United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division
Jeffrey J. Helmick United States District Judge
matter is before me on Defendant Derrick L. Johnson's
motions to suppress his confession and the evidence
discovered through the warrantless search of the dwelling in
which he was arrested. (Doc. Nos. 10 & 11). I held a
suppression hearing on January 26, 2017, and took the matter
under advisement. For the reasons stated below, I deny
Johnson's motions to suppress.
time of his arrest, Johnson was on parole through the state
of Ohio, under the supervision of Adult Parole Authority
Officer Jason Raynor. On May 15, 2015, Johnson signed a form
agreeing to abide by five standard conditions of supervision.
(Gov't Exh. 4). Johnson individually initialed each
condition. (Id.). This form also gives notice to
parolees of three consequences of their status as parolees,
one consequence being that they are “subject to
warrantless searches” pursuant to Ohio Revised Code
§ 2967.131. (Id.). Johnson initialed the first
two of these three, including the notice regarding
warrantless searches. (Id.). Johnson then signed the
form acknowledging his receipt and understanding of these
conditions, and Officer Raynor signed as a witness.
9, 2016, Officer Raynor informed Officer Jamie Murphy, a
parole officer and task force member with the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, that Johnson was
in possession of a firearm, which would be a violation of the
terms of his parole. Johnson's mother had contacted
Officer Raynor to report that Johnson had threatened to cause
bodily harm to her with a gun. Johnson had also texted a
picture of a gun to his mother. Officer Murphy contacted Officer
Marc Thompson, a parole officer and deputy with the United
States Marshals Service (“USMS”), and they
decided to arrest Johnson the following day.
mother indicated he was staying at his girlfriend Patricia
Brazzel's house. So, on May 10, 2016, a USMS task force,
including Officers Murphy and Thompson, went to Brazzel's
residence to arrest Johnson. Officer Murphy testified that he
and two other officers approached the front door, while
Officer Thompson and perhaps other officers approached the
back door. Brazzel opened the back door upon Officer
Thompson's command. It is at this point the
witnesses' accounts begin to differ somewhat.
Murphy and Brazzel testified that a task force member came in
through the back door and opened the front door for the
remaining officers. Officer Thompson said he remained at the
back door and did not enter the residence until Johnson was
in custody. He also testified that no one else entered
through the rear of the apartment. Instead, according to
Officer Thompson, he instructed Brazzel to open the front
door for the other officers. Regardless of their means of
entry, task force members entered Brazzel's home with
guns drawn and arrested Johnson. Officers then removed
Johnson from the residence.
next testified that two or three officers went back upstairs
after Johnson was removed from the residence. Officers Murphy
and Thompson corroborated this, testifying that some officers
performed a security sweep of the residence to ensure the
premises were safe.
Murphy and Thompson testified that after the completion of
the security sweep, the two of them spoke with Brazzel and
asked if she would consent to a search of her residence for
weapons and drugs. Both officers testified that Brazzel
responded by telling the officers “no problem”
and to “go ahead.” Brazzel, however, testified
that when asked if she would consent to a search, she told
the officers they were already searching. Brazzel testified
that officers were already upstairs and she believed it would
have been futile to deny consent at that point.
witnesses agree that officers found the gun at issue
following the above conversation. Officers Murphy and
Thompson said they found the gun upstairs under a pile of
men's clothes in Brazzel's bedroom closet. Officers
showed the gun to Brazzel, who said she had no idea the gun
Murphy then went to the jail and questioned Johnson about the
gun. Johnson signed a form acknowledging and waiving his
Miranda rights. (Gov't Exh. 2). Officer Murphy
discussed each of Johnson's rights with him. Johnson
appeared to have no difficulty understanding his rights.
Officer Murphy made an audio recording of the interview,
beginning after Johnson signed the waiver of his rights.
Through most of the interview, Johnson denied possessing the
gun. (Gov't Ehx. 3 at 6:49-9:40). But he eventually
confessed. (Id. at 12:24-:44).
Fourth Amendment protects “[t]he right of the people to
be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,
against unreasonable searches and seizures.” In areas
where an individual has a legitimate privacy interest, the
Fourth Amendment prohibits warrantless searches of an
individual's home or ...