U.S. v. Simpson, No. 05-3071.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtLay
Citation439 F.3d 490
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Bryan Lee SIMPSON, Defendant-Appellant.
Decision Date27 February 2006
Docket NumberNo. 05-3071.
439 F.3d 490
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Bryan Lee SIMPSON, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 05-3071.
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.
Submitted: January 12, 2006.
Filed: February 27, 2006.

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COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

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Timothy S. Ross-Boon, Federal Public Defender, of Des Moines, IA, for appellant.

Cliff Wendel, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Des Moines, IA, for appellee.

Before WOLLMAN, LAY, and ARNOLD, Circuit Judges.

LAY, Circuit Judge.


I. BACKGROUND

In the morning hours of January 21, 2004, Des Moines Police Officers Tim Morgan and Jeff Cronin were on patrol in an unmarked, white Pontiac Grand Am. Both officers wore jeans and winter jackets. During the course of their patrol, the officers drove by an apartment complex in Des Moines, Iowa, in an area known for drug trafficking. As the officers drove into the complex, they spotted a pedestrian. Officer Morgan believed the pedestrian was Jerome Shade, a man he knew from a prior arrest. Officer Cronin did not know Shade by sight. However, because there was an outstanding warrant for Shade's arrest, Officer Cronin was equipped with a photograph of Shade and a written report describing his physical characteristics. As the officers' car approached the suspect, Officer Morgan told Officer Cronin he believed the man was, in fact, Shade.

The suspect wore a stocking cap and a bulky winter jacket. The officers initially spotted him from approximately thirty to forty yards away. As the officers drew closer, the suspect placed his hand beside his face, obstructing the officers' view. As the car passed, Officer Morgan slowed the car to approximately ten miles per hour and watched, from the rear view mirror, as the suspect paid close attention to the car. The distance between the car and the suspect was approximately twenty to thirty feet.

Once the car passed, the suspect began to walk more rapidly and eventually broke into a run around one of the nearby apartment buildings. In response, Officer Morgan stopped the car and began to pursue the suspect on foot. During the chase, Officer Morgan radioed back to police dispatch to inform other officers of the status of his pursuit. At no time during the chase did Officer Morgan communicate directly with Officer Cronin.

During the chase, Officer Morgan twice identified himself as a police officer, but was unsure whether the suspect could hear him. As the suspect was fleeing, he removed his coat and stocking cap, and Officer Morgan immediately realized he was

Page 493

not Shade. Shade stands six feet, two inches and weighs approximately 210 pounds. Simpson, by contrast, is five feet, six inches and weighs approximately 150 pounds.

Despite this realization, Officer Morgan continued to chase the suspect because he believed the man knew he and Officer Cronin were police officers and, as a result, had intentionally concealed his identity and taken flight to evade them. The chase ultimately ended after two or three blocks when Officer Cronin, pursuing the suspect from the opposite direction, cut the suspect off and announced he was a police officer. Officer Cronin attempted to arrest the suspect, but he resisted. Officer Cronin then forced the suspect to the ground and subdued him with the help of other officers who had, by now, arrived on the scene. Officer Cronin was unaware the person he chased down was not Shade.

Shortly after the suspect's arrest, the officers identified him as Bryan Simpson and discovered an outstanding warrant for his arrest. While officers verified Simpson's identity, Officer Morgan and others retraced the chase route and discovered two magazines containing ammunition and an assault rifle on the ground. The officers then searched Simpson's person and recovered three bullets. These bullets matched the ammunition found in the two magazines recovered by police.

Approximately two hours after his arrest, authorities read Simpson his Miranda rights. Simpson also signed a Miranda waiver. Police then interrogated him for approximately one hour, during which time Simpson told officers they would likely find his prints on the rifle. Simpson also identified the man who sold him the rifle. At no time during the interview did Simpson ask for an attorney.

Simpson was subsequently charged as a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(e)(1). Simpson moved to suppress admission of his post-arrest statements. The district court1 denied Simpson's motion even though it ruled his initial seizure violated the Fourth Amendment. Simpson subsequently filed a motion in limine to exclude admission of the rifle, the two magazines, and the three bullets. This motion was also denied.

On March 9, 2005, Simpson entered a conditional plea of guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, reserving the right to appeal the district court's rulings on his motion to suppress and motion in limine. Simpson now appeals each of these rulings. Simpson also appeals the district court's sentence, alleging it violates his Sixth Amendment right to a trial by jury.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Admissibility of the Rifle and Magazine Clips

Simpson first argues the rifle and magazine clips recovered on the ground by the officers are inadmissible under the Fourth Amendment as fruit of the poisonous tree. We review the district court's Fourth Amendment rulings de novo. United States v. Brown, 49 F.3d 1346, 1348-49 (8th Cir.1995).

