CA1: Officers lacked sufficient info def was in girlfriend’s apt to enter on arrest warrant

Officers lacked sufficient information on the totality defendant would be found at his girlfriend’s apartment when they entered on an arrest warrant. Most of the information was from a CI that it was logical he was there and he hadn’t been found in other places he’d likely be. Denial of motion to suppress reversed. United States v. Young, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15275 (1st Cir. Aug. 19, 2016):

To determine whether the officers possessed a reasonable belief that Young resided at Coleman’s apartment then, we consider that preexisting information. Discarding all post-entry information, we are left with the following relevant information: (1) Webster’s statement that “if [Young] was not at the Ash Street, Howe Street, or Horton Street apartments, he had to be back with his former girlfriend” where he had stayed on and off when he was not with Davidson; (2) the fact that Webster was not an anonymous tipster; (3) the fact that officer Rawstron recognized Coleman’s car parked outside her apartment and that officers Rawstron and Michaud knew from a prior investigation that Coleman and Young had previously lived together; and (4) the fact that the officers had “eliminated three other addresses as places where the defendant might be found.”

Mindful that we must “examine the information known to the officers in the totality and not in isolation,” Graham, 553 F.3d at 14, we are nevertheless skeptical that these facts and circumstances are sufficient to support the residence inquiry — that the officers reasonably believed that Young resided with Coleman at the Walnut Street apartment before they entered her apartment. Although this case has none of the “rock-solid indicators of residence” present in other cases, see, e.g., Graham, 553 F.3d at 13 (explaining that “certain facts” such as a suspect’s “credit card applications, utility bill, car registration, and mail” being directed to a house “will almost always give rise to a reasonable belief that the subject of an arrest warrant resides at the place entered”), we recognize that such “rock-solid indicators” are not necessarily required. Still, the evidence here is sparse even when compared to other cases where we have found the residency and presence requirements satisfied. See, e.g., id. at 13 (finding police had reasonable belief defendant resided at the apartment because a police report identified defendant and his address, a probationer reported defendant was “staying at” the apartment, and a person outside of the apartment confirmed defendant was inside); United States v. Jones, 523 F.3d 31, 37 (1st Cir. 2008) (finding police’s belief objectively reasonable because hotel manager confirmed defendant rented Room 318 for a three-week period, and a man in the parking lot confirmed defendant was inside Room 318); United States v. Pelletier, 469 F.3d 194, 197, 200-01 (1st Cir. 2006) (finding reasonable belief when defendant’s girlfriend’s sister confirmed defendant was at a specific motel room, the motel room was registered in her name, and the maintenance man confirmed defendant was in the specific room).

To justify the officers’ entry, the government relies heavily on Webster’s reliability and on her statement that “if [Young] was not at the Ash Street, Howe Street, or Horton Street apartments, he had to be back with his former girlfriend.” But this statement was not sufficiently definitive or reliable to support a reasonable suspicion that Young was living with Coleman. To be sure, in some circumstances a statement by a reliable informant that a suspect is “staying” with or “living” with a particular person might support a reasonable suspicion that the suspect lives there, see, e.g., United States v. Risse, 83 F.3d 212, 216-17 (8th Cir. 1996) (noting that “use of the colloquial term ‘staying with’” can be interpreted to mean “living with”), but Webster did not inform officers decisively that Young was “staying” with Coleman. She said only that if Young was not staying at Ash Street, Howe Street, or Horton Street, then he had to be back with Coleman, but she did not actually confirm that Young was not, in fact, staying at those other apartments. Far from definitive, Webster’s statement was closer to a guess than to a reliable tip. And Webster couched the statement even further, qualifying that Young had — at some point — stayed with “Jen” “on and off, again a couple nights here and there” when he was not with Davidson. Importantly, neither the officers nor Webster actually knew that Young was not with Davidson since the officers had failed to locate either of them. For all the officers knew, Young was, indeed, staying with Davidson and they were simply not at home.

Moreover, Webster’s statement did not appear to be based on any actual, present knowledge of Young’s whereabouts. She did not suggest that she had actually seen Young at Coleman’s apartment. Nor did she state conclusively that she knew that Coleman and Young were back together. She merely stated that Young had previously stayed with Coleman and must be back there if the officers could not find him anywhere else, but she never explained why this must be so or gave the basis for this knowledge. And the officers took no steps (e.g., conducting surveillance or other interviews) to verify that Young’s prior relationship with Coleman had continued. The fact that officers Rawstron and Michaud also knew from a prior investigation that Coleman and Young had previously lived together does nothing to get them over this hurdle because their information was similarly dated. And, prior to speaking to Webster, it does not seem that the officers had reason to believe that Young and Coleman’s relationship was ongoing since her apartment was not among those they had thought to visit.

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