CA6: Lies told during probation search help form RS

Defendant denied he lived in the house where the police conducted a probation search. His standing was challenged, but the merits were decided. They suspected him of being involved in drug dealing and went to talk to him and his obvious lies to them became reasonable suspicion (citing cases). United States v. Calhoun, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 34401 (6th Cir. Oct. 30, 2020):

At the evidentiary hearing, Sergeant Ferguson testified that, based on his training and experience, similar episodes of robbery and retaliation are “quite common” in the illegal drug trade. As he explained, drug dealers tend to have large amounts of cash on-hand and are less likely to report robberies to law enforcement, making them “easy target[s]” for theft. After the crime reduction meeting, Probation Officer Loney looked up Calhoun in the relevant computer database. Calhoun was on probation following a 2017 conviction for the delivery or manufacture of marijuana. Officers are entitled to rely on “specific, articulable facts” and “reasonable inferences … based on [their] experience” to support reasonable suspicion. United States v. McCauley, 548 F.3d 440, 445 (6th Cir. 2008); see also Martin, 526 F.3d at 937 (considering defendant’s criminal history in conjunction with confidential informant’s tip to find probable cause to support a search warrant). Based on the information available to them after the crime reduction meeting, Loney and Ferguson suspected that Calhoun could have been involved in the shooting and that he could be in possession of drugs and weapons in violation of his probation conditions.

Calhoun bolstered the officers’ suspicions when he greeted them with a series of lies at the outset of the compliance check. This court has recognized that false statements to law enforcement can support reasonable suspicion. See, e.g., United States v. Atchley, 474 F.3d 840, 848-49 (6th Cir. 2007); Weaver v. Shadoan, 340 F.3d 398, 408 (6th Cir. 2003). Calhoun claimed that he did not live in the house, that he would need to call his girlfriend to gain entry, and that no one was inside. At least with respect to Calhoun’s claim to live elsewhere, Loney knew that this information conflicted with what Calhoun had told Probation Officer Tyus.

A subject’s “evasive behavior is a pertinent factor in determining reasonable suspicion.” Illinois v. Wardlow, 528 U.S. 119, 124 (2000). Sergeant Cake testified that Calhoun’s “physical demeanor change[d]” once officers approached him on the sidewalk and that Calhoun engaged in “a lot of strange movements and actions.” Calhoun put his phone to his ear while Cake was questioning him. Cake testified that, in his experience, similar attempts “to tune the officer out … mean[] that [a subject] [is] trying to avoid” the questioning. More than one officer testified that it appeared as if Calhoun might be taking the opportunity to call someone in the house to destroy or hide evidence. The district court found that “Calhoun essentially telegraphed to the officers through his words, actions, and demeanor that there was something in the house he did not want them to see.” We cannot say that this finding was clearly erroneous.

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