407 F.3d 193 (3rd Cir. 2005), 03-2654, United States v. Agnew

Docket Nº:03-2654.
Citation:407 F.3d 193
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America v. Aaron AGNEW, Appellant
Case Date:May 11, 2005
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
 
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Page 193

407 F.3d 193 (3rd Cir. 2005)

UNITED STATES of America

v.

Aaron AGNEW, Appellant

No. 03-2654.

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

May 11, 2005

Argued May 27, 2004 and On Remand from the United States Supreme Court.

By Order of Feb. 22, 2005.

Page 194

Lori J. Ulrich [Argued], James v. Wade, Daniel I. Siegel, Office of the Federal Public Defender, Harrisburg, PA, Counsel for Appellant.

James T. Clancy, Theodore B. Smith, III [Argued], Thomas A. Marino, Office of the United States Attorney, Harrisburg, PA, Counsel for Appellee.

Before: RENDELL and COWEN, Circuit Judges, and SCHWARZER, [*] District Judge.

OPINION

SCHWARZER, Senior District Judge.

Aaron Agnew appeals his conviction for distributing crack cocaine and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He contends that the District Court erred in denying his motion to suppress physical evidence, and in preventing him from impeaching a witness with evidence of a sixteen-year-old forgery conviction. The District Court had jurisdiction pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3231 and we exercise jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291. We will affirm the conviction.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Agnew was charged in an indictment with distribution of crack cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), possession of a firearm by a felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2), and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C.§ 924(c)(1)(A).

Before trial, Agnew moved to suppress the fruits of the search in connection with his arrest. At the suppression hearing, Dauphin County Sheriff's Deputy Gary Duncan testified that he was assigned to the Fugitive Task Force charged with "the service of all violent felony warrants, drug warrants and any other cases referred to [it] from Dauphin County or the surrounding communities." Agnew's case was referred to Duncan's unit because Agnew had twice previously evaded capture by jumping from a second story window and by holding onto the roof rack of a passing car for a block and a half. Duncan had learned from an informant that Agnew "was at the residence [at 2740 Ludwig

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Street] and that he was to be in possession of a firearm, a revolver, ... and that he was also to be in possession of some narcotics." Duncan checked with the Drug Task Force and learned that it had no investigations pending against Agnew.

Duncan and a group of other officers went to 2740 Ludwig Street. He and six other officers approached the front of the residence, and four or five officers were posted around the perimeter and at the rear of the residence. Some of the officers wore "raid gear," including bulletproof vests, and carried ballistics shields. Duncan testified that when the officers knocked on the front door of the residence and announced, "Police, open the door," he saw Agnew pull aside a curtain in a window of the home. He then heard "what sounded like scuffling inside, running around." Duncan testified that he "felt that due to the knowledge that [Agnew] had a handgun that we were compromised and we decided to take the door." The officers then entered the residence and apprehended Agnew as he ran up a flight of stairs. Once inside, officers noticed in plain view a clear plastic bag containing cocaine. They thereafter obtained a search warrant and found a .22 caliber revolver and fifteen grams of cocaine in the home.

The District Court denied Agnew's suppression motion. It found that the officers acted pursuant to an arrest warrant, and held that exigent circumstances justified the entry into the home.

The day before trial, the government made a...

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