquidPCP. It is unclear whether she also moved to suppress her purseas physical evidence; this opinion will assume that she did.

3. The defendant also contended that Task Force officersfailed to knock and announce their presence when executing thewarrant. However, as set forth on the record at the suppressionhearing, the defendant has withdrawn that claim.

4. The defendant does not contest the legality of thejudicially authorized electronic surveillance, including thewiretaps

5. It is unclear exactly when the Task Force identified thedefendant as "Kimberly Graham." However, it is undisputed thatthe Task Force had not identified her prior to the car stop onNovember 13, 1999. See also infra note 9. It is also undisputedthat the defendant resided at 10 Rosewood Avenue.

6. After providing Detective Cotto with the registration forthe Lexus, which indicated that the car belonged to "MichelleLittle," Ms. Little stated that she was "Michelle Durham," thatthe car did not belong to her, and that she and the defendant hadborrowed the car from a friend.

7. Detective Cotto testified that as a police officer he wasfamiliar with, and had smelled, liquid PCP before this incident.

8. The bottle had a juice label, but did not contain a red ormaroon liquid matching the appropriate juice color.

9. At Ms. Little's urging, however, the defendant returned toNew Haven so that they could pool their money. In addition, theTask Force had identified the defendant as "Kimberly Graham" bythis point. See also supra note 5.

10. The defendant's mother also resided at 10 RosewoodAvenue.

11. As set forth on the record at the suppression hearing, theCourt considers the post-car stop evidence only as it relates tothe validity of the search warrant for 10 Rosewood Avenue, whichwas prepared after the stop. It is not relevant to the validityof the car stop and has not been considered in relation to thatencounter.

12. In its proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law,the government contends that the defendant lacks standing tochallenge the car stop or the search of the car. The Courtinterprets this argument to mean that the defendant's FourthAmendment rights were not violated by the stop or search of thecar. See Rakas, 439 U.S. at 140, 99 S.Ct. 421 (Rehnquist, J.,plurality).

13. The defendant admits that she and Ms. Little were engagedin a romantic relationship.

14. The Court concludes that the police officers could havestopped the Lexus solely on the basis of this reasonablesuspicion admitted by the defendant. See Scopo, 19 F.3d at 781.Stopping the car on the basis of a reasonable suspicion, however,would not have permitted the police officers to search it asfully or thoroughly as a stop based on probable cause. SeeKnowles v. Iowa, 525 U.S. 113, 118-18, 119 S.Ct. 484, 142L.Ed.2d 492 (1998). In this regard, the defendant appears todispute whether there was probable cause to stop the Lexus as away of challenging the scope of the subsequent search of the car.See infra Part III.B.

15. Even if a woman's purse found in a car during a search fornarcotics might warrant a heightened expectation of privacy, andthus greater protection under the Fourth and FourteenthAmendments, the mere fact that a container is a purse does notalter the conclusion that a search supported by probable causeextends to a search of all containers capable of concealing theobject of the search. See Houghton, 526 U.S. at 308, 119 S.Ct.1297 (Breyer, J., concurring). Consequently, as in this case,where the defendant's purse was located under a seat in the Lexusand was not attached to her person, it would not warrant greaterprotection under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. See id.

Nor does the fact that Detective Cotto searched the purse attwo separate times during the encounter alter the conclusion thatthe search was constitutionally permissible. Because Ms. Littledenied ownership of the Lexus and stated that the purse did notbelong to her or to the defendant, and thus because it was stillnecessary to identify the purse's owner, the Court concludes thatthe second examination of the purse by Detective Cotto was merelya continuation of the initial examination. Cf., e.g., UnitedStates v. Huslage, 480 F. Supp. 870, 875 (W.D.Pa. 1979) (citingseveral appellate court decisions).

16. To the extent that the defendant also contends her variousstatements were obtained in violation of her Sixth Amendmentright to counsel, the Court concludes that the Sixth Amendment isinapplicable because the defendant had not been charged with anyoffense related to the subjects of her statements at the timethat she made them. See Illinois v. Perkins, 496 U.S. 292, 299,110 S.Ct. 2394, 110 L.Ed.2d 243 (1990).

17. Nor is information in the warrant affidavit from reliableconfidential informants concerning other residences used for drugdealing sufficient to alter this conclusion. Such informationsupplements the probable cause to believe that Ms. Little and thedefendant were engaged in a wide-ranging PCP conspiracy.

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