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7th Circuit extends search, detainment precedent

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More than two decades ago, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said that a higher precedent allowed not only residents of a home being searched to be detained, but also that visitors to that location could be detained.

With a ruling today, the federal appeals court has extended that precedent to someone who’s left the residence before the search begins, but is suspected of being criminally involved in the activity at that home and is pulled over and detained during the search.

The 39-page opinion authored by U.S. Judge John Tinder in the case of  United States of America v. Derrick L. Bullock, No. 10-2238, comes from the Northern District of Indiana.

Bullock was pulled over in Fort Wayne and detained while police searched a residence he’d been visiting. Police then arrested him for visiting a common nuisance under Indiana law after finding marijuana and crack cocaine and evidence of recurrent, widespread drug activity within the residence. Bullock pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute 5-50 grams of cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), conditioned on his ability to appeal a ruling by Judge Theresa L. Springmann that denied his motion to suppress the evidence that led to his conviction.

Bullock argued that police didn’t have reasonable suspicion to pull him over a few blocks from the residence he’d been visiting where the drugs were found, nor that he should have been detained during the search. But the 7th Circuit disagreed, finding probable cause and justification under both the landmark case Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968) and Michigan v. Summers, 452 U.S. 692 (1981) which extended the momentary detainment to a resident. Police handcuffed and put Bullock in a patrol car for 30 to 40 minutes and transported him to the scene. The federal appeals judges found that reasonable since police didn’t question or “abuse” Bullock during that detainment.

Noting that it had extended Summers to visitors at a residence in the case of U.S. v. Pace, 898 F. 2d 1218, 1239 (7th Cir. 1990), the panel looked to other Circuits that have extended it further in this case and allowed for Bullock to be detained because of his history and suspected involvement. Some Circuits haven’t extended the higher precedent to these types of circumstances, but the panel found this case warrants it.

Judge Tinder wrote that the officers’ interests in detaining Bullock during the search were not outweighed by the rather limited intrusion on his freedom. The panel also noted that police had probable cause to arrest Bullock as they did, because drugs were visible.

“As the District court found, a common-sense view of the everyday realities of life would lead officers to reasonably believe that Bullock was aware that drug use had occurred inside the residence, and there was evidence that it occurred on more than one occasion,” Judge Tinder wrote. “While the officers could not have been certain that Bullock was aware of the marijuana in the dining room or other evidence of drug activity found in the residence, they had probable cause to believe so based on Bullock’s presence in the house that day and his prior association with the residence that led officers to obtain a search warrant for the premises.”
 

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  1. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  2. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  3. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  4. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  5. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

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