United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi
SHARION AYCOCK, JADGE.
August 23, 2018, Fredrick Matthews was indicted for conduct
stemming from an April 8, 2018, traffic stop in Cleveland,
Mississippi. Now before the Court is the Defendant's
Motion in Limine  regarding the $4, 857 seized from the
Defendant's person during the traffic stop and the
Defendant's Motion in Limine  regarding the body-cam
video recorded during the traffic stop.
April 8, 2018, at 2:38 A.M. the Cleveland Police Department
received a call from Dorothy Rose, a security guard for
Dodge's Chicken Store, stating that two men were involved
in an altercation outside of Dodge's Chicken Store and
that they were talking about a shooting. At 2:39 A.M.,
dispatch called back for more information because the call
was disconnected. During the second call, Dorothy Rose
informed dispatch that while she did not see a gun, she heard
one of the individuals tell another to “put the gun
down.” She believed that the individual with the gun
was in a white Pontiac and indicated that the vehicle was
parked at pump four.
the vehicle began to drive away, Dorothy Rose informed
dispatch that the vehicle was headed towards Highway 61. The
responding officer, Officer Tharp, located the white Pontiac
and proceeded to follow behind the vehicle. Dorothy Rose
stayed on the phone to confirm the patrol car was behind the
vehicle she identified at Dodge's. After Officer Tharp
pulled over the white Pontiac, Dorothy Rose confirmed the
officer pulled over the correct vehicle and stated that she
did not know where the other individual went.
Officer Tharp initiated the stop, Officer Harvey arrived on
scene and asked the Defendant if any weapons were in the
vehicle. The Defendant indicated that his weapon was beneath
him under the passenger seat. Officer Harvey asked all four
subjects to exit the vehicle and searched the vehicle. The
search revealed firearms and drugs. Officer Harvey then
searched the Defendant and discovered ninety pills, which
tests revealed to contain methamphetamine, and $4, 857 in
cash on the Defendant's person.
the search, Officer Harvey was wearing a body camera that
recorded the encounter. The video reveals Officer Harvey
alluding to a potential car chase between himself and the
Defendant on a previous date and suggesting that the
Defendant avoided arrest during said car chase. Officer
Harvey can be heard requesting permission to place the
Defendant in his patrol car.
motion in limine is a motion made prior to trial for the
purpose of prohibiting opposing counsel from mentioning the
existence of, alluding to, or offering evidence on matters so
highly prejudicial to the moving party that a timely motion
to strike or an intrusion by the court to the jury to
disregard the offending matter cannot overcome its
prejudicial influence on the jurors' minds.”
O'Rear v. Ruehauf Corp., 554 F.2d 1303, 1306 n. 1
(5th Cir. 1977). “The purpose of motions in limine is
not to re-iterate matters which are set forth elsewhere in
the Rules of Civil Procedure or Rules of Evidence, but,
rather, to identify specific issues which are likely to arise
at trial, and which, due to their complexity or potential
prejudicial nature, are best addressed in the context of a
motion in limine.” Maggette v. BL Dev. Corp.,
No. 2:07-CV-181-MPM, 2011 WL 2134578, *4 (N.D. Miss. May 27,
in Limine regarding the $4, 857 
Defendant's first Motion in Limine  seeks to prohibit
the Government from drawing a causal connection from the $4,
857 as evidence of the Defendant's intent to distribute
or possess contraband. In support of his position, the
Defendant asserts that “the Mississippi State Court
found that said monies did [not] have any connection to the
possession or sale of contraband, and ordered the Cleveland
Police Department to return said monies to Defendant,
hearing on this Motion held on December 13, 2018, the
Defendant provided a copy of the Bolivar County Court Order.
Contrary to the Defendant's assertion, the order shows
that the County Court ordered the return of the $4, 857 to
the Defendant because the city of Cleveland failed to obtain
a seizure warrant within seventy-two hours of seizing the
cash, as required by Mississippi Code § 41-29-153(f)(1).
Therefore, the Bolivar County Court did not make a finding on
the merits regarding the $4, 857, but instead made its
finding based merely on a statute of limitation.
the Defendant has provided no authority in support of his
position, this issue is well-settled in the Fifth Circuit.
For example, intent to distribute “may be inferred from
the presence of distribution paraphernalia, large quantities
of cash, or the value and quality of the substance.”
United States v. Cardenas, 9 F.3d 1139, 1158 (5th
Cir. 1993). Additionally, the Fifth Circuit held in
United States v. Munoz, 957 F.2d 171, 174 (5th Cir.
1992), that it was reasonable for the jury to infer Munoz
possessed the cocaine for distribution purposes after he was
found with a very high grade of cocaine, suitable for further
dilution, and that he carried this cocaine along with $1,
000. Finally, the Fifth Circuit has determined that
“[f]irearms are ‘tools of the trade' of those
engaged in illegal drug activities.” United States
v. Aguilera-Zapata, 901 F.2d 1209, 1215 (5th Cir. 1992).
gauging the relevance, or lack thereof, of potential
evidence, the question before the Court is whether such
evidence “has any tendency to make a fact more or less
probable than it would be without the evidence, ” and
secondly, whether that “fact is of consequence in
determining the action.” Fed.R.Evid. 401(a) and (b).
Given the Fifth Circuit authority regarding this issue, the
large amount of cash found on the Defendant's person,
coupled with the possession of a firearm, lends to the
reasonable conclusion that the pills seized were for
distribution purposes. ...