ILNews

7th Circuit extends search, detainment precedent

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.”
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

ADVERTISEMENT