406 F.3d 207 (3rd Cir. 2005), 04-2244, United States v. Lockett

Docket Nº:04-2244.
Citation:406 F.3d 207
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America v. Rogers LOCKETT, III a/k/a Manny Strong Rogers Lockett, Appellant
Case Date:May 05, 2005
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
 
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Page 207

406 F.3d 207 (3rd Cir. 2005)

UNITED STATES of America

v.

Rogers LOCKETT, III a/k/a Manny Strong

Rogers Lockett, Appellant

No. 04-2244.

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

May 5, 2005

Argued March 9, 2005.

Page 208

Robert Epstein, Esq. (Argued), Defender Association of Philadelphia, Federal Court Division, Philadelphia, PA, Counsel for Appellant.

Thomas R. Perricone, Esq. (Argued), Office of the United States Attorney, Philadelphia, PA, Counsel for Appellee.

Page 209

Before: NYGAARD, McKEE, and RENDELL, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

NYGAARD, Circuit Judge.

Rogers Lockett argues that the District Court erred by denying his motion to suppress because the police exceeded the scope of his consent to search his suitcase and unlawfully seized him, rendering the search of his backpack involuntary. Additionally, he submits that he is no longer bound by the dictates of his plea agreement as a result of the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. ----, 125 S.Ct. 738, 160 L.Ed.2d 621 (2005). We will affirm.

I.

Lockett was sitting on a bench in the Amtrak 30th Street Train Station in Philadelphia. After watching Lockett for approximately fifteen minutes, Special Agent Carl Giardinelli 1 and Corporal William Burdette 2 approached him. Burdette showed Lockett his badge, identified himself, and asked if Lockett would answer a few questions. After Lockett answered "yes," Burdette sat down on the bench approximately two feet to Lockett's right and Giardinelli remained standing a few feet to the right of Burdette. Burdette asked Lockett some questions about his travel and Lockett explained that he was from Philadelphia but was traveling to Boston, where he attends Newbury College. Burdette examined Lockett's identification and train ticket and then returned them to Lockett.

Burdette explained to Lockett that he and Agent Giardinelli were looking for contraband including narcotics, large sums of money, guns, and other weapons. He asked Lockett if he had any of these items in his possession; Lockett said that he did not. Then Burdette asked Lockett if the rolling suitcase on the seat next to Lockett belonged to him and Lockett admitted that it did. Burdette asked if he could look in the suitcase and Lockett said "yes." Lockett then placed the suitcase on the floor and started to open it, at which point Burdette said, "that's okay, I can get that." Lockett responded, "no, I'll get it," but Burdette repeated, "no, that's okay, I can get it." Burdette then opened the bag.

After opening the suitcase, Giardinelli and Burdette saw three large plastic bags that contained numerous small clear plastic bags, which the Officers recognized as the type of bags commonly used to package illegal drugs. On one of the larger bags was a picture of a marijuana leaf. Burdette pushed the rolling suitcase over to Giardinelli, who continued searching through it.

While Giardinelli was searching the suitcase, Burdette asked Lockett if the other bag, a backpack, belonged to him and Lockett said "yes." Burdette asked if he could look in the backpack and Lockett said "yes" and handed the backpack to Burdette.

As Giardinelli was searching the rolling suitcase, his finger hit a metal object and he realized it was a gun. 3 He yelled "gun" in a loud voice so as to get the attention of Burdette and the other law enforcement officers in the vicinity. Burdette and Officer

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Sean Martin, an Amtrak police officer, handcuffed Lockett and walked him from the public area of the train station to the Amtrak police station, which was a short distance away within the same building. Lockett was handcuffed to a bench in the Amtrak police station while Burdette physically searched through the bags with Giardinelli observing nearby. 4 After the search, Officer James Corbett, a member of the Philadelphia Police Department, read Lockett his Miranda rights and then asked him who owned the guns. Lockett answered, "the guns are mine." Corbett then asked Lockett from whom he obtained the firearms, at which point Lockett said that he wanted to talk to a lawyer. At this point all questioning of Lockett stopped.

II.

Lockett was charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, possession of firearms in connection with a drug trafficking offense, and possession of firearms with obliterated serial numbers. Lockett filed a motion to suppress the physical evidence and the statements he made to the law enforcement officers. After a hearing, the District Court denied the Motion, with the following detailed findings of fact and conclusions of law: (1) the encounter between Burdette, Giardinelli, and Lockett was not coercive and did not constitute a stop or seizure under the Fourth Amendment; (2) a reasonable person in Lockett's position would have felt free to refuse to talk to Giardinelli and Burdette; (3) Lockett voluntarily gave his consent to search his rolling suitcase and backpack; (4) Lockett never revoked his consent to the searches of his rolling suitcase and backpack; (5) Lockett was not in custody until his arrest after Giardinelli discovered the gun in his rolling suitcase; and (6) Lockett voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently waived his Miranda rights prior to saying "the guns are mine."

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