388 F.3d 1356 (10th Cir. 2004), 03-2311, United States v. Maddox

Docket Nº:03-2311.
Citation:388 F.3d 1356
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Brian MADDOX, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:November 15, 2004
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

Page 1356

388 F.3d 1356 (10th Cir. 2004)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Brian MADDOX, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 03-2311.

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

November 15, 2004

Page 1357

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1358

        Alonzo J. Padilla, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Albuquerque, NM, appearing for Appellant.

        Norman Cairns, Assistant United States Attorney (David C. Iglesias, United States Attorney, with him on the brief), Office of the United States Attorney, Albuquerque, NM, appearing for Appellee.

        Before TACHA, Chief Circuit Judge, HOLLOWAY and LUCERO, Circuit Judges.

        TACHA, Chief Circuit Judge.

        Defendant-Appellant Brian Maddox pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. A sheriff's deputy initially detained Mr. Maddox as an adjunct to a lawful in-house arrest of a third party. At the conclusion of this half-hour detention, a deputy asked Mr. Maddox if he was armed. When Mr. Maddox replied that he was, the deputy seized a gun and narcotics. On appeal, Mr. Maddox challenges the District Court's denial of his motion to suppress this evidence and his sentencing enhancement. We take jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and 18 U.S.C. § 3742(a) (2) and AFFIRM.


        On July 12, 2002, two federal marshals and a local deputy sheriff, Anthony Medrano,

Page 1359

served an arrest warrant on Rachel Page, a fugitive wanted for narcotics trafficking. Ms. Page was staying in the mobile home of Richard "Pops" Buhrle in the sparsely populated westside of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mr. Buhrle's residence is located in a high crime area and known by local law enforcement officers to be a dangerous place. Because a previous homicide investigation had taken Deputy Medrano to Mr. Buhrle's residence, he personally knew of the dangerousness of the residence prior to Ms. Page's arrest. He also knew that the residence had been the location of numerous violent crimes and that several narcotics traffickers and violent fugitives had been arrested there.

        Deputy Medrano and the federal marshals drove an unmarked car down the long driveway to the dimly-lit Buhrle residence at dusk (approximately 8:45 p.m.). As Deputy Medrano and the marshals pulled up, they saw Mr. Buhrle's adult son, Richard Buhrle, Jr., standing in the driveway. 1 The officers asked if Ms. Page was in the residence, and Mr. Buhrle, Jr. said that she was. Deputy Medrano, based upon his knowledge that Mr. Buhrle, Jr. was a homicide suspect with a violent history, asked him to sit down in the carport area near the mobile home. At this point, a car pulled up the driveway. The driver exited and approached Deputy MedraNo. Deputy Medrano asked this person to remain seated in the carport as well.

        The federal marshals then went into the home to serve the warrant; they remained inside for approximately fifteen minutes. While the marshals were inside, Deputy Medrano stayed outside to prevent others from entering the residence and to ensure that the persons in the carport did not interfere with the arrest.

        While the federal marshals were still inside, a pick-up truck carrying three people, including Mr. Maddox, pulled into the driveway. As the truck approached, Deputy Medrano saw Mr. Maddox reach under the seat. Deputy Medrano could not tell whether Mr. Maddox had put something under the seat or was retrieving something from there, and thus interpreted the action as "an unknown threat." Deputy Medrano informed the three new arrivals that there were marshals making an arrest inside and asked them to stay in the carport area.

        Deputy Medrano now had five people under surveillance--three unknown individuals, one person he knew to be violent, and Mr. Maddox, who had begun to act erratically; he ignored Deputy Medrano's instructions and paced in circles farther and farther away from the carport, and at one point he urinated in the carport. Nevertheless, Deputy Medrano did not handcuff anyone nor did he unholster his sidearm. Rather, he asked these people to remain seated in the carport for the remainder of Ms. Page's arrest.

        A few minutes later, another vehicle, carrying only a driver, arrived at the residence. Deputy Medrano asked this person to sit in the carport. When two more people arrived, Deputy Medrano directed them to the carport as well--bringing the total number of people detained to eight. During this time, one person threw an item--later found to be drug paraphernalia--underneath one of the vehicles in the driveway. At this point, feeling outnumbered by the group, concerned about his and the marshals' safety, knowing the violent history associated with this residence, and considering Mr. Maddox's threatening behavior, Deputy Medrano called for backup.

