United States District Court, D. Arizona
G. Campbell Senior United States District Judge.
Timothy Lewis is charged with certain firearm offenses. Doc.
17. The firearms were found in his vehicle during a traffic
stop. Lewis has filed a motion to suppress evidence obtained
as a result of the stop. Doc. 22. The motion is fully
briefed. Docs. 40, 45. For reasons stated below, the Court
will deny the motion in part. A telephonic conference will be
held on December 20, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. to
address whether an evidentiary hearing is required for the
remainder of the motion.
Thursday June 21, 2018, Lewis was driving a rented Dodge
Charger west on Interstate 10 near Quartzite, Arizona. He was
returning to San Francisco from a trip to Phoenix,
accompanied by his cousin Todd. At approximately 3:14 p.m.,
Arizona Department of Public Safety (“DPS”)
Trooper Robert Huijkman observed Lewis's car travelling
too close to a semi-truck. Huijkman pursued the car and
pulled it over a few minutes later near milepost 48. The
video and audio equipment in Huijkman's patrol car
recorded the entire stop. See Doc. 44. The facts set
forth in this background section are based on a review of the
recordings, a transcript of the audio recording of the stop
(Doc. 47-1), and Huijkman's report (Doc. 40-1 at 1-13).
approached the car and requested Lewis's driver's
license and the rental car agreement, which Lewis provided.
Huijkman asked Lewis to come back to his patrol car. Lewis
complied. Huijkman checked Lewis for weapons and found none.
He got into his patrol car and rolled the windows down. Lewis
stood near the passenger side window of the patrol car.
Huijkman said he was going to write a warning and cautioned
Lewis to stay at least three seconds behind other vehicles.
asked Lewis what he was doing that day. Lewis responded that
he was heading home from a business trip to Phoenix and his
passenger was on vacation and along for the ride. Huijkman
inquired further about the nature of Lewis's business and
the trip to Phoenix. Lewis explained that he had an investing
company, was looking into cars in the Phoenix area, and was
trying to build business credit. This answer made no sense to
Huijkman. See Doc. 40-1 at 7. He asked whether Lewis
had legitimate business meetings and whether the trip paid
off. Lewis said he had only done some research and further
explained the nature of his business concept - a ride-sharing
business similar to what other companies offered in San
Francisco and Phoenix. Huijkman asked how long Lewis had been
in Phoenix, and Lewis said he travelled there on Monday and
stayed a few days.
apologized for taking so long to write the warning,
explaining that his computer had to start back-up and was
just “circling.” He asked about the passenger.
Lewis said Todd was his cousin. He asked who rented the car,
and Lewis said it was his fiancée, Jessica Harrison.
Huijkman confirmed this from the rental agreement.
computer started and he asked for Lewis's social security
number. He then asked where they stayed on the trip. Lewis
said the Three Palms hotel in Scottsdale. He asked for
Lewis's phone number and followed up with several more
questions about Lewis's business and what he did for a
daytime job. Lewis explained that he had something
established in San Francisco and was seeking to establish
business credit in order to finance a fleet of cars.
exited his patrol car and approached the passenger side of
Lewis's vehicle to see if Todd could find the vehicle
registration in the glove box. He observed that Todd's
hands were shaking and his breathing appeared accelerated. He
asked Todd some of the same questions he had posed to Lewis.
Todd said they had arrived in Phoenix on Sunday or Monday,
had stayed a few days at Motel 6 or the Three Palms hotel,
and that he was on vacation while Lewis was there on
business. Huijkman asked what Todd did while Lewis was
conducting business. Todd explained that he had just recently
moved from Texas, had not seen Lewis for a while, and sat by
the pool when Lewis was away. When Todd was not able to find
the registration, Huijkman returned to his patrol car to
complete the warning.
asked Lewis what Todd did while he was conducting business in
Phoenix. Lewis said they “were together” and he
“didn't do much business.” Huijkman found
this statement inconsistent with what Todd had said. See
Id. at 9.
completed the written warning and Lewis signed it. As
Huijkman was scanning the signature into his computer system,
he asked whether Todd had been in trouble before because he
was shaking badly and it is unusual for a passenger to be
that scared. Lewis said Todd was scared of everything, even
women. Huijkman asked where Todd was from, and Lewis said San
Francisco and they had “both lived out there all
[their] lives.” This contradicted Todd's statement
that he recently had moved from Texas.
gave Lewis the warning and returned his license and the
rental agreement. At this point, the traffic stop had lasted
approximately 16 minutes. See id. at 10. Huijkman
told Lewis that he enforces traffic laws but also looks for
criminal activity, noting that a lot of drugs are transported
on Interstate 10. He asked whether there were any drugs,
weapons, or large amounts of currency in the car. Lewis said
no. Huijkman expressed concern about inconsistencies in the
answers Lewis and Todd had given. Lewis explained that if
Huijkman was talking about him leaving Todd at the hotel, he
had in fact done so a few times to meet with another romantic
partner, but did not want to talk about it because he had a
fiancée. Huijkman asked for Lewis's consent to
search the car. Lewis did not consent and asked why Huijkman
was asking so many questions. Lewis observed that the
questioning was a bit much for following another vehicle too
asked if he could walk his drug-sniffing dog, Klea, around
the car. Lewis consented. Huijkman walked Klea around the car
and she alerted positively to the front passenger door.
Huijkman, with the assistance of other DPS troopers who had
arrived on the scene, searched the car and found multiple
guns and some ammunition. No. drugs were found.
and Todd were transported to the Quartzite police station for
interviews with ATF agents. Todd was released after the
interviews, but Lewis was detained because his prior felony
conviction made him a prohibited possessor of the guns.
prepared a report one week after the traffic stop. Doc. 40-1
at 1-13. With respect to his questioning after he issued the
warning, Huijkman identified three factors that led him to
believe criminal activity was afoot: Todd's nervous
behavior, conflicting stories about staying together in
Phoenix and where Todd lived, and the illogical story about
the purpose of being in Phoenix. Id. at 10.
government filed a criminal complaint on June 22, 2018. Doc.
1. A superseding indictment charges Lewis with being a felon
in possession of a firearm in violation 18 U.S.C. §
922(g) (count one), conspiracy under 18 U.S.C. § 371
(count two), and providing false statements in connection
with the acquisition of firearms in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(a) (counts three through seven). Doc. 17.
to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12(b)(3), Lewis moves
to suppress all evidence obtained as a result of the traffic
stop. Doc. 22. He contends that the evidence was obtained in
violation of the Fourth Amendment's bar against
unreasonable searches and seizures because the stop was