Argued: October 10, 2018
from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of West Virginia, at Charleston. Joseph R. Goodwin,
District Judge (2:16-cr-00175-1)
Coleman, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Charleston,
West Virginia, for Appellant.
Meredith George Thomas, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY,
Charleston, West Virginia, for Appellee.
Christian M. Capece, Federal Public Defender, Jonathan D.
Byrne, Research & Writing Specialist, OFFICE OF THE
FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Charleston, West Virginia, for
Michael B. Stuart, United States Attorney, Charleston, West
Virginia, W. Clinton Carte, Assistant United States Attorney,
OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Huntington, West
Virginia, for Appellee.
GREGORY, Chief Judge, MOTZ, and DIAZ, Circuit Judges.
GREGORY, Chief Judge.
D. Terry appeals his conviction for possession of
methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. See
21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). Terry challenges the district
court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence seized
during a traffic stop. Drug task force agents effectuated the
stop through the illegal use of a global positioning system
("GPS") search. The district court found the agents
committed a flagrant constitutional violation but ultimately
denied Terry's motion to suppress for lack of standing.
For the reasons below, we conclude that Terry had standing
and that the discovery of the evidence seized during the
traffic stop was not sufficiently attenuated from the
unlawful GPS search to purge the taint of the unlawful
search. We therefore reverse the district court's order
denying Terry's motion to suppress, vacate Terry's
conviction, and remand for further proceedings consistent
with this opinion.
parties do not dispute the facts underlying Terry's
motion to suppress. The Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network
Team ("MDENT"), a drug task force operating in
Charleston, West Virginia, started investigating Terry when
an officer found remnants of drugs in trash placed outside of
a residence associated with Terry. From this evidence and
other information, an MDENT agent acquired a search warrant
for Terry's residence. On April 18, 2016, agents saw
Terry leave his residence driving a gold Kia Optima and
followed him to a local store. Once Terry had parked,
Corporal D.C. Johnson approached the Kia and smelled
marijuana. After speaking with Corporal Johnson, Terry turned
over a small amount of marijuana and Corporal Johnson
searched the car. Nothing further of interest was found, and
Corporal Johnson wrote Terry a misdemeanor citation for ...