United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS
A. WOODCOCK, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Court denies a defendant's motion to suppress evidence,
finding that the police stop of his rented Kia was justified
either by the defendant's traffic infractions witnessed
by the state trooper or based on cumulative specific and
articulable facts that the defendant was engaged in the
transportation of illegal drugs. Based on the record
evidence, the Court finds that the defendant voluntarily
consented to the search of the Kia and that his initial
statements to law enforcement were noncustodial and not
subject to Miranda warnings. Finding no Fourth
Amendment violation, the Court also rejects the
defendant's claim that the results of a later search of
the Kia consented to by the owner, namely the rental company,
should be suppressed as the fruit of the poisonous tree,
because the Court concludes the tree was not poisonous to
begin with. Finally, the Court rejects the defendant's
claim that under Byrd v. United States, 138 S.Ct.
1518 (2018), he has a Fourth Amendment interest in the
contents of his girlfriend's automobile that was
December 17, 2018, a federal grand jury indicted Richard
Beauregard, alleging that he committed two federal crimes on
November 7, 2018: Count One alleged that he conspired with
others to distribute fentanyl and Count Two that he possessed
fentanyl with the intent to distribute it, each a violation
of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). Indictment (ECF No.
1). On February 28, 2019, Mr. Beauregard filed a motion to
suppress evidence, alleging that law enforcement did not have
a reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle Mr. Beauregard was
operating. Mr. Beauregard's Mot. to Suppress and
Dismiss (ECF No. 34) (Def.'s
Mot.). On April 8, 2019, the Government filed its
opposition to the motion to suppress. Gov't's
Resp. in Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. to Suppress (ECF
No. 41) (Gov't's Opp'n). On May 7, 2019,
the Court issued notice of an evidentiary hearing on the
motion to suppress, setting the hearing for May 29, 2019.
Notice of Hr'g (ECF No. 42). The Court held the
evidentiary hearing on May 29, 2019. Min. Entry (ECF
No. 43). At the close of the evidence, the parties argued
orally and submitted the motion to the Court for ruling.
POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES
The Defendant's Motion
motion, Mr. Beauregard argues that law enforcement was
without reasonable articulable suspicion to stop the vehicle
he was operating on November 7, 2018. Def.'s
Mot. at 1. He maintains that his prolonged detention at
the traffic stop was illegal and that he did not voluntarily
consent to a search of the vehicle. Id. He says that
the canine sniff search lacked probable cause, that the
canine was not properly handled or trained,  and that the
further search lacked probable cause. Id. He argues
that law enforcement obtained any statements in violation of
Miranda v. Arizona, and his statements should be
suppressed. 384 U.S. 436 (1966). Id.
The Government's Response
Government points out that law enforcement stopped two
vehicles on November 7, 2018 in the breakdown lane of the
Maine Turnpike. Gov't's Opp'n at 1-6.
Mr. Beauregard was operating the first vehicle that the
police stopped: a blue Kia bearing New Hampshire license
plates. Id. at 3-4. The second vehicle was a 2002
Dodge Caravan bearing Maine license plates, operated by Megan
Shockley. Id. at 6. The Government argues that Mr.
Beauregard does not have standing to challenge the stop and
search of the Caravan owned by Ms. Shockley. Further, the
Government contends that the police stop and the search of
the Caravan were legal because Ms. Shockley had an
outstanding arrest warrant, she admitted that she was
carrying contraband on her person, and she produced a small
quantity of heroin and cocaine as well as a hypodermic
needle. Id. at 7. After a canine alerted to the odor
of a controlled substance in the Caravan, a trooper searched
the Caravan and found heroin (approximately 210 grams) in a
pair of pants and crack cocaine (approximately 15 grams) in a
sock. Id. at 6-7. The Government says that Mr.
Beauregard has no standing to object to the search of Ms.
Shockley's vehicle and that the search of the Shockley
vehicle was lawful. Id. at 7-10.
Government also says that the stop and search of the Kia was
lawful. Id. at 10-14. It further claims that Mr.
Beauregard consented to the search of the Kia. Id.
at 14-16. The Government says that the length of time Mr.
Beauregard was detained was not unreasonable in the
circumstances. Id. at 16-17. Finally, the Government
argues that Mr. Beauregard's detention was non-custodial
and therefore his statements are not precluded under
Miranda. Id. at 17-19.
Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees
“the right of the people to be secure in their persons,
houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches
and seizures.” U.S. Const. am. IV. The question
presented by Mr. Beauregard's motion to suppress is
whether law enforcement violated the Fourth Amendment
guarantee in its stop and search of Megan Shockley's
Dodge Caravan and of the rented Kia that Mr. Beauregard had
been operating on November 7, 2018.
