United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
D. CRABTREE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
government has charged defendant Logan Bayard Bell in a
two-count Indictment: Count 1 charges Mr. Bell with being a
felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2); and Count 2 charges Mr.
Bell with being an unlawful user of a controlled substance in
possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§§ 922(g)(3) and 924(a)(2). Doc. 1. This matter
comes before the court on three motions filed by Mr. Bell:
(1) Motion for Bill of Particulars (Doc. 16); (2) Motion to
Dismiss Count II (Doc. 18); and (3) Motion to Suppress (Doc.
19). The government has filed responses to each of these
three motions. Docs. 21, 22, 24. On April 18, 2017, the court
conducted an evidentiary hearing on the Motion to Suppress.
After carefully considering the evidence and the parties'
submissions, the court denies all three motions.
18, 2016, Mr. Bell was driving a gray 4-door Chevy in Salina,
Kansas. While on patrol, Officer Aaron Carswell of the Salina
Police Department saw Mr. Bell driving the Chevy. Officer
Carswell recognized Mr. Bell from his past interactions with
him. Officer Carswell had dealt with Mr. Bell before when
investigating traffic violations and illegal narcotics. The
last of those direct interactions had occurred several months
Carswell testified that he knew Mr. Bell had a suspended
driver's license because he had checked the status of his
license several weeks before July 18. In preparation for his
testimony at the hearing, Officer Carswell checked the NCIC
database to determine the dates when Mr. Bell's license
was checked by someone using that system. The NCIC database
showed that the Salina Police Department made two inquires in
the NCIC database on June 11, 2016, to check the status of
Mr. Bell's license. Officer Carswell testified that he
made one of these two license checks. Thus, as of June 11,
2016, Officer Carswell knew that Mr. Bell's license was
NCIC database also showed that the Saline County
Sheriff's Department checked Mr. Bell's license on
June 16, 2016, and the Garden City Police Department checked
Mr. Bell's license on July 13, 2016. Mr. Bell's
license still was suspended on both dates. Officer Carswell
testified that he had talked with other law enforcement
officers about Mr. Bell in between his check of Mr.
Bell's license on June 11 and the traffic stop on July
18. The other law enforcement officers included Saline County
Sherriff's Department officers and Garden City Police
Department officers. The conversations involved the status of
Mr. Bell's driver's license, his suspected drug use,
and his suspected involvement in drug trafficking.
Carswell testified that he has conducted hundreds of stops
involving drivers with suspended licenses. Officer Carswell
also testified about the types of violations that can cause a
driver's license suspension. They include DUI
convictions, failing to comply with a traffic citation, no
proof of insurance, and many other circumstances. Officer
Carswell explained that the amount of time that it takes for
a driver to have his license reinstated depends on the nature
of the suspension. For example, a driver who has failed to
comply with a citation may have his license reinstated after
following the court's orders to fulfill the obligations
of the citation. Based on his experience, Officer Carswell
estimates that it can take a couple of months for a driver to
have his license reinstated.
motions hearing, the government presented evidence that Mr.
Bell's license was suspended on November 27, 2008,
because he had failed to comply with a citation. The NCIC
report actually shows that Mr. Bell never had a driver's
license. Because he had no driver's license and thus no
driver's license number, the State of Kansas generated a
number to track Mr. Bell in its records system. Mr. Bell
never procured a driver's license since the 2008
suspension. Thus, on July 18, 2016, Mr. Bell had no lawful
authority to operate a vehicle.
Carswell testified that he knew that Mr. Bell had made no
attempts to obtain a driver's license from November 27,
2008 to June 11, 2016, when Officer Carswell checked Mr.
Bell's license. Officer Carswell also knew from his more
recent conversations with other officers that Mr. Bell's
license still was suspended. Based on this knowledge, Officer
Carswell stopped Mr. Bell for the suspected traffic violation
of driving with a suspended license.
Officer Carswell initiated the traffic stop, Mr. Bell pulled
the car into a small driveway. Mr. Bell immediately exited
the vehicle and met Officer Carswell at the back of his
vehicle. Officer Carswell asked Mr. Bell about the status of
his license. Mr. Bell conceded that he knew his license was
Carswell testified that Mr. Bell appeared extremely nervous
during the traffic stop. He had a hard time standing still,
and he was sweating profusely. Based on Officer
Carswell's training and experience, he thought Mr. Bell
had some reason for his nervousness. Officer Carswell called
Mr. Bell's license into dispatch, and the dispatcher
confirmed that Mr. Bell's license was suspended. He thus
placed Mr. Bell under arrest.
on Officer Carswell's past interactions with Mr. Bell,
his known drug history, and his behavior during the traffic
stop, Officer Carswell called the Kansas Highway Patrol
(“KHP”) for a drug-sniffing dog. A KHP trooper
was near the scene, and he arrived with a dog about 10
minutes after Officer Carswell had placed Mr. Bell under
arrest. The dog conducted a sniff of the car's exterior,
and the dog alerted. When Officer Carswell opened the car
door to conduct a search, he saw a handgun in plain view
inside the compartment of the driver's side door. Officer
Carswell also found a marijuana cigarette that appeared torn
in half. Based on his training and experience, Officer
Carswell believed that a person would tear a marijuana
cigarette in half because he was trying to dispose of it or
conceal it. The marijuana cigarette was on the driver's
floorboard, directly in front of the driver's seat, and
within arm's reach of the driver. Officer Carswell
testified that the quantity of marijuana he located in the
car was consistent with user quantity, not distribution
Officer Carswell transported Mr. Bell after his arrest, Mr.
Bell asked unsolicited questions. Mr. Bell asked about the
charges he was facing. Officer Carswell responded that he had
arrested him for driving with a suspended license. Mr. Bell
asked, “Is that all?” He also asked Officer
Carswell if he had found anything else in the car.
Officer Carswell stopped Mr. Bell on July 18, he had
information that Mr. Bell was a user and distributor of
marijuana. He had learned this information from conversations
with other officers about Mr. Bell's use and distribution
of illegal drugs. The government also proffered at the
hearing that law enforcement had interviewed Kimberly ...