920 F.2d 418 (6th Cir. 1990), 90-1445, United States v. Akrawi

Docket Nº:90-1445.
Citation:920 F.2d 418
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Ragheed AKRAWI, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:December 14, 1990
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
 
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920 F.2d 418 (6th Cir. 1990)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Ragheed AKRAWI, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 90-1445.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

December 14, 1990

Argued Nov. 8, 1990.

William J. Richards, Asst. U.S. Atty. (argued), U.S. Dept. of Justice, Detroit Strike Force, Detroit, Mich., for plaintiff-appellee.

James C. Howarth (argued), Detroit, Mich., for defendant-appellant.

Before KRUPANSKY and MILBURN, Circuit Judges, and BROWN, Senior Circuit Judge.

BAILEY BROWN, Senior Circuit Judge.

The defendant, Ragheed Akrawi, entered a conditional guilty plea to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 922(g)(1), after the district judge denied Mr. Akrawi's motion to suppress the handgun that was the subject of the count. Mr. Akrawi specifically claims that a protective sweep search that followed an in-home arrest of another person and revealed the handgun, was improper. Because of the specific circumstances of the agents' protective sweep, we hold that the search was indeed improper. Accordingly, we REVERSE the district court's decision and REMAND for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

I.

On March 1, 1989, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agents together with agents of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) obtained an arrest warrant for Tahrir S. Kalasho. The agents obtained no search warrant, however, for the premises where Mr. Kalasho might be found. Mr. Kalasho was the subject of a joint ATF and DEA investigation regarding his alleged involvement with the importation and distribution of cocaine in the Detroit area. According to the government, the defendant in this matter, Ragheed Akrawi, serves as a lieutenant in the alleged Kalasho cocaine organization. The government claims that the Kalasho organization distributes cocaine, collects funds, pays for

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contract murders and has committed arson and bombings. 1

Agents executed the warrant for Mr. Kalasho's arrest at 6099 Quaker Hill in West Bloomfield, Michigan. Fifteen to eighteen law enforcement officers, including those from the ATF, DEA, Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Michigan State Police, approached 6099 Quaker Hill shortly before noon on March 1, 1989. Mr. Kalasho's mother owned the two story house at the address. The record is ambiguous as to how long the agents observed the house before approaching it. Agents' testimony implies, however, that agents conducted no surveillance except perhaps during the brief moments prior to entering the house.

Agents observed only one car parked in front of the house. The residence had a two car garage, but the agents did not determine whether vehicles were garaged there. Agents did not know who might be in the house other than Mr. Kalasho, his mother, Basima Kalasho, Mr. Akrawi and possibly Mr. Akrawi's girl friend, Ms. Smith.

Eight to ten agents stood at the door, three with their guns drawn, while an agent rang the doorbell. Mr. Kalasho opened...

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