Thursday, June 21, 2012

District Court Properly Rejected Suppression and Speedy Trial Claims

US v. Madden, 2012 WL 2308633 (10th 6/19/2012)(published)

Defendant's conviction for felon-in-possession affirmed. Motion to suppress properly denied. Initial encounter between defendant and officer was consensual where officer approached defendant, who was sitting in his parked vehicle, for no good reason. "[A]officer may approach an individual, ask a few questions, ask to examine the individual's identification, and even ask for consent to search 'as long as the police do not convey a message that compliance with their requests is required.'” In other words, Defendant could have ignored the cop.

Of course, what begins as "consensual" can quickly become "investigative," as in this case, where the officer asked defendant to get out of his car and "then asked or directed" defendant to sit in the patrol car while the cop ran his name through the computer. The investigative detention was reasonable because defendant had (consensually, of course) told the officer that he didn't have his driver's license with him, which was a violation of state law and city ordinance. Once the officer learned defendant had two outstanding misdemeanor traffic warrants, it was ok to arrest him. Finally, even though the search of the car was not a valid search incident to arrest, the search occurred before Arizona v. Gant and thus the good faith exception saves the day.

Defendant also claimed that his right to a speedy trial was violated because, although the search that found the gun occurred March 3, 2005, the government didn't indict him until four years later, after he served time for state felony drug charges. The Court rejects the Fifth Amendment claim based on the preindictment delay because he failed to show prejudice. The fact that he would have been able to negotiate a concurrent sentence in state court was speculative, not definite, prejudice. His Sixth Amendment claim failed because he wasn't arrested on the state charges until February 13, 2009.