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United States v. Barber

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

February 3, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TYRONE RASHOD BARBER, Defendant-Appellant

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. D.C. Docket No. 1:13-cr-20240-KMM-1.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Kathleen Mary Salyer, Stephen Schlessinger, Wifredo A. Ferrer, Marton Gyires, Arimentha R. Walkins, U.S. Attorney's Office, Miami, FL.

For Tyron Rashod Barber, Defendant - Appellant: Raymond D'Arsey Houlihan III, Michael Caruso, Federal Public Defender, Federal Public Defender's Office, Miami, FL.

Before WILLIAM PRYOR and JORDAN, Circuit Judges, and WALTER,[*] District Judge.

OPINION

WILLIAM PRYOR, Circuit Judge:

This appeal from a conviction for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), presents an issue about apparent authority to consent to a search of a bag in a car. Tyrone Barber was a passenger in a car stopped by police officers.

Page 1304

After the driver consented to a search of the car, the officers discovered a gun belonging to Barber in a bag placed on the passenger-side floorboard. Barber was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Barber moved to suppress the gun on the ground that the driver lacked the authority to consent to the search of his bag. The district court denied the motion and ruled that the driver had both actual and apparent authority to consent to the search, and Barber was convicted after a bench trial. We affirm because the driver had apparent authority to consent to the search.

I. BACKGROUND

On September 6, 2012, Miami-Dade Police Department detectives Anthony Rodriguez and Robert Gonzalez stopped a car in which Tyrone Barber was a passenger. The detectives arrested the car's driver, Geofrey Robinson, for driving with a suspended license. Robinson consented to a search of the car. Rodriguez directed Barber, who was sitting in the passenger seat, to exit the car.

During the search, Rodriguez saw a purple bag on the passenger-side floorboard. At Barber's trial, Rodriguez testified that he did not know to whom the bag belonged at the time of the search. On cross-examination, Rodriguez testified that he believed the bag belonged to Barber at the time of the search. Rodriguez looked inside the bag and saw a handgun, Barber's business cards, and a photo of Barber and his children. The officers performed a records check at the scene and learned that Barber had previously been convicted of a felony. The officers arrested Barber and read him his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966), after which Barber confirmed that the gun belonged to him.

A federal grand jury indicted Barber on a single count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). Barber later moved to suppress the gun and his admissions obtained from the traffic stop and search. He argued that the officers searched his bag without probable cause or consent. The government argued that Barber lacked standing to challenge the search, and that even if he had standing, the search was lawful because it was conducted with Robinson's consent.

The district court held that Barber had " sufficient Fourth Amendment standing to raise an objection to the use of evidence obtained during [the search]." But the district court also held that the search was constitutional because Robinson gave " general consent" that " include[d] the consent to search containers within the car," and " the officers had no reason to suspect that the bag searched belonged to only [Barber]."

The court held a bench trial and found Barber guilty of the charge in the indictment. The court sentenced ...


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