226 F.3d 626 (7th Cir. 2000), 99-2881, United States v E. Husband

Docket Nº:99-2881
Citation:226 F.3d 626
Party Name:United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Eunice Husband, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:August 22, 2000
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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226 F.3d 626 (7th Cir. 2000)

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Eunice Husband, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 99-2881

In the United States Court of Appeals, For the Seventh Circuit

August 22, 2000

Argued January 14, 2000

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. No. 98 CR 30050--Richard H. Mills, Judge.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Before Flaum, Chief Judge, and Easterbrook and Ripple, Circuit Judges.

Flaum, Chief Judge.

Defendant Eunice Husband entered a conditional plea of guilty to one count of possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute in violation of 21 U.S.C. sec.sec. 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B). The defendant now appeals the district court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence that he claims was obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures. For the reasons stated herein, we reverse and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

I. Facts

On March 12, 1998, the Springfield police received a call from a neighborhood resident who believed that drugs were being sold from a gray four-door vehicle that was regularly parked in a neighborhood driveway between 4:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. The caller stated that the car was occupied by a male and a female who never entered the residence at which the car was parked. In addition, the caller told the police that individuals would occasionally approach the vehicle, speak with the male occupant, and leave shortly thereafter.

The Springfield police responded to this call and began surveillance of the vehicle in question. After a period of time during which the car briefly left and then returned, the officers approached the vehicle to ascertain whether the occupants had permission to park in the driveway. As three officers approached the vehicle, two of the officers recognized the male occupant, the defendant in this case, as someone who had been involved in a prior incident involving a gun. The officers ordered both occupants to show their hands. The defendant refused to comply with the officers' orders. Instead, he lowered his hands to his waist area and then raised his hands back to his mouth. At this point, the officers noticed what appeared to be a large knot on the inside of the defendant's left cheek.

The officers removed the defendant from the vehicle and arrested him. Upon arrival at the Sangamon County Jail, the defendant was placed in an observation cell and was kept under constant surveillance. His hands remained handcuffed behind his back. On both the ride to the jail and during his time in the observation cell, the defendant refused to open his mouth and responded to the officers through clenched teeth.

Because the defendant would not open his mouth, the police began the process of obtaining a search warrant. While awaiting the warrant, the police noticed that the defendant was beginning to twitch and sweat as if experiencing a seizure. The defendant was then transported by ambulance to Saint John's Hospital. An officer accompanied the defendant to ensure that he did not dispose of anything in his mouth. On the way to the hospital, an emergency medical technician administered an I.V. to counteract the effect of any drugs the defendant might have swallowed.1

At approximately 11:00 p.m., an Illinois associate circuit judge issued a warrant to search "[t]he body of Eunice Husband" for "illegal drugs, weapons, or contraband." The issuance of the warrant occurred at about the same time the defendant was received in the emergency room. At the hospital, and before the police knew that a warrant had been issued, the police informed the attending doctor that they were attempting to obtain a warrant to search the defendant's mouth. The defendant was repeatedly asked to open his mouth voluntarily and was later informed

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that a warrant had been issued and that he should open his mouth. In addition, a brief attempt was made to pry open the defendant's mouth with a ceramic spoon. None of these attempts were successful. The doctor finally informed the defendant that a drug would be administered through an I.V. that would enable the police to recover the items in his mouth if he refused to comply with the warrant voluntarily.

The defendant was administered 40 mg. of Amidate through an I.V. at approximately 11:22 p.m. According to the attending doctor, this general anesthetic was administered both for purposes of treating a possible drug overdose and in order to comply with the warrant. Within three minutes of the administration of the drug, the defendant fell unconscious. Three small plastic bags were subsequently recovered from the defendant's mouth. The bags contained a total of 20.3 grams of cocaine base. The defendant awoke at approximately 11:40 p.m. and was returned to the county jail. At approximately 1:00 a.m., the defendant was shown a copy of the search warrant permitting a search of his body.

