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United States v. Jackson

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 25, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
RONALD JACKSON, Defendant.

ORDER DENYING AS MOOT DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE (Doc. 1)

JENNIFER L. THURSTON, Magistrate Judge.

On November 20, 2013, Defendant was charged in a criminal complaint with a violation of 36 CFR ยง 261.3(a), Interfering with a Forest officer, volunteer, or human resource program enrollee or giving a false report to a Forest officer. (Doc. 1) The government alleges that Jackson made threats against a Forest officer, Brian Adams, on several occasions after Adams drove onto Jackson's driveway in an attempt to investigate a report of illegal cutting of firewood. In the current motion, Jackson seeks to suppress all "visual and auditory perceptions" by any law enforcement officer on November 12, 2013 as set forth in the law enforcement report, numbered XX-XX-XXXXXXX, any physical evidence seized on November 12, 2013, any statements made by Jackson during the investigation and arrest, "all notes, reports, tapes, photographs, and other memorandum, " and any form, document or memorandum signed by Jackson. (Doc. 11 at 3)

I. The complaint

The complaint alleges that on November 12, 2013, U.S.F.S. Special Agent, Brian Adams, was investigating a report of illegal firewood cutting. (Doc. 1 at 2) The complaint alleges that Adams "followed tire tracks from two freshly cut oak trees to a driveway, " later determined to be that associated with Jackson's home. Id.

As Adams traveled up the driveway in his vehicle following the tire tracks, the complaint alleges Adams identified himself as a law enforcement officer to Jackson. (Doc. 1 at 2) Adams explained he was looking for a pickup truck described by the reporting party as having illegally cut firewood. Id . Jackson denied having such a vehicle, became angry and ordered Adams off of his property. Id . The complaint alleges Jackson told Adams to "get the fuck off his property" several times. Id.

In response, the complaint alleges Adams turned his vehicle and proceeded back down the driveway all the while Jackson screamed at him and threatened to place him under citizen's arrest. (Doc. 1 at 2) While exiting, Adams observed a pile of "freshly cut oak near" the residence and took pictures. Id . According to the complaint, when Jackson saw Adams take the photos, he became further enraged and screamed at Adams that he was under arrest and that Jackson was going to call the Sheriff. Id . The complaint asserts that Adams continued to exit while Jackson followed behind while stating, "Get the fuck out of here, you better leave, you fucking punk." Id.

The next day, the complaint alleges that Jackson contacted U.S.F.S. employee Anne Dumas and told her "They're [Forest Service officers] not welcome on my land. It's private property and if they come on my land again, I'll consider it a lethal threat." The complaint indicates that Jackson also stated: "If you see Brian Adams, tell him Ron Jackson is after him." (Doc. 1 at 2)

That same day, the complaint alleges Jackson contacted U.S.F.S. employee Brenda Ehmann and told her that Jackson would shoot Adams if Adams returned to his property. (Doc. 1 at 2) Purportedly, Jackson claimed that because Adams carries a gun, if he entered Jackson's property, Jackson was entitled to shoot Adams. Id . The complaint alleges further that Jackson reported that he intended to file a complaint against Adams with the Kern County Sheriff's Office and intended to file a lawsuit against Adams. Id.

The next day, on November 14, 2013, the complaint asserts that Jackson spoke to Brenda Ehmann by telephone. (Doc. 1 at 2) During this conversation, Jackson repeated that he believed Adams was a threat to Jackson and stated, "these tactics of coming on private property and terrorizing people is fascist Nazi [sic]. We have to stand our ground. We're Americans." Id . Once again on November 18, 2013, the complaint claims that Jackson appeared at the U.S.F.S. office and spoke to Sherry Montgomery and, at that time, stated that he knew Adams carried a weapon and that Jackson also has a weapon. Id . He reiterated to Montgomery that if Adams returned to his property, Jackson would have the right to use lethal force against Adams. Id.

II. Motion to suppress

A. Jackson bears the burden of establishing standing to complain about the search and that it occurred without a warrant

Jackson offers no evidence in his motion to establish that he has standing to raise the Fourth Amendment claim related to Adams' being on the driveway property. Rakas v. Illinois , 439 U.S. 128, 132 n. 1 (1978) (The "proponent of a motion to suppress has the burden of establishing that his own Fourth Amendment rights were violated by the challenged search or seizure.") Likewise, though he argued the search was warrantless, he failed to provide evidence of this fact.[1] United States v. de la Fuente, 548 F.2d 528, 533 (5th Cir. 1977) (Burden shifts to the government to justify the warrantless search after the defendant produces evidence the search occurred without a warrant). Given these evidentiary failures, the motion should be denied. United States v. Carrion , 463 F.2d 704, 706 (9th Cir. 1972) (Failure to provide factual support of a possessory interest in the property search or seized justifies denial of an evidentiary hearing and denial of the motion to suppress.)

However, it appears the government does not contest that where Adams made contact with Jackson was on property owned or controlled by him and, upon the Court's inquiry, the government agreed Adams entered the property without a warrant. Thus, the Court will "dispense with the rubric of standing" (Rakas, 439 U.S. at 429) and complete its analysis set forth below.

B. The government concedes the charge is based upon Jackson's alleged conduct after Adams ...


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