United States v. Lewis, 122619 FED4, 18-4487

Docket Nº:18-4487
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM.
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. RODERICK DELON LEWIS, Defendant-Appellant.
Attorney:Kimberly Harvey Albro, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellant. Everett E. McMillian, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Florence, South Carolina, for Appellee. Sherri A. Lydon, United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Columbia, South...
Judge Panel:Before AGEE, THACKER and QUATTLEBAUM, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:December 26, 2019
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
 
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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee,

v.

RODERICK DELON LEWIS, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 18-4487

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

December 26, 2019

UNPUBLISHED

Argued: October 30, 2019

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, at Florence. R. Bryan Harwell, Chief District Judge. (4:17-cr-00887-RBH-1).

ARGUED:

Kimberly Harvey Albro, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellant.

Everett E. McMillian, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Florence, South Carolina, for Appellee.

ON BRIEF:

Sherri A. Lydon, United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellee.

Before AGEE, THACKER and QUATTLEBAUM, Circuit Judges.

Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion.

Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.

PER CURIAM.

Roderick Delon Lewis ("Appellant") moved to suppress evidence of a firearm seized incident to his investigatory detention. Appellant argued that this detention violated his Fourth Amendment right and the firearm seized should therefore be suppressed. The district court denied the motion, concluding that the detaining officer's reasonable suspicion supported the detention.

At the time of his encounter with Appellant, the officer in question knew an arrest warrant had been issued for an individual with Appellant's last name, that the warrant was for assault, and that Appellant had a reputation as a neighborhood bully. As a result, when the officer observed Appellant in the neighborhood, the officer approached him and mentioned the arrest warrant, at which point Appellant fled. Under the totality of the circumstances, these facts supported the officer's reasonable suspicion to detain Appellant.

Therefore, we affirm.

I.

While leaving a staff meeting on the morning of June 12, 2017, Sergeant Matthew Townsend ("Sergeant Townsend") of the Dillon, South Carolina police department overheard coworkers discussing an arrest warrant charging assault that had recently been issued for someone with the last name of "Lewis." Later that day, Sergeant Townsend was filling his patrol car's gas tank when he noticed Appellant walk past. Sergeant Townsend had previously interacted with both Appellant and Appellant's brother, who share the last name "Lewis." Sergeant Townsend was aware that Appellant was known as a "neighborhood bully." J.A. 33.1 When Sergeant Townsend saw Appellant walking down the street, he radioed dispatch to identify the full name on the "Lewis" warrant. Though Sergeant Townsend had yet to receive an answer from dispatch, he followed Appellant. Sergeant Townsend was alone in his patrol car and Appellant was on foot.

When Sergeant Townsend caught up with him, Appellant was nearing the front door to the home Appellant shared with his girlfriend. According to Sergeant Townsend, he first rolled his car window down and said, "Hey, man, let me talk to you for a minute." J.A. 37. As Sergeant Townsend then exited his car, Appellant replied, "For what?" Id. At this point, Sergeant Townsend recalls he "was probably in [Appellant's] yard." Id. at 59. Sergeant Townsend told Appellant, "I may have a warrant on you," at which point, according to Sergeant Townsend, Appellant turned and ran from one side of the house around to the other side. Id. at 37.

For his part, Appellant testified that he was approaching his front door when Sergeant Townsend pulled up in his patrol car. According to Appellant, Sergeant Townsend "pulled up in the yard, got out of the vehicle, [and] told [him] to turn around and put [his] hands behind [his] back . . . [because he] was under arrest." J.A. 66. Appellant further attested that he demanded to know why he was under arrest, and when Sergeant Townsend refused to explain, Appellant turned to walk in the door of his residence. At that point, per Appellant, Sergeant Townsend reached to grab him, so Appellant pulled away and ran. Appellant explained that he ran when Sergeant Townsend tried stopping him from continuing into his house because he did not believe Sergeant Townsend had the authority to arrest him. Appellant said he believed he had the right to leave because Sergeant Townsend never told him why he was under arrest.

In both Appellant's and Sergeant Townsend's versions of the incident, Appellant ran from the area near his front door to the other side of the house. Appellant then attempted to climb over a chain-link fence near the side of the house, but Sergeant Townsend grabbed him and wrestled him to the...

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