"Under the `fruit of the poisonous tree' doctrine, the exclusionary rule bars the admission of physical evidence and live witness testimony obtained directly or indirectly through the exploitation of police illegality." Hamilton v. Nix, 809 F.2d

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463, 465 (8th Cir.1987) (citing Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471, 484-88, 83 S.Ct. 407, 9 L.Ed.2d 441 (1963)). The district court ruled, and the government does not dispute, that law enforcement had neither probable cause nor reasonable suspicion to seize Simpson. We will therefore assume, without deciding, that Simpson's initial seizure was unconstitutional. Given this background, we must now address whether the rifle and magazines recovered on the ground after Simpson's seizure were obtained through an improper exploitation of the initial police illegality.

Simpson concedes he was first seized, for purposes of the Fourth Amendment, when Officer Cronin tackled him. Simpson's chase by law enforcement was, in all respects, lawful, and his relinquishment of the rifle and magazines was an act preceding the police illegality. See California v. Hodari D., 499 U.S. 621, 629, 111 S.Ct. 1547, 113 L.Ed.2d 690 (1991) (holding that pursuit by law enforcement, even where law enforcement makes a "show of authority," does not constitute a Fourth Amendment "seizure"). The mere fact that police recovered the rifle and magazines after Simpson's unlawful seizure does not render this evidence inadmissible. Had authorities not arrested Simpson, they would have been free to retrace the search route and recover any and all evidence they encountered on the way. Evidence recovered under these circumstances is ordinarily admissible. See United States v. Liu, 180 F.3d 957, 962 (8th Cir.1999). Simpson's unlawful seizure does not change the fact that he relinquished...

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104 practice notes
  • United States v. Ramos, No. CR 15-3940 JB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • July 11, 2016
    ...and executed ‘in the hope that something might turn up.’ ' " United States v. Fox, 600 F.3d at 1261 (quoting United States v. Simpson, 439 F.3d 490, 496 (8th Cir.2006) ). First, there is no evidence that Campos—or any reasonable officer—knew that the conduct was unconstitutional, but engage......
  • People v. Rodriguez, No. B186661.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • October 10, 2006
    ...an even more compelling case for the conclusion that the taint of the original illegality is dissipated."]; U.S. v. Simpson (8th Cir.2006) 439 F.3d 490, 495 One additional point troubles me about my colleagues' analysis. The majority holds, as I understand it, if the traffic stop was unlawf......
  • United States v. Gross, No. 08–4051.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • June 15, 2011
    ...stopped the defendant, the search and the arrest of the defendant could not be deemed the purpose of the stop); United States v. Simpson, 439 F.3d 490, 495–96 (8th Cir.2006) (concluding that an “outstanding arrest warrant constitutes an extraordinary intervening circumstances that purges mu......
  • United States v. Hernandez, No. 15-1116
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • February 9, 2017
    ...more compelling case for the conclusion that the taint of the original illegality is dissipated."); see also United States v. Simpson , 439 F.3d 490, 495–97 (8th Cir. 2006) (holding the defendant's "outstanding arrest warrant constitute[d] an extraordinary intervening circumstance that purg......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
104 cases
  • United States v. Ramos, No. CR 15-3940 JB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • July 11, 2016
    ...and executed ‘in the hope that something might turn up.’ ' " United States v. Fox, 600 F.3d at 1261 (quoting United States v. Simpson, 439 F.3d 490, 496 (8th Cir.2006) ). First, there is no evidence that Campos—or any reasonable officer—knew that the conduct was unconstitutional, but engage......
  • People v. Rodriguez, No. B186661.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • October 10, 2006
    ...an even more compelling case for the conclusion that the taint of the original illegality is dissipated."]; U.S. v. Simpson (8th Cir.2006) 439 F.3d 490, 495 One additional point troubles me about my colleagues' analysis. The majority holds, as I understand it, if the traffic stop was unlawf......
  • United States v. Gross, No. 08–4051.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • June 15, 2011
    ...stopped the defendant, the search and the arrest of the defendant could not be deemed the purpose of the stop); United States v. Simpson, 439 F.3d 490, 495–96 (8th Cir.2006) (concluding that an “outstanding arrest warrant constitutes an extraordinary intervening circumstances that purges mu......
  • United States v. Hernandez, No. 15-1116
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • February 9, 2017
    ...more compelling case for the conclusion that the taint of the original illegality is dissipated."); see also United States v. Simpson , 439 F.3d 490, 495–97 (8th Cir. 2006) (holding the defendant's "outstanding arrest warrant constitute[d] an extraordinary intervening circumstance that purg......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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