U.S. v. Moore, No. 86-5620

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore WIDENER and WILKINSON, Circuit Judges, and HAYNSWORTH; WILKINSON
Citation817 F.2d 1105
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Norman Delano MOORE, Defendant-Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 86-5620
Decision Date05 May 1987

Page 1105

817 F.2d 1105
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Norman Delano MOORE, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 86-5620.
United States Court of Appeals,
Fourth Circuit.
Argued Jan. 9, 1987.
Decided May 5, 1987.

Page 1106

John Frank Hardaway, Columbia, S.C., on brief, for defendant-appellant.

John Robert Haley, Asst. U.S. Atty., Charleston, S.C., (Vinton D. Lide, U.S. Atty., Columbia, S.C., on brief), for plaintiff-appellee.

Before WIDENER and WILKINSON, Circuit Judges, and HAYNSWORTH, Senior Circuit Judge.

WILKINSON, Circuit Judge:

We address here the validity of a frisk by a policeman who arrived at the scene of a crime in response to a burglar alarm and hence without a description of the perpetrator. The pat-down revealed a weapon, and defendant Norman Delano Moore was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The district court denied his motion to suppress the weapon. Appellant then entered a conditional guilty plea, reserving his right to appeal under Fed.R.Crim.P. 11(a)(2), and received a two year sentence. He now appeals the district court's denial of his motion to suppress. We affirm.

I.

The Baptist Education Center stands at the corner of Rutledge and Bogart Streets in Charleston, South Carolina. On March 31, 1984, at 11:43 p.m., the Charleston police dispatcher announced that the "silent" burglar alarm at the Baptist Center had sounded at the police station. Officer Christopher Smith was patrolling in his squad car about four blocks north of the Center when he heard the dispatcher's call. He responded immediately. Approaching the Center two or three minutes later, Officer Smith saw appellant Moore walking south, about 30 to 40 yards from the Center's Rutledge Street entrance. The area was otherwise deserted.

Smith drove behind appellant so he could see him in the squad car's headlights. He stepped out of his car and told appellant to stop and turn around. He informed Moore that he was responding to the Center's burglar alarm and that he intended to pat him down "for his safety as well as mine." After patting Moore around his waist and pants pockets, Smith felt a hard object that he thought was a handgun. He retrieved the gun from appellant's pocket and arrested him.

Appellant was charged with illegal possession of a handgun under 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1202(a)(1). He moved to suppress the handgun, arguing that Smith's conduct violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The district court denied the motion, and Moore took this appeal.

II.

This case presents a common situation in law enforcement. It involves a lone police officer who, minutes after responding to a dispatcher's call, encounters a suspect on a dark street. In this case, we think Officer Smith acted reasonably when he stopped and frisked appellant.

The Supreme Court, in Adams v. Williams, 407 U.S. 143, 145, 92 S.Ct. 1921, 1923, 32 L.Ed.2d 612 (1972), stated that "the Fourth Amendment does not require a policeman who lacks the precise level of information necessary for probable cause to arrest to simply shrug his shoulders and allow a crime to occur or a criminal to escape." According to the Court, "it may be the essence of good police work" to maintain the status quo with a brief stop that allows the police officer to investigate further the possibility of criminal involvement.

Page 1107

Id. A brief investigative stop is permissible whenever the police officer has a reasonable suspicion grounded in specific and articulable facts that the person he stopped has been or is about to be involved in a crime. United States v. Hensley, 469 U.S. 221, 105 S.Ct. 675, 680, 83 L.Ed.2d 604 (1985); Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 21, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 1880, 20 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968).

Appellant asserts that he did nothing suspicious to warrant the stop and that he looked and acted as though he were a resident of the...

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131 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Johnson, No. 16-15690
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • April 16, 2019
    ...of the alleged crime. See United States v. Griffin , 696 F.3d 1354, 1359–60 (11th Cir. 2012) ; see, e.g. , United States v. Moore , 817 F.2d 1105, 1108 (4th Cir. 1987) ("The hour was late, the street was dark, the officer was alone, and the suspected crime was a burglary, a felony that ofte......
  • U.S. v. Whitehead, Nos. 87-5093
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • July 18, 1988
    ...suspicion. While I agree that each individual factor need not directly point to a criminal activity, see United States v. Moore, 817 F.2d 1105, 1107 (4th Cir.1987), even when the factors in the instant case are considered together, on the totality of the circumstances, they are not enough t......
  • U.S. v. Day, No. 08-5231.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • January 8, 2010
    ...totality of the circumstances. Ultimately, the circumstances here comprise a Terry stop-and-frisk and not Miranda custody. U.S. v. Moore, 817 F.2d 1105, 1108 (4th Cir. 1987) (collecting cases and concluding that drawing weapons, handcuffing a suspect, placing a suspect in a patrol car for q......
  • State v. Choat, No. 17539
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • November 18, 1987
    ...in specific and articulable facts that the person he stopped has been or is about to be involved in a crime. United States v. Moore, 817 F.2d 1105, 1107 (4th Cir.1987); United States v. Hensley, 469 U.S. 221, 227, 105 S.Ct. 675, 680, 83 L.Ed.2d 604, 611 (1985); Terry v. Ohio, supra. See als......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
131 cases
  • U.S. v. Johnson, No. 16-15690
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • April 16, 2019
    ...of the alleged crime. See United States v. Griffin , 696 F.3d 1354, 1359–60 (11th Cir. 2012) ; see, e.g. , United States v. Moore , 817 F.2d 1105, 1108 (4th Cir. 1987) ("The hour was late, the street was dark, the officer was alone, and the suspected crime was a burglary, a felony that ofte......
  • U.S. v. Whitehead, Nos. 87-5093
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • July 18, 1988
    ...suspicion. While I agree that each individual factor need not directly point to a criminal activity, see United States v. Moore, 817 F.2d 1105, 1107 (4th Cir.1987), even when the factors in the instant case are considered together, on the totality of the circumstances, they are not enough t......
  • U.S. v. Day, No. 08-5231.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • January 8, 2010
    ...totality of the circumstances. Ultimately, the circumstances here comprise a Terry stop-and-frisk and not Miranda custody. U.S. v. Moore, 817 F.2d 1105, 1108 (4th Cir. 1987) (collecting cases and concluding that drawing weapons, handcuffing a suspect, placing a suspect in a patrol car for q......
  • State v. Choat, No. 17539
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • November 18, 1987
    ...in specific and articulable facts that the person he stopped has been or is about to be involved in a crime. United States v. Moore, 817 F.2d 1105, 1107 (4th Cir.1987); United States v. Hensley, 469 U.S. 221, 227, 105 S.Ct. 675, 680, 83 L.Ed.2d 604, 611 (1985); Terry v. Ohio, supra. See als......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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