FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
MAINE [Hon. George Z. Singal, U.S. District Judge]
S. MacColl, with whom Thompson, Bull, Bass & MacColl,
LLC, P.A. were on brief, for appellant.
Renée M. Bunker, Assistant United States Attorney,
with whom Thomas E. Delahanty, II, United States Attorney,
was on brief, for appellee.
Lynch, Thompson, and Barron, Circuit Judges.
THOMPSON, Circuit Judge.
Lamar Young (Young) entered a conditional guilty plea and was
convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent
to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base, in violation
of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a) & (b)(1)(B), and
possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking
crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A). Before
us, Young challenges the district court's denial of his
motion to suppress evidence obtained by law enforcement
officers while executing a warrant for his arrest. Young
argues that the evidence was improperly seized when the
officers entered his girlfriend's apartment without
consent. After careful consideration, we conclude that the
officers had insufficient grounds to reasonably believe that
Young lived at or would be present at the apartment and,
therefore, lacked the necessary level of belief to justify
entering the apartment to execute the arrest warrant without
consent. Accordingly, we vacate Young's conviction,
reverse the district court's denial of his motion to
suppress, and remand for further proceedings.
recite the key facts as found by the district court,
consistent with the record support, noting
where relevant Young's contrary view of the testimony
presented at the suppression hearing. See, e.g.,
United States v. Werra, 638 F.3d
326, 328 (1st Cir. 2011).
March 11, 2014, the district court issued an arrest warrant
for Young following his indictment for conspiring to
distribute and possess with intent to distribute "28
grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a
detectable amount of cocaine base." That evening, six
Lewiston, Maine law-enforcement officers set out in search of
Young, traveling to three different residences and making
four different stops, before finally locating Young at a
fourth location. The search team included Lewiston police
officer and United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives (ATF) task force officer Ryan
Rawstron (Rawstron), Maine State Police trooper Thomas Pappas
(Pappas), who was assigned to the Maine Drug Enforcement
Agency (MDEA), Lewiston police officer and MDEA task force
officer Tyler Michaud (Michaud), Joey Brown (Brown) from the
Lewiston Police Department, Auburn police officer David
Madore (Madore), and trooper Kevin Rooney (Rooney) from the
Maine State Police Department (collectively, and for
simplicity's sake, we will refer to the task force
officers, police officers, and trooper as
officers began their search at the Howe Street residence of
Kayla Davidson (Davidson), where the officers had located
Young during a prior investigation. Officer Rawstron had also
spoken with Davidson "shortly before" that night,
and Davidson had informed him during that conversation that
she was dating Young. Davidson had further informed officer
Rawstron that Young had stayed with her at another apartment
on Ash Street. Neither Young nor Davidson was at the Howe
Street apartment when the officers arrived. The officers then
decided to check the Ash Street apartment, where Young and
Davidson had previously stayed with another woman, Stephanie
Webster (Webster). Young and Davidson were not at the Ash
Street apartment either.
point, the officers traveled to the residence of yet another
woman, Crystal, who lived on Horton Street. The officers
apparently "had information" that Young had, at
some point in the past, also been staying with Crystal.
Officer Rawstron testified at the suppression hearing that
the officers "were familiar with" Crystal and the
Horton Street address because they "had  done a
controlled buy at that . . . address . . . fairly shortly
before." When the officers arrived, Crystal was there,
with someone she was dating (not Young), but Young was, once
again, not present.
ideas, and having failed to locate Young - or Davidson - thus
far, the officers circled back to where they had begun their
night, Davidson's Howe Street apartment. This time they
ran into Webster, whose Ash Street apartment they had visited
earlier in the evening. Webster, in exchange for the
officer's promise to forgo taking her to jail that night
on outstanding warrants and instead allow her to turn herself
in the following day, told them that if Young was not at her
apartment on Ash Street, or Davidson's apartment on Howe
Street, or Crystal's on Horton Street, then "he had
to be back with his former girlfriend" "Jen"
on Walnut Street. According to Webster, Young had stayed with
"Jen" "on and off, again a couple nights here
and there" when he was not with Davidson. Not knowing
the address, Webster provided the officers with a description
of the building.
the officers had no way of knowing that Young was not, in
fact, with Davidson as they had failed to locate either of
them, the officers then traveled to the Walnut Street
apartment building Webster had described. The six officers
arrived at approximately 11:00 p.m. Spotting a familiar car
parked outside the apartment building, officer Rawstron
realized that "Jen" was Jennifer Coleman (Coleman).
Officer Rawstron knew Coleman from a prior investigation, and
knew that she had previously lived with Young in an apartment
on Tampa Street. Based on that prior investigation, officer
Michaud also knew that Coleman and Young had an
"off-again, on-again" relationship.
their arrival, officers Michaud and Brown positioned
themselves at the front of Coleman's apartment building
by a fire escape, while officers Rooney and Madore guarded
the back of the building. Meanwhile officers Rawstron and
Pappas, both armed and wearing bulletproof vests emblazoned
with the word "police, " entered Coleman's
apartment building through a back door and climbed the three
flights of stairs to Coleman's apartment. The landing in
front of Coleman's door was too narrow for both officers
Rawstron and Pappas to stand on with their equipment. So,
they quickly positioned themselves with Rawstron in the front
at Coleman's door and Pappas behind him, three or four
steps down, with his head level with the doorknob. Once in
position, officer Rawstron knocked on Coleman's apartment
door. He heard someone from inside the apartment ask who was
at the door, but did not respond as was his usual practice.
than a minute later, Coleman's 22-year-old daughter
opened the door. Officer Rawstron asked her where her mother
was and began to ask about Young when he noticed Coleman -
who had been lying in bed in her room at the opposite end of
the hallway - walking down the hallway to the front door.
Coleman reached the officers within seconds but, by that
time, officer Rawstron had, without consent, stepped into the
apartment, and Pappas had moved to stand in the doorway so
that he could scan the hallway. Once inside her apartment,
officer Rawstron asked Coleman if Young was there. Coleman
told officer Rawstron that her kids and Young were present.
Officer Rawstron then told Coleman that he needed to speak to
Young and, again without asking for consent, he immediately
walked by her and down the hallway. Trooper Pappas followed.
Both officers drew their weapons. Officer Rawstron also
carried a flashlight.
officers Rawstron and Pappas reached Coleman's bedroom,
officer Michaud, who was still guarding the front of
Coleman's apartment building, observed one of
Coleman's front blinds lift up, Young look out the
window, and then the blinds close. A few seconds after the
blinds went down, Michaud saw flashlights "scan across
inside the apartment, officer Rawstron had reached
Coleman's bedroom door, pushed aside a curtain that was
covering the doorway, and discovered Young kneeling on the
bed. Seeing Young on the bed, officer Rawstron immediately
pointed his firearm and flashlight at Young and ordered him
to show his hands. Officer Pappas, who was positioned behind
officer Rawstron, also pointed his firearm at Young. Young
complied. Officer Rawstron holstered his weapon, grabbed
Young's right arm, and ...