FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
MASSACHUSETTS [Hon. Michael A. Ponsor, U.S. District Judge]
B. Hirsch, for appellant.
Katharine A. Wagner, Assistant United States Attorney, with
whom Carmen M. Ortiz, United States Attorney, was on brief,
Torruella, Lipez, and Thompson, Circuit Judges.
THOMPSON, Circuit Judge.
Ray Rivera pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a
firearm. See 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). His
conditional plea reserved the right to appeal from the
district judge's order denying his motion to suppress
evidence seized from his home - a seizure authorized by a
warrant issued by the same judge. Rivera had argued below
that the affidavit DEA special agent John Barron submitted in
support of the application failed to establish probable cause
because it did not provide an adequate nexus between his drug
dealing and his house. Rivera had also asked the judge for an
evidentiary hearing - dubbed a "Franks hearing,
" after Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154 (1978)
- so that he could challenge the truthfulness of Barron's
affidavit statements. But the judge concluded that even if
the affidavit failed to supply probable cause (a question the
judge saw no need to decide), Rivera's suppression bid
failed because Barron had obtained the warrant in good faith.
See United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897, 922 (1984)
(discussing how evidence seized in good faith, in reliance on
a warrant later invalidated, may still be admissible). And
the judge also concluded that Rivera had failed to make the
substantial showing of probable falsity on Barron's part,
thus making a Franks hearing unnecessary.
unhappy Rivera appeals both aspects of the judge's
ruling. We affirm, though on the first issue we think law
enforcement actually had probable cause for the search -
which removes any need to invoke the good-faith exception.
only those facts necessary to put the probable-cause issue
into workable perspective - presenting them, of course, in
the light most favorable to the suppression ruling. See,
e.g., United States v. McGregor, 650 F.3d 813,
823–24 (1st Cir. 2011); United States v.
Owens, 167 F.3d 739, 743 (1st Cir. 1999).
2012, a Vermont state trooper stopped an SUV for a traffic
infraction. The driver, Shawn Kivela, consented to a vehicle
search. And that search turned up about 5 ounces of what
turned out to be crack cocaine.
trooper arrested and Mirandized Kivela and his passengers,
Randy and Star Gaboriault. After the trio waived their
Miranda rights, a series of police interviews
ensued. Among other juicy tidbits, law enforcement learned
from Kivela that he and the Gaboriaults had driven to
Springfield, Massachusetts to meet with a "Puerto Rican
male" known as "Melvin" or "Randy"
"Randy" for simplicity) at a third-floor apartment
at 6 Beaumont Street - a very sparsely furnished apartment
that "Randy" used as a drug-stash house, not
(apparently) as a home. Kivela said that the Gaboriaults had
bought about 5 ounces of crack from "Randy" too -
paying him $7, 000, according to Star Gaboriault - and
body-cavity searches of the Gaboriaults uncovered that crack
amount. Kivela added that he had been buying crack from
"Randy" on a weekly basis since 2009. The
Gaboriaults routinely accompanied him on these drug-buying
sprees - Kivela would score about 3 or 4 ounces of crack per
visit, while the Gaboriaults would score between 6 and 9
ounces. Kivela and "Randy" would communicate by
text, Kivela said. And he identified a photo of Rivera as
it turns out, was no stranger to the Springfield police - a
criminal-record check disclosed 13 prior narcotics
convictions plus a prior ammunition-possession conviction. He
lived at 56 Merwin Street (a street in Springfield) with his
girlfriend Yayaira Guzman, a confidential source
("CS") told the police. Registry-of-deeds records
showed that Guzman solely owned the Merwin-Street property.
The CS also identified some cars (registered to Guzman at the
Merwin-Street address) - including a white Infiniti FX-35 -
that Rivera used. A police-surveillance team regularly saw
Rivera and Guzman entering and leaving the Merwin-Street
property, and routinely saw the cars described by the CS at
that address as well.
helpfully for the police, the CS eventually agreed to
participate in a controlled buy of crack from Rivera. On the
day of the buy, but before the buy went down, a DEA agent
spotted the Infiniti FX-35 at 56 Merwin Street - Rivera's
home - at 9 a.m. and again at 1:45 p.m. Around 2:47 p.m., the
CS phoned Rivera to say that he would be at 6 Beaumont Street
- Rivera's stash house - shortly. The DEA saw the
Infiniti drive away from Rivera's home around 2:50 p.m.,
roughly 3 minutes after the CS's call. At about 2:56
p.m., Rivera texted the CS to ...