United States v. Meyers, 012319 FED4, 18-4020

Docket Nº:18-4020
Opinion Judge:DUNCAN, Circuit Judge:
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. LAMAR MEYERS, Defendant-Appellant.
Attorney:Cody James Groeber, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Charleston, South Carolina, for Appellant. Sean Kittrell, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Charleston, South Carolina, for Appellee. Beth Drake, United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Columbia, South Carolina, ...
Judge Panel:Before GREGORY, Chief Judge, DUNCAN and DIAZ, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:January 23, 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.

LAMAR MEYERS, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 18-4020

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

January 23, 2019

UNPUBLISHED

Argued: December 13, 2018

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, at Charleston. Patrick Michael Duffy, Senior District Judge. (2:16-cr-00939-PMD-1)

ARGUED:

Cody James Groeber, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Charleston, South Carolina, for Appellant.

Sean Kittrell, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Charleston, South Carolina, for Appellee.

ON BRIEF:

Beth Drake, United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellee.

Before GREGORY, Chief Judge, DUNCAN and DIAZ, Circuit Judges.

Affirmed by unpublished opinion. Judge Duncan wrote the opinion, in which Chief Judge Gregory and Judge Diaz concurred.

Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.

DUNCAN, Circuit Judge:

Defendant-Appellant Lamar Meyers claims that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated during a traffic stop and subsequent frisk and search. Under a conditional plea agreement, he challenges the district court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained from that traffic stop that underlies his conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). For the following reasons, we affirm.

I.

A.

On the night of April 18, 2016, police officer Christopher Wycoff observed Donald Moultrie driving a car without his tail lights on. Moultrie had been driving on a busy street in Charleston, South Carolina, with Defendant Meyers riding in the front passenger seat. After Wycoff signaled Moultrie to pull over, Moultrie turned into a gas station. Moultrie drove past several empty parking spaces before parking near the back of the lot by the station's dumpster. The parking spot was well-lit but was around twenty to thirty feet from the pumping stations and the convenience store entrance.

As Moultrie was parking, Wycoff observed him and Meyers moving around inside the car as though they were trying to conceal or reach for something. Once Wycoff approached the car, he turned on his body camera and captured most of the following encounter.

Wycoff introduced himself and told Moultrie that he had been driving with his lights off. He asked Moultrie for his vehicle registration, proof of insurance, and driver's license. Moultrie handed Wycoff several papers, none of which were his license. Wycoff again asked for Moultrie's license, and Moultrie began looking for it. As Moultrie searched for his license, Meyers asked for permission to get out of the car. Wycoff told Meyers to "sit tight," because he wanted to keep both men in his line of sight and because the way the men were moving around made him nervous.

Wycoff asked if the men were on parole. Meyers acknowledged that he was on probation for a prior drug conviction. Wycoff asked several times whether they had any items in the car that they were not supposed to have. Moultrie answered no. Meyers said nothing. Suspecting that there were drugs or weapons in the car, Wycoff called for backup. While waiting for an officer to arrive, Wycoff continued questioning the men.

After Officer Beaver arrived as backup, Wycoff told Moultrie to get out of the car and patted him down. Wycoff again asked whether Moultrie had anything illegal in the car, and Moultrie stated that Meyers had a gun in his front pocket.

At that time, Officer Bradish arrived with a drug dog. Wycoff told Bradish that Meyers had a gun, returned to the car, and told Meyers to put his hands on his head and get out of the car. Once Meyers did so, Beaver and Bradish patted him down and lifted up his shirt while Wycoff asked Meyers if he had any weapons. Meyers said he did not. Wycoff handcuffed Meyers and took over the frisk. After feeling what he thought were drugs in Meyer's pocket, Wycoff reached in and found a folded bill with a powdery substance inside it which was later identified as fentanyl.

Wycoff asked Beaver to check for a gun in the car. After Beaver failed to find one, Wycoff began frisking Meyers again. He felt what he believed to be a gun in between Meyer's legs and said, "It's in his pants." Meyers offered to retrieve the gun himself. Wycoff refused and positioned Meyers to face him. This also faced Meyers towards the walkway between the pumping stations and attached convenience...

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