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United States v. Barragan

United States District Court, N.D. California

October 17, 2019



          Susan Illston United States District Judge.

         Defendant Raul Ramirez Barragan has filed a motion to suppress evidence. Dkt. No. 46. Following a hearing on the motion to suppress on August 16, 2019, the Court set an evidentiary hearing, which was held on October 16, 2019. After careful consideration of the parties' arguments and the evidence presented, the Court hereby DENIES defendant's motion to suppress.


         I. Procedural Background

         On January 17, 2019, the government filed an indictment charging Barragan with one count of violating 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition. Dkt. No. 1. The indictment alleges, “[o]n or about December 6, 2018, in the Northern District of California, the defendant, Raul Ramirez Barragan, having been previously convicted of a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding one year, did knowingly possess a firearm and ammunition, namely, one Kel-Tec 9mm semiautomatic pistol . . ., and 27 rounds of 9mm ammunition. . . .” Id. at 3.

         The indictment flows from the search and seizure of Barragan, and of the subsequent searches of his residence and cell phone, as discussed in greater detail below. On July 19, 2019, Barragan filed a motion to suppress “all fruits of the unlawful seizure and warrantless search of his person on December 6, 2018, the search of the Wilkens Avenue residence, and the subsequent search of his cell phone.” Dkt. No. 46 (“Mot.”) at 1. In support of his motion, Barragan filed a copy of several officer reports and a computer-aided dispatch printout from the date of his arrest as well as a video identified as body cam footage of Napa County Sheriff's Deputy Gary Donaldson. Dkt. No. 47-3. Barragan requested an evidentiary hearing “[s]hould any disputed issue of material fact arise with respect to this motion[.]” Mot. at 1.

         In support of its opposition to the motion, the government filed: a copy of Barragan's prior conviction and probation conditions in Napa County Superior Court; a copy of a Napa County Superior Court bench warrant dated October 1, 2018, issued following Barragan's failure to attend appointments with his Probation Officer on August 28 and September 10, 2018;[1] a declaration from Napa County Sheriff's Deputy William Branco, a Detective in the Napa Special Investigations Bureau (“NSIB”); and a declaration from Napa County Sheriff's Deputy Ken Van Dyke, also a Detective in the NSIB. Dkt. Nos. 49 (“Opp'n”), 50, 51, 52.

         Barragan filed a reply, attaching several additional exhibits. Dkt. Nos. 53 (“Reply”), 54.

         At the evidentiary hearing, the Court heard testimony from two government witnesses: Shontelle Detwiler, Records Supervisor with the Napa County Sheriff's Office; and Detective Branco.[2]

         II. Factual Background

         On December 6, 2018, at approximately 1:00 p.m., Detective Branco saw defendant Barragan, whom Detective Branco says he “knew from prior arrests and investigations, walking in the area of Shetler Ave and Soscol Ave.” Bischof Decl., Ex. A (“Branco Report”) at 7. Detective Branco's report states, “I knew BARRAGAN to have an active Felony Warrant, and to be on Formal Napa County Probation for possession of controlled substance for sales. I also knew BARRAGAN to be a Sureno gang member . . . .” Id. “BARRAGAN had a listed address on Wilken Ave, to multiple different apartments.”

         Detective Branco's report continues, in relevant part, as follows:

I observed BARRAGAN travel northbound on Soscol Ave and sit down in a chair in front of Starbucks, located in the South Napa Marketplace. I parked my car in the parking lot and entered the Starbucks door directly next to BARRAGAN. As I walked passed [sic] him, I positively identified him as BARRAGAN. Moments later BARRAGAN left the area on foot and began walking east in the direction of Target. I followed BARRAGAN in my vehicle and observed him approaching the Target entrance. I then left the area and met with Detective[] Van Dyke to began [sic] surveillance of BARRAGAN to determine what house he entered.
After returning to the area, I saw BARRAGAN walking west on Shetler Ave, in the area of Harding Ave. I lost sight of BARRAGAN and suspected he entered the residence at [REDACTED- Harding Ave], a residence known for Sureno gang activity. I had previously assisted on a search warrant at that address, in which BARRAGAN was the target. I stopped my car on Harding Ave, north of the residence, and began conducting surveillance.
NSIB Detective Sgt McWilliams, Detectives Ensley and Smith arrived on scene a short time later, as well as Napa Sheriff's Office Deputy Donaldson, who was in full uniform and in a marked black and white NSO patrol vehicle. NSIB Detectives all wore raid vests with large chest patches displaying law enforcement agencies. An operational briefing was conducted via radio.
A short time later, BARRAGAN exited the residence at [REDACTED- Harding Ave], wearing the same clothing I saw him in earlier. BARRAGAN was accompanied by another Hispanic Male Adult. I accelerated my car and stopped in front of the residence. I instructed BARRAGAN to get on the ground as I sprinted toward him. Det. Van Dyke instructed the other male to get on the ground. Barragan began to turn away from me to his left, and took a few steps toward the locked gate of the residence. The other subject also turned his body away and did not comply with the directive. As I reached BARRAGAN, he had his back completely toward me. I pushed him in his upper back with my hand, forcing him to the ground. I then ...

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