United States District Court, D. Utah
ORDER AND MEMORANDUM DECISION
CAMPBELL U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
April 14, 2016, officers of the Ogden Police Department,
using a hastily obtained search warrant, searched the home of
Defendant Michael Anthony Bell's mother. During the
search they found evidence that was used to indict Mr. Bell
on federal drug and firearm charges.
filed a motion to suppress that evidence on the basis that
the warrant and supporting affidavit were so lacking in
probable cause that not even the Leon good-faith
exception to the exclusionary rule justifies the search. In the
alternative, he asserts that the officer applying for the
warrant intentionally or with reckless disregard for the
truth omitted material information from, or included false
information in, her affidavit, which entitles him to a
Franks hearing to test the validity of the warrant.
court finds that Mr. Bell has failed to meet his burden under
Franks to establish his right to challenge the
warrant through an evidentiary hearing. The court also finds
that even if the warrant was not supported by probable cause,
a well-trained officer could reasonably believe in good faith
that the supporting affidavit established a nexus between the
evidence sought and Mr. Bell's mother's house.
Accordingly, the court denies Mr. Bell's motion to
warrant at issue was obtained to search Mr. Bell's
mother's house on Hiland Road in Ogden, Utah. The
supporting affidavit was drafted based on information
gathered during an unchallenged search of Mr. Bell's
trailer located on Wall Avenue in Ogden.
Wall Avenue Search
morning of April 14, 2016, four Ogden Police Department
officers searched Mr. Bell's trailer on Wall Avenue.
Although Mr. Bell was the main tenant, he was not there
during the search. His roommate Josh Misrasi was there, as
was his acquaintance Thomas Kristofferson.
officers searched the trailer based on a warrant obtained by
Officer Kasey Burrell. Each of the four officers had a
particular role during the search. Officers Gonnuscio and
Williams searched for and documented the evidence. They gave
the evidence to Officer Camryn Faiola, the evidence
custodian. Officer Burrell interviewed Mr. Misrasi and Mr.
gathered physical evidence of illegal drug use and drug
distribution. In Mr. Misrasi's room the officers found a
syringe and a glass pipe. In the kitchen and other common
areas of the trailer the officers found two digital scales,
small zip lock baggies, two syringes, and a large bag
containing marijuana residue. In Mr. Bell's bedroom,
which was locked when the officers arrived, they found a
small amount of marijuana, three glass pipes soaking in a
bleach solution, two pipes with liquid and burnt residue
inside, Glad sandwich bags, and a “fanny pack”
containing unused syringes, a glass pipe, and small zip lock
baggies. They found traces of methamphetamine in the trailer
but no packaged meth.
the search, Mr. Misrasi told Officer Burrell that Mr. Bell
spent a significant amount of time at his mother's house
on Hiland Road in Ogden. He also said that Mr. Bell's
mother was not living at the house because she was in a
Kristofferson told Officer Burrell that he had smoked
“a little tiny bit” of methamphetamine with Mr.
Bell, “not even a 20, ” in the garage of Mr.
Bell's mother's house just the day before. (Mot. to
Suppress at 9, Docket No. 18.) He also said that he did
maintenance work for the trailer park and had done some work
on Mr. Bell's trailer in exchange for cash.
Hiland Road Search Warrant
after the Wall Avenue search, Officer Faiola used information
gathered during that search to draft an affidavit and apply
for a warrant to search the Hiland Road house. In the
Affidavit, Officer Faiola included three written paragraphs
and what appears to be a “cut and paste” list of
Mr. Bell's criminal history, with the last reported
incident occurring ten years earlier in 2006. The criminal
history took up eighteen of the Affidavit's twenty-one
first paragraph, Officer Faiola described her training and
experience. The second paragraph (Paragraph Two) contained
the factual basis upon which Officer Faiola asserted that
probable cause existed for a warrant. (Aff. for Search
Warrant, Ex. B to Def.'s Mot. Suppress, Docket No. 18-2.)
Paragraph Two reads, in its entirety, as follows (the
challenged portions are underlined):
On 4/14/16, your Affiant executed a search warrant approved
by Judge Bean on 4/12/16 on a residence at 1065 Wall Avenue
#42. This warrant was obtained by OPD Master Officer Kasey
Burrell for suspicion of distribution of narcotics,
specifically methamphetamine. During the execution of this
warrant, it was determined that the main tenant, Michael
Bell, is also residing at 464 Hiland Rd., which is
his mother's home. Michael's mother's address was
located through Adult Probation and Parole. When officers
searched the residence at 1065 Wall Avenue, officers located
methamphetamine bongs, syringes, scales, marijuana, and
baggies in a locked room that belongs to Michael Bell.
Michael's roommate, Joshua Misrasi, confirmed the bedroom
belongs to Michael and prescription bottles with
Michael's name were found in the bedroom. Another
individual located on scene of the warrant at 1065 Wall
Avenue #42, Thomas Kristofferson, stated he had smoked
methamphetamine with Michael in the basement of
Michael's mother's home on Hiland Rd yesterday
(4/13/) and that Michael gave Thomas a small amount
of methamphetamine in exchange for work that Thomas was going
to perform on Michael's trailer at 1065 Wall Avenue
(Id. at 2-3 (emphasis added).) In the third
paragraph, Officer Faiola concluded, based on the information
in Paragraph Two, that “drugs are being sold and used
from 464 Hiland Rd, therefore, endangering the
community.” (Id. at 3.)
Hiland Road search warrant, which was issued about three
hours after the Wall Avenue search was completed, allowed the
officers to search for evidence of “crimes of
Distribution and possession of methamphetamine.”
(Id. at 2.) Using that warrant, the officers
searched Mr. ...