The defendant was charged in a one-count indictment with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. He filed a motion to suppress the drugs obtained from his mouth, arguing that they were the fruits of an illegal search. In support of this motion, the defendant argued that

(1) the officers lacked justification for a Terry stop; (2) giving a suspect an injection to carry out a search was unlawful; (3) failing to show the defendant the search warrant to give him an opportunity to voluntarily comply was unreasonable; and (4) the search warrant was overbroad in describing the items to be seized.

The magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation rejected all of the defendant's claims. The magistrate judge found sufficient justification for a Terry stop and also rejected the argument that the warrant was overbroad. In regard to the injection and subsequent search, the magistrate judge found that neither the injection nor the failure to show the defendant a copy of the warrant rendered the search unreasonable. The magistrate judge also found that the drugs would have been discovered even absent the allegedly illegal search and that the inevitable discovery doctrine would therefore allow the admission of the evidence.

The defendant renewed his claims as to the illegality of the search before the district court through objections to the magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation. After a de novo review of those claims, the district court adopted the findings of the magistrate judge and denied the motion to suppress. The defendant pled guilty, but reserved his right to appeal the denial of the suppression motion. The defendant now appeals, arguing that the district court erred in refusing to exclude evidence of the drugs seized from his mouth.

II. Analysis

The defendant contends that the district court erred in finding that the police acted reasonably in executing the warrant authorizing a search of the defendant's body. In considering such a challenge, we review the district court's findings of fact for clear error, see United States v. Duguay, 93 F.3d 346, 350 (7th Cir. 1996), and its determination as to the reasonableness of the search de novo, see Ornelas v. United States, 517 U.S. 690, 699 (1996); Duguay, 93 F.3d at 350. "'Because the resolution of a motion to suppress is necessarily fact- specific, we give special deference to the district court that heard the testimony and observed the witnesses at the suppression hearing.'" United States v. Gravens, 129 F.3d 974, 978 (7th Cir. 1997) (quoting United States v. Stribling, 94 F.3d 321, 323 (7th Cir. 1996)).


The Fourth Amendment protects individuals against unreasonable

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searches. See Ohio v. Robinette, 519 U.S. 33, 39 (1996) (stating "that the 'touchstone of the Fourth Amendment is reasonableness'") (quoting Florida v. Jimeno, 500 U.S. 248, 250 (1991)). In determining whether a search that intrudes below the surface of the body is reasonable, courts must weigh a variety of factors to determine whether society's interest in conducting the search outweighs the individual's interests in privacy and security. See Winston v. Lee, 470 U.S. 753, 760 (1985); Kraushaar v. Flanigan, 45 F.3d 1040, 1045 (7th Cir. 1995). "In a given case, the question whether the community's need for evidence outweighs the substantial privacy interests at stake is a delicate one admitting of few categorical answers." Winston, 470 U.S. at 760; see Cooper v. California, 386 U.S. 58, 59 (1967) ("[W]hether a search and seizure is reasonable within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case . . . ."). Only after a careful examination of the facts and circumstances of this case can we determine whether the police acted reasonably in anesthetizing the defendant to facilitate the removal of drugs from his mouth.

In considering the reasonableness of the actions of the Springfield police, we are guided by Supreme Court precedent that, although not answering the question before us, provides a framework for our analysis. Before the guaranties of the Fourth Amendment were held to apply to the States, the Court addressed the proper limits on the police conduct of physically intrusive searches under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In Rochin v. California, 342 U.S. 165 (1952), the Court suppressed evidence obtained when the police broke into a suspect's house and, after witnessing the suspect swallow two capsules, initially attempted to forcibly extract the capsules from his mouth and then had his stomach pumped in order to recover them. In holding that this was conduct that "shock[ed] the conscience" and therefore violated due process guaranties,2 the Court stated that "[i]llegally breaking into the...

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