83 F.3d 917 (7th Cir. 1996), 95-3044, United States v. Quinn

Docket Nº:95-3044.
Citation:83 F.3d 917
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Willie E. QUINN, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:May 15, 1996
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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83 F.3d 917 (7th Cir. 1996)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Willie E. QUINN, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 95-3044.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

May 15, 1996

Argued Feb. 16, 1996.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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James M. Warden (argued), Office of U.S. Atty., Indianapolis, IN, for plaintiff-appellee.

Steven J. Riggs (argued), Indiana Federal Community Defenders, Inc., Indianapolis, IN, for defendant-appellant.

Before EASTERBROOK, RIPPLE and EVANS, Circuit Judges.

RIPPLE, Circuit Judge.

Willie Allen Quinn entered a conditional plea of guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(e). Prior to entering the plea, however, Mr. Quinn filed a motion to suppress evidence obtained during an investigatory stop conducted by officers of the Indianapolis Police Department. The district court denied the motion and, having reserved the right to do so, Mr. Quinn appeals the court's ruling on the suppression issue. For the reasons set forth in the following opinion, we affirm the judgment of the district court.



During the morning hours of September 14, 1994, uniformed officers of the Indianapolis Police Department ("IPD") conducted a "street sweep" operation in the area of 16th and Bellefontaine Streets in Indianapolis. 1 At approximately 9:30 a.m., a number of marked IPD vehicles approached the intersection of 16th and Bellefontaine Streets. Several individuals, including a group of three men, were standing on the corner. As the police neared the intersection, IPD Officer Steven King, who was driving one of the marked vehicles, observed a clear plastic baggie being tossed on the sidewalk. Officer King believed the baggie to contain crack cocaine. He could not determine, however, which of the three men had thrown the baggie onto the ground.

The three men split up and began to walk away from the scene. One of the individuals walked southbound from the intersection; the other two men headed in the opposite direction. Officer King exited his vehicle and ordered the southbound individual, later identified as Willie Quinn, to stop. When Mr. Quinn did not comply with his initial request, Officer King repeated the command two or three more times before Mr. Quinn finally halted. The officer observed that Mr. Quinn was carrying a folded brown leather jacket in his arms. According to Officer King, the jacket was "wadded up in [Mr. Quinn's] arms[,] and he carried it almost like a football, close to his body." R.29, Transcript of Suppression Hearing, at 57.

Officer King ordered Mr. Quinn to accompany him back to the police car and to place the leather jacket on the car. As Mr. Quinn complied with these directives and placed the leather jacket on the hood of the police car,

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Officer King heard a "thud" sound. According to Officer King, the "thud" sound caused him to suspect that a heavy object was concealed inside the jacket.

Officer King conducted a pat-down search to insure that Mr. Quinn was unarmed. No weapons or drugs were found on Mr. Quinn's person. The officer then patted the leather jacket and felt a hard object inside. According to Officer King, the object "certainly felt like a gun." R.29, Transcript of Suppression Hearing, at 57. Opening the jacket, he discovered a .22 caliber Remington rifle that had been sawed-off and modified into a handgun. Officer King placed Mr. Quinn under arrest and then returned to the corner to retrieve the baggie of suspected crack cocaine. Later that day, Officer King filed an incident report describing the circumstances of Mr. Quinn's arrest. Relying on this report, IPD Detective Arthur Scott executed an affidavit to justify Mr. Quinn's arrest. Neither document included a reference to the "throwdown" of the baggie.

Mr. Quinn was arraigned in the Superior Court of Marion County on state charges relating to his unlawful possession of the firearm. During the initial arraignment hearing, the state court judge examined the affidavit and concluded that the state lacked probable cause to hold Mr. Quinn. However, the court gave the deputy prosecutor "a seventy-two hour extension to further investigate the case and to determine whether or not there was probable cause." R.32, Defendant's Motion to Reconsider, Ex.A, at 2-3. When Mr. Quinn returned to court on September 20, 1994, the deputy prosecutor informed the court that her office had failed to prepare an amended affidavit. The court then dismissed the case for lack of probable cause.

Before Mr. Quinn was released from custody, however, the county prosecutor's office filed a supplemental affidavit from Officer King. The supplemental affidavit describes how Officer King had "observed a baggie of suspected crack cocaine being tossed on the sidewalk" prior to his encounter with Mr. Quinn. R.29, Transcript of Suppression Hearing, Def.Ex.2, at 1. Upon receiving this supplemental affidavit, the state court reinitiated proceedings against Mr. Quinn.

The state charges were dismissed when Mr. Quinn was indicted by a federal grand jury. Count I of the indictment charged Mr. Quinn with being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(e). Count II...

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