49 F.3d 227 (6th Cir. 1995), 94-3196, United States v. Dotson

Docket Nº:94-3196.
Citation:49 F.3d 227
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Gerald DOTSON, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:March 14, 1995
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

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49 F.3d 227 (6th Cir. 1995)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Gerald DOTSON, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 94-3196.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

March 14, 1995

        Argued Dec. 1, 1994.

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        Roger S. Bamberger, Asst. U.S. Atty. (argued and briefed), Cleveland, OH, for plaintiff-appellee.

        James R. Willis (argued and briefed), Willis, Blackwell & Rogers, Cleveland, OH, for defendant-appellant.

        Before: LIVELY, JONES and DAUGHTREY, Circuit Judges.

        NATHANIEL R. JONES, Circuit Judge.

        Defendant Gerald Dotson appeals the district court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence. For the reasons stated herein, we AFFIRM the decision of the district court.


        On March 11, 1993, Gerald Dotson and another male visited a car dealership in the Cleveland area. Dotson and his acquaintance test drove, and Dotson decided to purchase, a white 1991 Acura Legend. Dotson made a $5,000 cash deposit on the car and informed the salesperson that he would return later in the day with the rest of the $22,000 purchase price.

        Later that day, Dotson returned with his mother, Daisy Young, and the remaining $17,000, in cash. Dotson told the dealership to put the title in the name of Daisy Young, and it was indicated on a Form 8300, Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or Business, 1 that Daisy Young was the purchaser of the vehicle. Dotson was told that he would have to pick up the title to the car later.

        A few days later, apparently on March 15, 1993, a confidential source informed Special Agent Mark Kahler of the Internal Revenue Service that two individuals had purchased a vehicle at the car dealership for cash and had identified themselves as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Kahler testified that after receiving this information, agents from his office interviewed the sales manager of the dealership and verified that two young black men had made an initial $5,000 cash deposit, that the car was subsequently purchased with an additional $17,000 cash payment, and that the car was to be titled in the name of Daisy Young. The agents ran a check on Daisy Young's tax returns and learned that on her returns she had reported an income of $5,000 or less. Kahler further explained that his office then asked the dealership to contact his office when anyone came to pick up the title. The plan was to try to identify one or both of the men, who had initially visited the dealership to purchase the car, and then further investigate whether the Form 8300 had been completed with false information, namely that Daisy Young was not the actual purchaser of the vehicle.

        On April 1, 1993, Dotson went to the dealership to pick up the title to the car. Dotson testified that when he arrived at the dealership, he was informed that he could not receive the title unless he had identification for Daisy Young. Dotson telephoned his mother and asked her to come down to the dealership. He waited, and she arrived in about half an hour.

        Meanwhile, the dealership contacted Kahler's office, and surveillance was initiated on both Dotson and his mother. Kahler radioed for a Cleveland Police Officer to assist with the surveillance. Detective John Gannon of the Cleveland Police Department responded to the call.

        Gannon ultimately joined the surveillance in the vicinity of Quincy and Unwin Roads, an area which Gannon testified is a high-

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crime area. He testified that while tailing Dotson from this location, he observed Dotson drive through a red light located at 46th and Quincy at around 6:00 p.m. Dotson then parked his car at the curb near 43rd and Quincy. Gannon testified that he pulled behind Dotson's car, for the purpose of identifying Dotson. Gannon walked up to the car and tapped on the driver's side window with his left hand, while holding his badge in his right. Gannon testified that Dotson started to get out of the car, and that he instructed Dotson to remain in the car and he asked for Dotson's identification. Nevertheless, Dotson proceeded to get out of the car, and when Gannon sensed that Dotson was about to run, he put his hand on Dotson's shoulder. At this point, Dotson began to run, and while Gannon attempted to hold Dotson, Kahler, who had by now arrived on the scene, jumped on both Gannon and Dotson. After subduing Dotson, Gannon placed him under arrest, handcuffed, and frisked him. The agents found a digital scale, four bags of cocaine, and a large amount of cash on Dotson. His booking card, introduced at trial, indicates the time of Dotson's arrest as 6:02 p.m.

        Dotson testified that it was after 6:30 p.m. when he drove through the light at 46th and Quincy, and the light was flashing yellow, not red. He testified that he then proceeded down the street, parked the car in front of his house, took the key out of the ignition, and looked up to see a white male talking at his door, but that he could not understand him. He got out of the car, and the man said "let me see your ID" and then grabbed him. Dotson testified that as he started to run, he was tackled from the side and hit the ground. Pinned down by Gannon, he was told he was under arrest. Dotson testified that after he was handcuffed, Gannon showed him his badge. Dotson explained that it was a fear of being robbed that prompted him to flee. Neither Gannon, nor Kahler, nor any other officers on the scene were dressed...

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