United States District Court, D. Nebraska
FINDINGS, RECOMMEDNATION, AND ORDER
R. Zwart United States Magistrate Judge.
Aaron C. Collins (“Defendant”) has moved to
suppress evidence and statements obtained during a traffic
stop on November 10, 2016, alleging violations of his Fourth
and Fifth Amendment rights. Defendant additionally seeks
suppression of evidence and statements obtained during an
arrest and vehicle search conducted on January 27, 2017,
again alleging both Fourth and Fifth Amendment violations.
For the following reasons, Defendant's motion should be
hearing testimony and reviewing the video evidence, the
undersigned magistrate judge finds the following facts are
November 10, 2016, Lincoln Police Officers Gratz and
Hallowell observed a white Jeep Patriot exit the garage of a
residence on the 400 block of E Street in Lincoln, Nebraska.
At the time of the incident, the officers were conducting
surveillance of the residence based on reports that it was
connected to the illegal manufacture and sale of
methamphetamine. When the Jeep exited the garage, Officers
Gratz and Hallowell followed it. They observed an improper
turn and failure to properly signal lane changes, in
violation Neb. Rev. Stat. § 60, 161 and § 60-6,
159. The officers initiated a traffic stop.
and Desmond Hauser (“Hauser”) were identified as
the vehicle's occupants. The officers were aware of
reports from a confidential informant regarding Hauser's
alleged involvement in methamphetamine distribution, and the
same informant indicated Hauser typically carried firearms,
often concealing them in his waistband. Officer Hallowell
observed a pocket knife in the vehicle near Hauser and asked
if he had any other weapons. Hauser said that he did not, and
he complied when asked to step out of the vehicle for a
Gratz then asked Defendant if there were any illegal items in
the vehicle. Defendant indicated there were not, but he began
acting apprehensively. Officer Gratz repeatedly asked
Defendant to keep his hands visible and on the steering
wheel, but Defendant persisted in obscuring his hands and
reaching towards his pockets. Eventually, Defendant was asked
to step out of the vehicle.
time, two additional supporting officers-Officers Hubka and
Wayne-arrived to assist. Together, Officers Gratz and Hubka
physically aided Defendant in exiting the Jeep. The officers
conducted a pat-down search of Defendant and discovered brass
knuckles-affixed with knives-concealed in Defendant's
pocket. Defendant was placed under arrest for carrying a
concealed weapon, in violation of Neb. Rev. Stat. §
the encounter, officers observed a jar containing white
residue in the passenger floorboard of the vehicle. Based on
their training and experience, the officers believed the jar
contained methamphetamine. They seized the jar, and
field-tested the residue. The field test was positive for
amphetamines. The officers then searched the remainder of the
car and found no other evidence of criminal activity.
transport to the Lancaster County Jail, Defendant appeared
extremely nervous and was asked if he was “okay”
and whether the officers “had missed something”
during the pat-down. (Filing No. 37 Cm/ECF p. 20).
Defendant then admitted that he had illegal drugs in one
jacket pocket that the officers had failed to discover during
the initial pat-down. Officers recovered the substance from
Defendant's pocket which also field tested positive for
amphetamines. The officers completed transport to the
Lancaster County Jail, and Defendant was advised of the
Miranda warnings at that time.
January 27, 2017, Defendant had an additional encounter with
the Lincoln Police Department officers. Officer Hyland
observed a red Ford Taurus driving near the intersection of
33rd Street and Huntington Avenue. The officer ran the
license plate number of the vehicle and determined that the
car was registered to Defendant. Officer Hyland further
determined that Defendant had a suspended driver's
officer followed Defendant and saw him park and exit the
vehicle in an alleyway parking lot near 37th Street and
Baldwin Avenue. After contacting Defendant and confirming his
identity, Officer Hyland asked Defendant to sit inside his
police vehicle while he wrote out a traffic citation for
driving with a suspended license. As they walked toward the
police cruiser, Defendant appeared nervous. As with the
November 2016 traffic incident, Defendant had to repeatedly
be warned to keep his hands visible and out of his pockets.
Officer Hyland then noticed what appeared to be an object
inside Defendant's sweatshirt. He conducted a pat-down
search and placed Defendant under arrest for driving with a
suspended license. Two additional officers arrived to assist.
the pat-down, Officer Hyland discovered plastic bags
containing a substance that, based on his training and
experience, he suspected was methamphetamine. Defendant also
had several empty plastic bags, two digital scales, and a
hydrocodone tablet on his person. The officers then searched
Defendant's vehicle and found a handgun.
the transport to the Lancaster County Jail, Defendant was
advised of his Miranda rights. He waived those
rights and told officers he had purchased the drugs. He also
indicated that he had information he wanted to share with
narcotics officers about individuals involved in the
distribution of ...