The Stop and Search of Megan Shockley's Dodge
is no evidence in this record that the police stop and search
of the Shockley Dodge Caravan was illegal. Setting aside the
events in Massachusetts, at the May 29, 2019 suppression
hearing, Trooper Matthew Williams confirmed that before he
stopped Ms. Shockley's Dodge Caravan, he determined that
there was an outstanding active arrest warrant for Megan
Shockley for a pending Maine State charge of Aggravated
Trafficking in Scheduled Drugs. He was able to visually
identify Ms. Shockley as the same person for whom there was
an arrest warrant by comparing a Department of Motor Vehicle
identification photograph with the driver of the Caravan.
stopped the Shockley Caravan, he asked Ms. Shockley whether
she was, in fact, Megan Shockley and she confirmed she was.
He placed her in handcuffs. Upon questioning, she volunteered
to Trooper Williams that she had a ticket of heroin as well
as a small amount of crack and a needle in her bra. Trooper
Williams understood that a ticket of heroin referred to a
single dose. At that point, Trooper Williams had not searched
Ms. Shockley because he was waiting for a female officer to
arrive at the scene to perform a search. However, Ms.
Shockley told Trooper Williams that if he placed the
handcuffs so that her arms were in front, rather than behind
her, she would retrieve the drugs and needle. He did so. She
voluntarily produced a small amount of heroin and crack
cocaine as well as a hypodermic needle from her bra and
handed these items to Trooper Williams.
this occurred, Trooper Adam Schmidt, a Corporal with Troop A
of the Maine State Police, trained with Ibo, a canine, and
certified as a team, performed a canine search of the
Shockley Caravan. According to Trooper Schmidt, Ibo alerted
twice to the Caravan. The first was at the driver's door
and the second at the rear of the motor vehicle. Based on
these alerts, law enforcement opened the back of the Caravan
and searched the rear area, where they found a lump inside a
cargo pocket of a pair of pants and what looked like heroin
inside a plastic bag, itself inside a tube sock. They also
found a small make-up kit that contained a small amount of
crack cocaine under the front driver's seat.
Beauregard points to certain facts which he claims make the
search of the Caravan illegal. First, he notes that Trooper
Schmidt admitted he did not ask Mr. Beauregard's
permission to search the Shockley caravan. Next, he points
out that when Mr. Beauregard asked Trooper Schmidt whether
the car the police had stopped just ahead of his Kia was his
girlfriend's vehicle, Trooper Schmidt said, “No, I
don't think so.” Mr. Beauregard argues that Trooper
Schmidt was lying to him when he denied that they had stopped
Ms. Shockley's Caravan. Third, he maintains that if Mr.
Beauregard had known it was Ms. Shockley's vehicle
stopped ahead, he would have walked up and checked on her.
none of these points matters if Mr. Beauregard has no Fourth
Amendment rights in Ms. Shockley's Caravan or the items
of personal property searched and seized inside her
Caravan. Fourth Amendment rights are
“personal to each defendant” and may not be
asserted vicariously. United States v. Lopez-Lopez,
282 F.3d 1, 9 n.3 (1st Cir. 2002) (citing United States
v. Padilla, 508 U.S. 77, 81-82 (1993) (per curiam));
United States v. Lopez-Lopez, 282 F.3d 1, 9 n.3 (1st
Cir. 2005). In Padilla, the United States Supreme
Court wrote that “[i]t has long been the rule that a
defendant can urge the suppression of evidence obtained in
violation of the Fourth Amendment only if that defendant
demonstrates that his Fourth Amendment rights were
violated by the challenged search or seizure.”
Padilla, 508 U.S. at 81 (emphasis in original).
familiar standard for assessing whether a defendant has a
Fourth Amendment interest in property searched or seized is
“first, whether the movant has exhibited an actual,
subjective, expectation of privacy; and second, whether such
subjective expectation is one that society is prepared to
recognize as objectively reasonable.” United States
v. Rheault, 561 F.3d 55, 59 (1st Cir. 2009) (citing
Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735, 740 (1979)).
Regarding Fourth Amendment interests in automobiles, the
First Circuit has written that “[i]n the context of a
vehicle search, a defendant must show a property or a
possessory interest in the automobile in order to establish a
reasonable expectation of privacy.” United States
v. Almeida, 748 F.3d 41, 47 (1st Cir. 2014). A person
who is “merely a passenger” does not have a
reasonable expectation of privacy in a vehicle. Id.
record reveals that the Caravan was Ms. Shockley's, not
Mr. Beauregard's, and that law enforcement had the right
to stop and arrest her once it confirmed that she was someone
with an outstanding arrest warrant. Having legally stopped
and arrested Ms. Shockley, once she produced drugs and a
hypodermic needle from her clothes and once Ibo alerted on
the Caravan, the police had the right to search the Shockley
Beauregard's response is that he has standing to
challenge the search of the Caravan because at least one item
of personal property inside the Caravan was not Ms.
