United States District Court, D. Nebraska
FINDINGS, RECOMMENDATION, AND ORDER
R. Zwart United States Magistrate Judge
has moved the court for an order “suppressing any and
all evidence derived from the unlawful arrest of the
defendant on March 23, 2018 as said arrest violated his
rights under the 4th Amendment.” (Filing No.
73). Defendant argues the officers lacked probable cause
to arrest him. In his post-hearing brief, Defendant further
argues that prior to the arrest, he was illegally detained
without reasonable suspicion. Defendant asserts any evidence
arising from the detention and arrest must be suppressed as
fruit of these Fourth Amendment violations.
reasons discussed below, the motion to suppress should be
at least as early as June of 2017, John Justin Armstrong, a
Sergeant for the Lincoln Police Department, was investigating
a series of robberies occurring in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Defendant Joshua Dortch became a suspect for these robberies.
Dortch was arrested for a jewelry store robbery in 2017.
Although that charge was ultimately dismissed, as a result of
his investigative efforts, Sergeant Armstrong became
acquainted with and able to recognize Defendant Dortch, and
he received information from the Omaha Police Department
indicating Dortch was associated with Anwar Hunt, his
co-defendant in the above-captioned case.
jewelry store at the Gateway Mall in Lincoln, Nebraska was
robbed on February 15, 2018. Based on video surveillance, a
black Dodge Ram pickup was identified as the vehicle used for
transport to and from that robbery. Sergeant Armstrong
conducted follow up investigation and found the black Dodge
Ram vehicle parked in front of Hunt's residence. He ran
the license plates for that vehicle and discovered it was
owned by Enterprise Car Rental. Through contacts with the
rental agency, he learned the vehicle was rented by Jamia
the first week of March 2018, the Enterprise rental agency
contacted Sergeant Armstrong and reported that Jamia Peak had
returned the Dodge Ram pickup and then rented a black Jeep
Cherokee. Enterprise provided the license plate number for
the Jeep Cherokee.
p.m. on March 23, 2018, Sergeant Armstrong heard a radio
dispatch announcing a robbery at a Sartor Hamann jewelry
store located near 27th Street and Pine Lake Road
(the Southpointe Pavilion area) in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Sergeant Armstrong was at the police headquarters in downtown
Lincoln when he heard the call. He immediately went to his
vehicle and began driving south toward the Southpointe
Pavilion area (a 10- to 15-minute drive) to assist.
was driving to the robbery scene, dispatch reported the
robbery suspects were described as two black men wearing
construction vests and driving a red car. Dispatch further
reported that Rolex watches had been stolen, and one of those
watches was equipped with a GPS tracking device. Using this
tracking device, Sartor Harmann was monitoring the location
of the stolen property and continuously apprising dispatch of
its movement. Dispatch, in turn, conveyed this information to
the officers, including Sergeant Armstrong, who were
responding to the robbery. The GPS signal stopped moving at
the east edge of an apartment complex approximately two miles
north of the Sartor Hamann store. Upon hearing the reports
from dispatch, Sergeant Armstrong headed to the apartment
complex instead of the robbery scene.
on the tracking device signal, the stolen property was
located behind a garage near the intersection of Carnelian
Street and Serenity Circle in Lincoln, Nebraska. Sergeant
Armstrong entered the area from the west, driving down
passed the 3300 block of Carnelian, he noticed a black male
(later identified as Dortch) sitting on the front entry step
of building at 3310 Carnelian Street.
continued down the street and noticed a black Jeep Cherokee
parked 150-200 feet from the GPS-signaled location of the
stolen property. The license plates on the black Jeep matched
the plate number for the Jeep Cherokee rented from Enterprise
by Jamia Peak. The black Jeep was running, with headlights
on, and it was parked facing west and approximately 600 feet
from the black male at the apartment building entrance.
Armstrong passed the black Jeep, made a U-turn, passed the
black Jeep again, and then parked his vehicle facing west on
the north side of Carnelian Street and between the black Jeep
and the as yet unidentified black male. From that vantage
point, he could look to the front and ...