496 F.3d 215 (2nd Cir. 2007), 06-4265, United States v. Baldwin

Docket Nº:06-4265-cr.
Citation:496 F.3d 215
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Jerome K. BALDWIN, also known as Jerome Baldwin, also known as Brucey B, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:July 23, 2007
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
 
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496 F.3d 215 (2nd Cir. 2007)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,

v.

Jerome K. BALDWIN, also known as Jerome Baldwin, also known as Brucey B, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 06-4265-cr.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

July 23, 2007

Argued: June 11, 2007

Appeal from a judgment of conviction entered in the District Court for the District of Connecticut (Dorsey, J.).

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Deirdre A. Murray, Assistant Federal Public Defender (Paul F. Thomas, on the brief), for Thomas G. Dennis, Federal Public Defender, New Haven, CT, for Defendant-Appellant. [*]

Eric J. Glover, Assistant United States Attorney (William J. Nardini, on the brief), for Kevin J. O'Connor, United States Attorney, District of Connecticut, for Appellee.

Before: JACOBS, Chief Judge, WESLEY and GIBSON, [**]Circuit Judges.

DENNIS JACOBS, Chief Judge:

When a driver heeds a police order to stop only to drive away as the police approach, has the driver been seized within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment? We hold that a seizure requires submission to police authority, and conclude that the driver's initial fleeting stop does not amount to such submission. We therefore affirm the denial of the driver's motion to suppress evidence found on his person and in his car, and affirm the conviction entered in the District Court for the District of Connecticut (Dorsey, J.).

I

On the afternoon of September 4, 2005, an anonymous caller told the New Haven police that two black men, one wearing a white t-shirt, were carrying firearms. The caller reported that they were standing next to a grey or silver Chevrolet Impala with Virginia license plates, parked on Downing Street, near an intersection with Bailey Street. The location is adjacent to the Quinnipiac Terrace housing complex, which has been plagued by the sale of guns and illicit drugs. According to the tipster, the men had "big guns, real real big guns, serious."

Police officers Plowman and Donnelly found no one at the reported location; but as they drove along Downing Street, they saw a grey car oncoming which had no front license plate. As it approached, the officers observed that the driver was a

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black man (later identified as Jerome Baldwin) wearing a black t-shirt, but could not see any passengers. As the car passed, the officers identified it as a silver 2001 Chevrolet Impala bearing a Virginia license plate on the rear; they turned on their overhead lights and siren and pursued.

The Impala stopped after turning left onto Bailey Street and the marked patrol car pulled up behind it. As Plowman and Donnelly approached the Impala on foot, the driver (Baldwin) leaned out the window and peered back at them. Plowman instructed Baldwin to show his hands, but he simply stared back and refused to comply. The officers twice repeated the order and, with Baldwin still non-compliant, drew their weapons. As Donnelly approached the Impala's passenger side to determine whether any one else was inside, the car sped off.

In the chase that ensued, Baldwin broke an untold number of traffic laws and narrowly averted multiple serious accidents. As Baldwin attempted to negotiate a right turn at the bottom of an exit ramp, his car jumped the curb and slammed into an embankment. At that point, a black man wearing a white t-shirt opened the passenger door and fled on foot; he was never apprehended. Baldwin ran back onto the highway and jumped off an overpass, but was eventually stopped by other officers who had joined the pursuit. Baldwin was handcuffed and taken via patrol car to Plowman and Donnelly, who identified him as the driver of the Impala.

A search of Baldwin's person incident to his arrest yielded a black mask, a wallet containing a Virginia driver's license in his name, and a note which read, "Hi-Point Mansfield-Ohio, Model C, 9MM, 9MM Ammunition too." One of the arresting officers recognized Baldwin as a member of the Island Brothers gang, known to infest Quinnipiac Terrace.

A large machine pistol (later determined to have a round in the chamber) was lying on the front passenger floor of the Impala. A search of the car's interior yielded ammunition and a speed loader for the pistol; a Savage 20 gauge pump-action shotgun; and a Hi-point 9MM semiautomatic handgun matching the description in the note found in Baldwin's wallet. The search also yielded drug paraphernalia: small plastic bags of crack cocaine, a balance scale, a digital scale, and a cutting agent. The...

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