Page 1360

        While Deputy Medrano was waiting for backup, the marshals exited the residence with Ms. Page. Ms. Page, however, could not be taken immediately from the premises. Local protocol requires having a female officer pat down a female suspect during her arrest, and a marked car must be used to take the suspect away. Because Deputy Medrano and the federal marshals were all male and had arrived in an unmarked car, Ms. Page's arrest could not be concluded until a female officer arrived in a marked car.

        Prior to the arrival of the female officer, additional deputies arrived in response to Deputy Medrano's call for backup. Deputy Medrano instructed the arriving officers to pat down the persons in the carport for weapons. Deputy Medrano informed one of the officers, Deputy McCoy, that Mr. Maddox had been acting suspiciously and instructed him to separate Mr. Maddox from the group. Deputy Medrano testified that he requested the separation of Mr. Maddox from the group because, at that time, he considered him a critical and deadly threat.

        After moving him away from the group, Deputy McCoy asked Mr. Maddox for identification. Mr. Maddox supplied his name but stated that he had recently lost his driver's license. Deputy McCoy then asked Mr. Maddox if he had any weapons or drugs. Mr. Maddox replied that he was carrying a concealed gun. Deputy McCoy, after handcuffing and disarming Mr. Maddox, asked him if he had drugs. Mr. Maddox responded that he had methamphetamine and a scale. Deputy McCoy took possession of these items and arrested Mr. Maddox. The entire encounter, from the arrival of Deputy Medrano and the federal marshals to Mr. Maddox's arrest, took approximately a half hour. This encounter occurred entirely within the period when Deputy Medrano was waiting for a female officer to arrive and conclude Ms. Page's arrest.

        The Government brought three counts against Mr. Maddox: (1) felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g) (1) and 924(a); (2) possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a) (1) and 841(b) (1) (C); and (3) carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C.§ 924(c). Arguing that the deputies ran afoul of the Fourth Amendment to the Federal Constitution by detaining and questioning him, Mr. Maddox moved to suppress the gun and methamphetamine as evidence. After considering the totality of the circumstances, the District Court denied the motion.

        As a result, in exchange for the Government's agreement to drop the second and third counts, Mr. Maddox entered into a conditional plea agreement, reserving the right to appeal the motion to suppress and any sentencing errors. At sentencing, the District Court enhanced Mr. Maddox's sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 924(e) and U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 4B1.4 (2002) ("U.S.S.G."), to account for his previous escape from prison. Mr. Maddox filed a timely motion of appeal that challenges both the motion to suppress ruling and the sentencing enhancement.


        The District Court found that Mr. Maddox was seized for Fourth Amendment purposes when Deputy Medrano instructed

Page 1361

that he remain in the carport. 2 Nevertheless, it held that given the totality of the circumstances this seizure was reasonable at its inception and that Mr. Maddox voluntarily answered Deputy McCoy's inquiries concerning weapons and narcotics. On appeal, Mr. Maddox argues that the initial seizure was constitutionally unreasonable and that he did not voluntarily inform Deputy McCoy that he possessed a gun and narcotics.

        A. Standard of Review

         When reviewing a district court's ruling on a suppression motion, "we accept the district court's factual findings absent clear error and review de novo the district court's determination of reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment." United States v. Olguin-Rivera, 168 F.3d 1203, 1204 (10th Cir. 1999).

        B. Reasonableness of the Detention

         Mr. Maddox first argues that Deputy Medrano unreasonably detained him in the carport area. "[T]he Fourth Amendment's protection against 'unreasonable ... seizures' includes seizure of the person." California v. Hodari D., 499 U.S. 621, 624, 111 S.Ct. 1547, 113 L.Ed.2d 690 (1991) (citation omitted). Any evidence obtained as a result of an illegal seizure is subject to the exclusionary rule. Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383, 398, 34 S.Ct. 341, 58 L.Ed. 652 (1914) (establishing the exclusionary rule). Mr. Maddox invokes this rule.

        The Fourth Amendment does not prohibit all searches and seizures; rather, only unreasonable searches and seizures are prohibited. See U.S. Const. amend. IV ("The right of the people to be secure in their persons ... against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated ..."). Prior to Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d...

To continue reading