United States v. Holland, 060613 FED4, 12-4382

Docket Nº:12-4382
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM:
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. DESHAWN X. HOLLAND, Defendant-Appellant.
Attorney:Charles D. Lewis, Richmond, Virginia, for Appellant. Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney, Michael A. Jagels, Special Assistant United States Attorney, Richmond, Virginia, for Appellee.
Judge Panel:Before WILKINSON and AGEE, Circuit Judges, and HAMILTON, Senior Circuit Judge.
Case Date:June 06, 2013
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
 
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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee,

v.

DESHAWN X. HOLLAND, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 12-4382

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

June 6, 2013

UNPUBLISHED

Submitted: May 31, 2013

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Richmond. John A. Gibney, Jr., District Judge. (3:11-cr-00208-JAG-1)

Charles D. Lewis, Richmond, Virginia, for Appellant.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney, Michael A. Jagels, Special Assistant United States Attorney, Richmond, Virginia, for Appellee.

Before WILKINSON and AGEE, Circuit Judges, and HAMILTON, Senior Circuit Judge.

Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion.

Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.

PER CURIAM:

Deshawn X. Holland appeals his convictions following his guilty plea to possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (2006), and to possession of a firearm by a felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (2006), and his convictions following a bench trial of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 (2006), and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1) (2006). On appeal, Holland argues that the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence found subsequent to an allegedly illegal seizure. Finding no error, we affirm.

Holland did not appear to be engaged in illegal activity when Detective Bridges and Officer Custer of the Richmond City Police Department observed him walking on the sidewalk of North 26th Street. The officers began following Holland, known to them as a felon, on foot and asked him questions. Holland did not respond and continued to walk away from the officers into an alley and eventually into the backyard of 908 North 27th Street. Officer Custer followed Holland into the backyard, and Detective Bridges remained in the alley. Holland began walking to the front yard, towards North 27th Street, but returned to the backyard upon seeing two other police officers pull their vehicle to the side on North 27th Street and one of those officers walk into the backyard of 908 North 27th Street.

Holland next jumped a fence out of the backyard of 908 North 27th Street and fell to the ground. As Holland pushed himself off of the ground, Officer Custer observed in Holland's jacket a heavy object, which he believed to be a firearm based on his training and experience. Officer Custer yelled out "he has got it, " and Holland began running. Holland initially ran toward Detective Bridges in the alley, Bridges yelled "Mr. Holland" or "don't, " and Holland began running in the other direction. Detective Bridges chased Holland and saw him drop a firearm. Detective Bridges ultimately apprehended Holland, and the officers retrieved the firearm and found approximately eight grams of cocaine base and $188 in cash on Holland.

The district court denied Holland's motion to suppress, explaining that, while there were multiple officers around Holland when he was in the backyard of 908 North 27th Street, none of the officers told Holland that he had to stop or that he was under arrest. The district court concluded that Holland was not seized until he was apprehended by Detective Bridges, which occurred after Holland dropped the firearm. Following the denial of his motion to suppress, Holland pled guilty to, and was convicted of, the drug and firearms offenses charged in the indictment.

On appeal, Holland argues that, when the officers followed him into the backyard of 908 North 27th Street while continually asking him questions and positioning themselves around him to prevent his escape, a reasonable person would not have felt free to leave and that he was unlawfully seized in the backyard. When considering the denial of a motion to suppress, we review the district court's legal determinations de novo and its factual determinations for clear error. United States v. Black, 707 F.3d 531, 537 (4th Cir. 2013). "[B]ecause the district court denied [the defendant's] motion to suppress,...

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