593 F.3d 596 (7th Cir. 2010), 08-2895, United States v. Huddleston

Docket Nº:08-2895.
Citation:593 F.3d 596
Opinion Judge:DOW, District Judge.
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Timothy HUDDLESTON, Defendant-Appellant.
Attorney:Joseph H. Hartzler, Attorney (argued), Office of the United States Attorney, Springfield, IL, for Plaintiff-Appellee. Vilija Bilaisis, Attorney (argued), Sniegowski & Bilaisis, PLC, Ludington, MI, for Defendant-Appellant.
Judge Panel:Before KANNE and EVANS, Circuit Judges, and DOW, District Judge.
Case Date:January 27, 2010
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
 
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Page 596

593 F.3d 596 (7th Cir. 2010)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Timothy HUDDLESTON, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 08-2895.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

January 27, 2010

Argued May 4, 2009.

Page 597

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 598

Joseph H. Hartzler, Attorney (argued), Office of the United States Attorney, Springfield, IL, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Vilija Bilaisis, Attorney (argued), Sniegowski & Bilaisis, PLC, Ludington, MI, for Defendant-Appellant.

Before KANNE and EVANS, Circuit Judges, and DOW, District Judge. [*]

DOW, District Judge.

Timothy Huddleston was charged in a three-count superseding indictment with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B); possession of a firearm having previously been convicted of a felony offense, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1); and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). A jury found Huddleston guilty of all three charges. Prior to Huddleston's trial, the district court denied his motion to suppress evidence seized from him without a search warrant at the time of his arrest.

Page 599

Huddleston now appeals the district court's decision to allow the Government to introduce evidence seized from him. In addition, Huddleston contends that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction on both the intent to distribute charge and the possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime charge. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the district court.

I. Background

In December 2006, Huddleston was living with his girlfriend, Tarana White, at 1850 South Wirt Street. Tarana White rented the Wirt Street house from her parents, Walter and Dorothy White. On December 30, 2006, Dorothy White called police and reported that a man-Huddleston-was in the Wirt Street house with a gun. The responding officers arrived and stopped a few houses away, where they spoke with Dorothy White. Mrs. White told the officers that she owned the house, which she rented to her daughter, and that Huddleston did not have permission to be there. In addition, Mrs. White informed the officers that Huddleston had threatened her daughter's life earlier that evening. Mrs. White told the officers that she had found Huddleston asleep on the couch in the house holding what appeared to be a gun, and that, as far as she knew, he was still asleep. One of the responding officers testified that he knew that Huddleston had a " violent felony past" that included charges of aggravated discharge of a weapon.

Without obtaining a search warrant, the officers opened the door to the Wirt Street house and announced their presence. They observed Huddleston asleep on the couch; he did not respond. The officers then entered the house, confirmed that Huddleston had a gun in his hand, and disarmed and arrested him. The gun was a loaded .44-caliber revolver. While searching Huddleston incident to the arrest, the officers found what appeared to be crack cocaine in Huddleston's pockets. The officers removed a larger bag of the substance from Huddleston's front pants pocket and a smaller bag from his jacket pocket. Forensic analysis later confirmed that the larger bag contained 5.2 grams of cocaine base (crack), and the smaller bag contained .4 grams of cocaine base.

Huddleston was charged with (1) possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute; (2) possession of a firearm having previously been convicted of a felony offense; and (3) possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. After an evidentiary hearing, the Magistrate Judge prepared a lengthy report and recommendation in which he recommended that Huddleston's motion to quash his arrest and suppress evidence be denied under both the apparent authority consent and exigent circumstances exceptions to the warrant requirement. The District Court overruled Huddleston's objections and adopted the Magistrate Judge's report and recommendation, finding that the warrantless entry was justified by the existence of exigent circumstances. Following a...

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