United States v. James, 091008 FED5, 07-31048

Docket Nº:07-31048
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee v. CHAD JAMES, Defendant-Appellant
Judge Panel:Before REAVLEY, STEWART, and OWEN, Circuit Judges
Case Date:September 10, 2008
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit



CHAD JAMES, Defendant-Appellant

No. 07-31048

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

September 10, 2008

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana USDC No. 2:06-CR-55-1

Before REAVLEY, STEWART, and OWEN, Circuit Judges.


Chad James appeals following his conviction for possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of crack cocaine, possession with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine hydrochloride, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He challenges the district court's denial of a suppression motion and several trial rulings, as well as the sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction. Finding no reversible error, we AFFIRM.

James was arrested on a parole violation warrant. When police arrived at his apartment to execute the warrant they accompanied him inside so that he could get dressed. He was initially calm and compliant, but upon entering the apartment James suddenly and quickly closed an interior door leading to another room, which police found suspicious. Police also observed a shotgun in plain view leaning against the bedroom wall next to the bed. As the officers tried to handcuff James, he resisted and began a violent altercation that led to two officers and James tumbling down the stairs and out into the street, where James continued the fight. Although no one was present on the street, James began calling for help. The officers did not know whether James was calling for assistance from someone who may have been inside the apartment. After securing James, an officer reentered the apartment to secure the shotgun and to conduct a protective sweep. The officer observed suspected cocaine in plain view in the room to which James had slammed the door. The officer secured the residence and obtained a search warrant. Police then seized crack and powder cocaine, drug distribution paraphernalia, a loaded shotgun, and over $5000 in cash.

James contends that all the evidence except for the shotgun was obtained in an illegal protective sweep of his apartment and that the district court should have granted his suppression motion. We disagree.

Incident to an arrest, a police officer may conduct a visual protective sweep of premises to ensure that no other...

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