Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Evans

United States District Court, D. Nevada

January 14, 2020

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
STEVEN ROBERT EVANS, Defendant.

          ORDER

          RICHARD F. BOULWARE, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court is Mr. Evans' Motion to Suppress [ECF No. 21]. The Court held an evidentiary hearing on this Motion. For the reasons stated below, the Court denies the Motion to Suppression.

         II. FACTUAL FINDINGS

         The Court makes the following factual findings based upon consideration of all of the evidence submitted at the evidentiary hearing in this case.

         At approximately 2:15 a.m. on March 4, 2019 Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officers responded to a 911 call. The 911 call was from Defendant Steven Evans' wife Crystal Jesus-Vales. She reported in the call that Evans had pointed a shotgun at her. She also informed the dispatcher that her two-year old son was in the same apartment where Evans had pointed a gun at her. At the direction of the dispatcher, she left the apartment. She left her son inside of the apartment. The Court cannot clearly determine why she did this, especially since she did not testify at the hearing.

         Officers Smith and Laducer are the first officers to arrive on the scene. They see Jesus-Vales outside of the apartment and direct her to walk towards them to talk. She tells the officers that the there is a shotgun in the apartment and that this shotgun is sitting on her son's bed. She confirmed that her husband, Defendant Evans, was still inside of the apartment. She provided conflicting information about his last known location in the apartment. Officers then directed Jesus-Vales to move further away from the apartment entrance.

         After other officers arrive, officers Smith and Laducer approached the front door of the apartment which was partially open. Officer Laducer yelled “Steven, Metro Police we know you are inside please come out with your hands up.” Laducer repeated this statement and order multiple times for several minutes. There was no response from the apartment. Officer Laducer then yells into the apartment, “Are there any kids in there? Steven we just want to make sure you are okay.” There was no response from anyone in the apartment. Officer Laducer repeatedly says at the ajar door, “Steven can you please talk to us?” No response comes. Other officers arrive on the scene. Officer Laducer called the dispatch radio operator to try to obtain a telephone number for the apartment to attempt to call inside of the apartment. Officer Smith continued to announce the officers' presence and repeatedly ask “Steven” to “just talk” to the officers. Officer Smith then yells, “Steven how is your baby? We want to make sure the baby is alright?” Still there was no response. The officers used their flashlights to attempt to view the interior of the apartment. They could not see the inside of bedrooms inside of the apartment and they could not see anyone in the apartment, but they did not have a full or complete view of the interior of the apartment. Their view was limited in detail and depth into the apartment.

         Other officers, including Sergeant Theobald, arrived on the scene over the course of the initial officers' investigation into the circumstances of the domestic incident. Jesus-Vales told Theobald that Evans been holding the gun and waving the gun around when she decided to call 911. She initially told Theobald that Evans had pointed the gun towards her and then said that he pointed the gun upward. She said that Evans had not made any explicitly threatening statements while holding the gun. Sergeant Theobald then directed Jesus-Vales to remain around the corner from the front of the apartment.

         When Theobald returned to the front of the door, the officers asked Theobald for permission to enter to apartment. He gave them permission to enter the apartment. The officers had been yelling at the front of the apartment for 10-15 minutes without receiving a response before finally entering the apartment. Upon entering the apartment, the officers encountered Evans in the apartment in a bed. His son was lying on the bed next to him. An assault rifle is propped against the front of the bed in plain view. Evans is arrested and the loaded rifle is taken into evidence. Officers never obtained a warrant to enter or search the apartment.

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         The “physical entry of the home is the chief evil against which the wording of the Fourth Amendment is directed.” Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 585 (1980) (quoting United States v. U.S. District Court, 407 U.S. 297, 313 (1972)). For that reason, “searches and seizures inside a home without a warrant are presumptively unreasonable.” Id. at 586. “There are two general exceptions to the warrant requirement for home searches: exigency and emergency.” United States v. Martinez, 406 F.3d 1160, 1164 (9th Cir. 2005). In terms of the exigency exception, the Ninth Circuit has explained that it “define[s] circumstances as those circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe that entry was necessary to prevent physical harm to the officers or other persons, the destruction of relevant evidence, the escape of the suspect, or some other consequence improperly frustrating legitimate law enforcement efforts.” Id. (internal citations omitted). “In addition to exigency, officers must have probable cause. Officers have probable cause for a search when 'the known facts and circumstances are sufficient to warrant a man of reasonable prudence in the belief that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found.” Huff v. City of Burbank, 632 F.3d 539, 545 (9th Cir. 2011) overruled on other grounds, 565 U.S. 469 (2012).

         Alternately, "[t]he emergency doctrine provides that if a police officer, while investigating within the scope necessary to respond to an emergency, discovers evidence of illegal activity, that evidence is admissible even if there was not probable cause to believe that such evidence would have been found.” Id. (internal citations omitted). The emergency doctrine has three requirements:

“(1) The police must have reasonable grounds to believe that there is an emergency at hand and an immediate need for their assistance for the protection of life or property. (2) The search must not be primarily motivated by intent to arrest and seize evidence. (3) There must be some reasonable basis, approximating probable cause, ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.