United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
ORDER ON MOTION TO SUPPRESS (DOC. NO. 57)
SOROKIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Carlos Cuevas moves to suppress a portion of the evidence
seized in the course of a traffic stop. The Motion, Doc. No.
57, is DENIED.
parties base their statements of facts on the incident report
written by Massachusetts State Police Trooper Jeffrey Russell
dated July 12, 2016. Neither party submits an affidavit or
otherwise challenges the facts described by Trooper Russell.
Thus, the Court, only briefly, summarizes the relevant facts.
12, 2016 Trooper Russell observed a black 2009 Chevy Tahoe
drift from the middle lane into the left lane on I-90. Doc.
No. 57 at 1. Trooper Russell pulled the Tahoe over for a
marked lane violation. Id. Cuevas was the driver of
the Tahoe and the only person in the car. Id. at
2.Cuevas does not challenge the marked lane violation or the
lawfulness of this initial stop. After Cuevas stopped,
Trooper Russell walked up to Cuevas and observed Cuevas
putting banded money into the center console of the car.
Id. at 2. A discussion ensued in the course of which
Cuevas stated he had $2, 500 in cash in the console, Cuevas
appeared nervous, Cuevas stated he was en route to New York
(later clarified to New Jersey) and Cuevas produced both his
license and the registration for the car. Id. at
2-3. Trooper Russell, at this point, requested that Cuevas
consent to a search of the car. Id. at 3. Cuevas
agreed. Id. Thereafter, Trooper Russell had Cuevas
get out the car and stand behind the Tahoe while Trooper
Russell checked his license and registration which were both
valid. Id. Trooper Russell then pat frisked Cuevas
and had him sit in the back of the cruiser while Trooper
Russell searched the car. Id. The search produced a
ziplock bag containing just over $100, 000 in United States
currency. Id. Trooper Russell informed the Defendant
of his Miranda rights and further questioning not
relevant to the merits of this Motion ensued. Id. at
3-4. The Drug Enforcement Agency seized the money.
Id. at 4. Trooper Russell directed Cuevas to follow
him to the barracks to obtain a receipt. Id. Trooper
Russell gave Cuevas a receipt as well as a written warning
for the lane violation and impeded operation of the vehicle.
Id. Cuevas then left. Id.
Cuevas seeks to suppress the ziplock bag full of money and
the statements he made about the money as well as the purpose
of his drive (made after he consented to the search) on the
ground that the Trooper prolonged the stop without a lawful
basis to do so.
the law imposes limitations on an officer's authority to
require a person to remain on the side of the road for a
traffic stop. See, e.g., Illinois v.
Caballes, 543 U.S. 405, 407 (2005). But Cuevas's
focus on duration-of-the-stop cases is misguided. Cuevas has
not challenged the duration of the stop prior to Trooper
Russell seeking consent and, in any event, that period was
reasonable. Trooper Russell's discussion with Cuevas, up
to this point, was not unduly prolonged and Trooper Russell
requested permission to search the car before he had even
checked Cuevas's license and registration, clearly a task
essential to the issuance of a warning or ticket. See
id. at 407. Then, Trooper Russell sought consent, a
permissible request by a law enforcement officer, and Cuevas
granted the consent. Cuevas does not contend that his consent
was involuntary or obtained in violation of law. The Trooper
proceeded to search the car and undertake the follow up steps
that ensued as a result of finding the ziplock bag of cash.
Cuevas does not contend that the Trooper unreasonably
prolonged the duration of these activities. Nor does Cuevas
contend that at any point he revoked his consent or told the
Trooper to stop searching the car, to halt the search or to
permit him (Cuevas) to leave. Accordingly, in these
circumstances, where Cuevas voluntarily agreed to the search
of the car and thus agreed to the extension of the traffic
stop, Cuevas has no basis to challenge the lawfulness of this
stop on the ground that the Trooper may have lacked a
permissible basis to extend the stop for the search absent
such permission, the only argument advanced by Cuevas.
Cf. United States v. Chaney, 584 F.3d 20, 26 (1st
Cir. 2009) (noting that a traffic stop can be extended
without consent provided that the officer developed
reasonable suspicion within the time permitted for the
the Court declines to hold an evidentiary hearing on the
motion to suppress. An evidentiary hearing is not required
where there is no factual dispute between the parties.
United States v. Allen, 573 F.3d 42, 51-52 (1st Cir.
2009). Cuevas has not disputed the Trooper's factual
rendition of the events. Cuevas has not submitted an
affidavit and Cuevas has not contended that his consent was
involuntary. Rather, Cuevas has argued that the Trooper had
no lawful basis to continue the stop to conduct the search
where Cuevas has conceded he agreed to the search. In these
circumstances, no hearing is required.
the Motion to Suppress, Doc. No. 57 is DENIED. By August 31,
2017, the parties shall file a Joint Status Report (a)
advising the Court how they wish to proceed in this matter
and (b) containing the parties' joint or separate
calculations of the Speedy Trial ...