Shockley's. Mr. Beauregard maintains that once the police
came upon a pair of men's pants inside the Caravan, they
must have known that the pants were not hers and that they
must have known they were searching someone else's
property. As a preliminary matter, even if this premise were
correct (which the Court does not find), to establish
standing to contest the search of items of personal property
in Ms. Shockley's motor vehicle, Mr. Beauregard would
have to assert actual ownership in the pair of pants and the
tube sock where the police found drugs. There is no evidence
that Mr. Beauregard has ever claimed that the pair of pants
and the tube sock were in fact his. Nor in the circumstances
of this case would the Court expect that Mr. Beauregard would
freely admit that the pants and sock containing illegal drugs
there is nothing to suggest that the tube sock was a
“male” or “female” sock, so the
notion that the police should have known that the sock was
not Ms. Shockley's is a reach. Even if the pair of pants
were traditionally “male, ” there is nothing in
the record to suggest that Ms. Shockley might not have worn
them. There is no prohibition preventing women from wearing
traditionally male clothing. On this record, there is no
evidence that the pants were of a size that would prevent Ms.
Shockley from fitting into them. Moreover, even if the male
character of the pants could possibly establish that the
pants were not Ms. Shockley's, it is a giant leap to
conclude that they must have been Mr. Beauregard's. The
Court is aware of no authority that gives a male a Fourth
Amendment right to contest the search of all male-styled
clothing that the police find in another vehicle.
fact, the First Circuit has refused to extend the privacy
interest in a vehicle to non-owners who were driving the
vehicle with the owner's permission, unless their use
exceeds “a casual possession” of the vehicle.
Almeida, 748 F.3d at 48; United States v.
Sanchez, 943 F.2d 110 (1st Cir. 1991); United States
v. Lochan, 674 F.2d 960 (1st Cir. 1982). An absence of
privacy interest in the vehicle extends to an inventory
search. Almeida, 748 F.3d at 48 (“[W]e
conclude that Almeida has failed to meet his burden of proof
establishing that he had a reasonable expectation of privacy
in the truck. Thus, he cannot bring a challenge under the
Fourth Amendment to the evidence recovered from the truck,
either in the course of Drouin's warrantless search or
the subsequent inventory”). If a driver and passenger
in a non-owned vehicle may not, absent unusual circumstances,
claim a Fourth Amendment right to the vehicle and its
contents, Mr. Beauregard's claim that he had a Fourth
Amendment interest in a vehicle he did not own and did not
occupy, either as a passenger or an operator, extends Fourth
Amendment jurisprudence beyond the breaking point.
this imposing array of countervailing authority and a
difficult factual predicate, Mr. Beauregard posits the case
of Byrd v. United States, 138 S.Ct. 1518 (2018) as
supporting his position that he enjoyed a Fourth Amendment
interest in Ms. Shockley's Dodge Caravan and its
contents. In Byrd, Terrence Byrd and Latasha Byrd
drove in Mr. Byrd's Honda to a Budget car rental
facility, where Latasha Byrd rented a Ford Fusion, listing
herself, not Mr. Byrd, as the only authorized driver.
Id. at 1524. Upon leaving the Budget facility, Ms.
Byrd handed over the keys to Mr. Byrd, who put his personal
belongings in the trunk and drove off in the rented Ford
Fusion, while Ms. Byrd drove his Honda. Id. About
three hours later, a state trooper spotted Mr. Byrd driving
the Fusion and stopped him for a traffic infraction.
Id. After discovering that Mr. Byrd was not a listed
driver or renter on the car rental agreement, the police
concluded he had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the
Ford Fusion and its contents. Id. at 1525. Inside
the car trunk, they found a laundry bag containing body armor
and forty-nine bricks of heroin. Id.
address whether the police had the right to perform a
warrantless search of the Ford Fusion, the United States
Supreme Court posed the following question:
Does a driver of a rental car have a reasonable expectation
of privacy in the car when he or she is not listed as an
authorized driver on the rental agreement?
Id. at 1527. The Byrd Court concluded that
“the mere fact that a driver in lawful possession or
control of a rental car is not listed on the rental agreement
will not defeat his or her otherwise reasonable expectation
of privacy.” Id. at 1531.
obvious critical difference between Byrd and Mr.