Factual backgroundOn January 28, 1999, the District Court of Sequoyah County, Oklahoma, issued a warrant for Barrett’s arrest on charges of unlawful delivery of a controlled drug and failure to appear for jury trial. Although Barrett managed to avoid arrest during the ensuing months, state law enforcement officials were aware of his presence and continued to investigate his activities. In September of 1999, Clint Johnson, the supervising agent and field supervisor for the District Twenty-Seven Drug Task Force (Task Force), which encompassed Cherokee, Wagoner, Adair and Sequoyah Counties in Oklahoma, received information from a confidential informant (CI) that Barrett was manufacturing and distributing methamphetamine at his residence. Johnson, using the information provided by the CI, prepared an affidavit for a search warrant. On September 20, 1999, the District Court of Sequoyah County issued the requested search warrant for Barrett’s residence. The warrant authorized law enforcement officers to conduct the search “at any time of the day and/or night,” and to enter Barrett’s residence “without the normally required knocking and announcing . . . due to the violent and unstable nature of . . . BARRETT and the danger posed to law enforcement personnel by . . . BARRETT and/or other unknown persons who may be present.” Aplee. Supp. App. at 3. The items to be seized included methamphetamine or other controlled dangerous substances, paraphernalia, drug manufacturing equipment and supplies, and written records and documents pertaining to drug manufacturing and distribution.
Johnson considered the search warrant to be “high risk” in nature. Tr. at 308. In particular, Johnson was aware that Barrett routinely carried firearms and had threatened to kill law enforcement officers if they “showed up at his residence.” Id. at 333. Further, Johnson was aware that Barrett’s residence was accessible only by a dead-end road, that several of Barrett’s relatives lived in residences nearby, and that there was little cover around the residence from which the search team could perform surveillance. Accordingly, Johnson contacted the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s Tactical Team (Tact Team) for assistance in serving the warrant. The Tact Team was “highly trained and specialized in [serving] . . . high risk search warrants . . . .” Id. at 307. Johnson and another Task Force leader met with Tact Team members to discuss the execution of the warrant. It was determined that the Tact Team would enter and secure the area first, and that the Task Force would then perform the actual search of Barrett’s residence.
The Tact Team met during the daylight hours of September 23, 1999, and developed a plan for entering and securing Barrett’s residence. As part of this planning process, three members of the Tact Team drove by Barrett’s residence in an unmarked Ford Bronco during the early evening hours. Travis Crawford, Barrett’s cousin, was in the vicinity at the time of the drive-by and observed Barrett walk to the area of the front gate after the Bronco drove by his residence. Crawford spoke to Barrett and Barrett indicated he had seen the Bronco and knew it belonged to law enforcement officers. When Crawford told Barrett that the law enforcement officers would likely return to serve the warrant, Barrett responded by saying “D.G.F.,” which, according to Crawford, meant “Don’t give a fuck.” Id. at 466. Further, Barrett told Crawford that “he was going out in a blaze of glory.” Id.
Judge(s): Mary Briscoe
Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
|Circuit Court Judge(s)|
|Trial Court Judge(s)|
|Plaintiff Lawyer(s)||Plaintiff Law Firm(s)|
|Michael Littlefield||U.S. Department of Justice|
|Sheldon Sperling||U.S. Department of Justice|
|Defendant Lawyer(s)||Defendant Law Firm(s)|
|Roger Hilfiger||Cook & Hilfiger|
|Mark Henricksen||Henricksen & Henricksen Lawyers Inc|