United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
D. Crabtree United States District Judge.
Gary L. Gillom has filed a Motion to Suppress Evidence (Doc.
27). The government responded to Mr. Gillom's motion
(Doc. 28). Mr. Gillom submitted a Supplement to his motion
(Doc. 36), and the government submitted a response to the
Supplement (Doc. 43). The court conducted an evidentiary
hearing on February 6, 2017. At the end of that hearing, Mr.
Gillom asked for leave to submit additional briefing to
address issues identified during the hearing. The court
established a schedule and Mr. Gillom submitted a
Post-Hearing Brief on Motion to Suppress (Doc. 50). The
government filed a Response to Mr. Gillom's Post-Hearing
Brief (Doc. 51). After carefully considering the evidence and
the parties' submissions, the court denies Mr.
11, 2016, law enforcement officers executed an arrest warrant
for Mr. Gillom at a residence in Kansas City, Kansas. Before
executing the warrant, officers surveilled the residence.
Officers observed a woman leaving the house, and she left the
area in a car she was driving. Two officers stopped the car
about 10 blocks from the residence. The officers told the
woman that they had stopped her for a safety belt violation
and because the tags did not match the car. The officers
questioned the woman, and she identified herself as Lashandra
Darden. The officers eventually asked the woman to step out
of the car. In response to additional questions, Ms. Darden
confirmed that she owns the residence that officers were
watching and that Mr. Gillom is her brother. Ms. Darden told
officers that Mr. Gillom was inside the residence, along with
her three daughters, ages 14, 9, and 8.
Darden was traveling with a friend, Trey, an African American
male. Trey was riding in the front passenger seat of the car
when the officers stopped Ms. Darden. Ms. Darden testified
that, initially, she was worried during the traffic stop
because of recent police shootings of African American males.
Ms. Darden said that she had talked to her children about how
to interact with the police. She has told them to stay calm
and comply with officers' requests because she wants her
kids to stay safe and come home.
her worries, Ms. Darden described her conversation with the
officers as a pleasant one. She testified that the officers
were not rude or aggressive. They did not threaten her,
mistreat her, or use violence in any way. The officers did
not promise Ms. Darden anything or lie to her. The officers
told Ms. Darden that they were not going to give her a ticket
for the traffic violations. And, they ended the traffic stop
by giving Ms. Darden a verbal warning. Also, the officers
told Ms. Darden's passenger that they would help him
after he expressed concerns that the traffic stop may cause
him to miss a court date. Specifically, the officers told Ms.
Darden that they would contact the court to explain why Trey
did not appear for court and make sure he did not get into
trouble for missing his court date.
the traffic stop, one of the officers asked Ms. Darden if she
would provide a key to her house so that officers could enter
the home to arrest Mr. Gillom. Ms. Darden agreed to give the
officers her house key because she did not want law
enforcement kicking in her door or breaking windows to gain
entry to the home. Ms. Darden also told the officers that she
was worried about her children because they were in the
house. And, she told the officers that she wanted to go to
the house right then. The officers told Ms. Darden that she
couldn't go to the house until after officers had
arrested Mr. Gillom.
Ms. Darden provided her house key, officers drove it over to
Ms. Darden's residence. Using the key, officers entered
the home and arrested Mr. Gillom. Ms. Darden returned to her
home after the arrest. When she arrived, she saw Mr. Gillom
sitting outside of the house. And then, she saw officers
escort Mr. Gillom into a vehicle and drive him away. Ms.
Darden also saw her daughters outside the home. Her daughters
were wearing pajamas and no shoes.
Darden estimates that about 15 officers were around the
house, both inside and outside the residence. As Ms. Darden
stood outside her home, two Deputy United States Marshals
approached her and spoke with her about providing consent to
search the residence. One of them was Deputy United States
Marshal Chris Johnson. Deputy Johnson explained that the
officers wanted to check the residence for some evidentiary
items. He also told Ms. Darden that she and her family could
not enter the home until the search was completed. Deputy
Johnson explained to Ms. Darden that she had two options. The
first option was for Ms. Darden to consent to the search of
her home. Her consent would allow the officers immediate
access to the home to complete their search, and Ms. Darden
and her family could reenter their home when the search
ended. The second option would require the officers to seek a
warrant from a judge. The officers told Ms. Darden that the
search warrant process could take anywhere from an hour until
the end of the day. And, during that process, the officers
would not allow Ms. Darden, her family, or anyone else to go
into the home. It is, the officers testified, standard law
enforcement procedure for officers to prohibit entry into a
residence that officers intend to search so that evidence
Darden testified that she asked the officers what they were
searching for, and they told her that they were looking for a
weapon. Ms. Darden told them that she had no weapons in her
home, and she gave permission to the officers to search the
residence. Deputy Johnson presented Ms. Darden with a form
giving the officers consent to search. Ms. Darden signed the
form. It provided:
These deputies are authorized by me to take from my premises
any letters, papers, materials, or other property which they
This written permission is given by me to the above-named
person(s) voluntarily and without threats or promises of any
36-2 at 1. Ms. Darden testified that she never read the
language on the form before signing it. But Deputy Johnson
testified that it appeared to him that Ms. Darden read the
form before signing it.
Darden also testified that the officers never threatened her
when she signed the form. Instead, the officers told Ms.
Darden that they intended to get a warrant, that obtaining
the warrant could take some time, and that they could not let
her back into the home until they had searched the house. Ms.
Darden described the conversation with the officers as
pleasant. She said that the officers were not aggressive
during their conversation. But, Ms. Darden was mad that the
officers would not let her into the house because one of her
daughters needed to use the restroom. After Ms. Darden signed
the form, the officers let her escort her daughter into the
house to visit the restroom.
Johnson testified that Ms. Darden was cordial and
cooperative, and she did not seem afraid during their
conversation. He thought that Ms. Darden seemed more
concerned about her friend Trey missing his court date.
Deputy Johnson gave his business card to Trey. He instructed
Trey to give it to his attorney and to tell his attorney to
call him if Trey had any issues with missing the court date.
Indeed, Deputy Johnson received a call from Trey a few days
later. Deputy Johnson told Trey that he had contacted the
court to explain why Trey had missed the court date. Deputy
Johnson also testified that he was not required to contact
the court for Trey. But, he did so because he wanted to help
Trey after he and Ms. Darden had cooperated with the
Ms. Darden signed the consent form, the officers searched her
home for about 15 to 20 minutes. The officers never found a
weapon in the home. And, according to Ms. Darden, none of the
officers told her that they were looking for items in the
home other than a weapon. But, Deputy Johnson testified that
he also had told Ms. Darden that the officers were looking
for other items. Deputy Johnson spoke with Detective Victor
Riggin of the Topeka Police Department after Mr. Gillom's
arrest. Detective Riggin was investigating Mr. Gillom's
suspected involvement with an aggravated robbery in Topeka,
Kansas. Detective Riggin told Deputy Johnson that law
enforcement was looking for a weapon, a cell phone, and a
Darth Vader hooded sweatshirt that one of the suspects had
worn during a recent robbery. So, officers searched for those