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United States v. Hollis

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

March 12, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
SHEDRICK D. HOLLIS, Defendant-Appellant

Page 1065

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. D.C. Docket No. 3:12-cr-00017-WKW-WC-1.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Susan R. Redmond, Jonathan Ross, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Sandra J. Stewart, George L. Beck Jr., Jared H. Morris, U.S. Attorney's Office, Montgomery, AL.

For Shedrick D. Hollis, Defendant - Appellant: Richard Michael Kemmer Jr., Stephanie Woodham Kemmer, Kemmer & Kemmer, PC, Centreville, AL.

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

OPINION

Page 1066

WILLIAM PRYOR, Circuit Judge:

This appeal requires us to decide whether the subject of an arrest warrant may challenge the use of evidence found in plain view during a protective sweep in a third party's residence. Law enforcement officers possessed an arrest warrant for Shedrick Hollis and learned that he could be found in an apartment the officers suspected to be a drug house. After surrounding the apartment, the officers saw Hollis through a window, broke through the door, and arrested him, and other officers conducted a protective sweep of the apartment. During that sweep, the officers discovered marijuana and firearms in plain view. After he was indicted on charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), felon in possession of a firearm, 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A), and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, id. § § 922(g)(1), 924(e), Hollis moved to suppress the drugs and firearms found in the apartment. The district court denied his motion. Hollis was convicted on all counts. Because the evidence was discovered in plain view during

Page 1067

a protective sweep incident to a valid arrest, we affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

In February 2011, officers were searching for Hollis based on an outstanding Georgia arrest warrant for a parole violation. Police officers from Phenix City, Alabama, and agents of the United States Marshals Service received information that Hollis might be found in an apartment in Phenix City alleged to be a drug house. On March 1, 2011, officers surrounded the apartment. Some of the officers approached the front door of the apartment and knocked. Hollis peered out from behind a window, and the officers recognized him. The officers yelled " police" and ordered Hollis to open the door. After waiting for a brief period, the officers used a battering ram to open the door and arrested Hollis.

Other officers entered the apartment to conduct a protective sweep of the area. They found a cosmetic bag with marijuana on a dresser, weapons under a bed, and marijuana on the kitchen counter. The officers then obtained a search warrant for the premises. In a thorough search of the apartment, they discovered about a pound of cocaine, large amounts of marijuana, crack cocaine, ecstasy, scales, and about $5,000 in cash. One of the scales had a latent fingerprint on it, later attributed to Hollis.

A federal grand jury indicted Hollis on two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A), and one count of felony possession of a firearm, id. § § 922(g)(1), 924(e). Before trial, Hollis moved to suppress the evidence obtained from the apartment on the ground that the officers conducted an illegal, warrantless search in violation of his rights under the Fourth Amendment. A magistrate judge held an evidentiary hearing and found that Hollis was not invited into the apartment by its owner, but by an acquaintance of the owner. Because Hollis was " a guest of an uninvited guest," the ...


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