United States v. Grice, 071910 FED5, 09-30231

Docket Nº:09-30231
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM:
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee v. HUGH SEBRON GRICE, Defendant-Appellant
Judge Panel:Before GARZA, CLEMENT, and OWEN, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:July 19, 2010
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit



HUGH SEBRON GRICE, Defendant-Appellant

No. 09-30231

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

July 19, 2010

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana USDC No. 2:07-CR-20069-1

Before GARZA, CLEMENT, and OWEN, Circuit Judges.


Hugh Sebron Grice pleaded guilty to possession of firearms during and in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes. See 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A), (B)(ii), and (D)(2). As part of the plea agreement, Grice reserved his right to appeal the district court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence seized during a warrantless search of his home, a cabin. Grice challenges officers' initial, brief entry into his cabin after they executed his arrest warrant and the warrantless, consensual search of his cabin approximately 12 hours later.

The district court found that the officers' initial entry into the cabin was a lawful protective sweep incident to Grice's arrest. See Maryland v. Buie, 494 U.S. 325, 331 (1990). Grice was inside the cabin when officers arrived, and the officers had to pull him outside to effectuate the arrest. Paula Grice, his wife, was visible from the doorway. The situation presented the circumstances necessary to justify a protective sweep. See id. at 334; United States v. Virgil, 444 F.3d 447, 451 (5th Cir. 2006). The officers' completion of the arrest after Grice was pulled outside the cabin instead of while he was inside did not render the protective sweep unlawful. See United States v. Watson, 273 F.3d 599, 603 (5th Cir. 2001). Regarding the amount of time the officers took to complete the protective sweep, the district court found the officers' testimony more credible than Grice's. Viewed in the light most favorable to the Government, none of the district court's factual findings were clearly erroneous. See United States v. Jackson, 596 F.3d 236, 239-40 (5th Cir. 2010). The protective sweep rationale is supported by the record. See, e.g., United States v. Ibarra-Sanchez, 199 F.3d 753, 758 (5th Cir. 1999). Accordingly, this court need not determine whether an alternative exception to the warrant requirement was applicable. See Jackson, 596 F.3d at 240; Virgil, 444 F.3d at 451 n.4.

Grice challenges the district court's finding that his consent to the search was voluntary. Since the protective sweep was lawful, there is no...

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