United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Norfolk Division
L. WRIGHT ALLEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are Objections filed by Defendant James William
Thomas, III to the Report and Recommendation issued by the
Magistrate Judge regarding Defendant's First Motion to
Suppress. ECF No. 79. Also before the Court are
Defendant's Objection to Appointment of Currently
Assigned Stand-by Counsel, ECF No. 80, and Defendant's
Motion to Transfer, ECF No. 84. For the reasons stated
herein, Defendant's objections to the Report and
Recommendation are OVERRULED.
Defendant's request that his current standby counsel be
relieved from duty is GRANTED, and no new
standby counsel will be appointed. Defendant's Motion to
Transfer is DENIED.
Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation contained a
detailed recitation of the facts surrounding the search of
Defendant's home and the seizure of property therefrom.
The Court adopts the Magistrate Judge's factual findings
2014, the Southampton County Sheriffs Office began
investigating a series of burglaries that had occurred in
Southampton County during a short timespan that year. ECF No.
51 at 55. Items stolen during these burglaries ranged from
small household items to larger items such as a refrigerator.
Id. at 57. Lieutenant Camden Cobb testified at the
hearing before the Magistrate Judge that in each of the
burglaries, "it seemed like everything was taken."
February 2014, Robert Clarke's home was burglarized.
Id. at 59. Mr. Clarke told police that he had
observed a white male drive a white pick-up truck by his
house regularly, and that he suspected that person of being
the culprit. Id. at 60. Mr. Clarke informed the
detectives that he believed that the suspect lived in a
trailer near Mr. Clarke's home. Id. He also gave
the detectives a list of thirty-eight items that he believed
were stolen. Id. at 65, 67.
April 27, 2014, a coin shop and attorney's office were
burglarized in nearby Franklin, Virginia. Id. at 68,
91. The burglar came back later that night, was arrested, and
was identified as Defendant. Id. Incident to
Defendant's arrest, police recovered power tools that
were consistent with tools Mr. Clarke had previously reported
stolen, and Mr. Clarke's name was written on a drill
battery recovered from Defendant. Id. at 68-69.
Defendant's arrest, Lt. Cobb wrote an affidavit for a
search warrant for Defendant's residence, which was
issued. Id. at 71. The affidavit read, in part,
things or persons to be searched for are . . . [a]ny and all
items and evidence related to the crimes of larceny and
burglary, to include but not limited to, cash, televisions
and other electronic devices, power tools, outdoor equipment,
chainsaws, firearms, ammunition, bows, binoculars, rods and
reels, game cameras, various types of hunting equipment and
sporting goods, camouflage clothing and household goods, and
any and all similar items.
search was permitted for
Any and all items and evidence related to the crime of
Larceny and Burglary, to include but not limited to cash,
televisions and other electronic devices, power tools,
outdoor equipment, [chainsaws], firearms, bows, binoculars,
rods and reels, game cameras, various types of hunting
equipment and sporting goods, camouflage clothing and
household goods and any and all similar items[.]
Southampton County Sheriffs Office executed the search
warrant over the course of three days. ECF No. 51 at 75-76.
Lt. Cobb testified that after officers began to inventory the
items known to be stolen, they "started to find evidence
of other burglaries and break-ins, and that information was
fairly quickly verified." Id. at 76.
the items in Defendant's residence had the names of the
true owners written on them. Id. at 82-84, 92.
Eventually, the Sheriffs Office determined that items that
were newer or of nicer quality were likely to be stolen.
Id. at 95-96. The Sheriffs Office then obtained a
second search warrant, which was identical in the items to be
searched but added an updated probable cause statement.
Id. at 98-99.
executing the search warrant, the Sheriffs Office seized
numerous electronic devices. Id. at 104. The
Sheriffs Office then attempted to determine the ownership of
those devices. Id. Law enforcement checked the
exteriors of the devices to see if they had identifying
information and they also contacted the manufacturers of the