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United States v. Parker

November 5, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
DWAYNE PARKER, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rufe, J.

MOTION TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

The United States charges Defendant Dwayne Parker ("Defendant") with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Defendant has filed a Motion to Suppress Physical Evidence and Statements [Doc. No. 18], seeking the suppression of physical evidence obtained on October 22, 2009 in connection with an investigative stop of a silver Cadillac Escalade, and a subsequent incriminating statement made by the Defendant on January 11, 2010.

Upon consideration of Defendant's Motion to Suppress Physical Evidence and Statements, the Government's Response thereto [Doc. No. 25], testimony presented at an evidentiary hearing and oral argument thereon, and upon further review of the hearing transcript [Doc. No. 39], the Court now enters its findings of fact and conclusions of law.

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. On October 22, 2009, at or between approximately 3:54 a.m. and 4:15 a.m., Philadelphia police officers working the 12 a.m. to 8 a.m. shift in the 25th District received two radio calls from police dispatch with flash (descriptive) information regarding a robbery in progress and a person with a gun.*fn1

2. The flash information provided the location of the activity as 300 West Glenwood Avenue, and the suspected vehicle as a silver-colored Cadillac occupied by black males.*fn2 Officer testimony varies on whether the flash information further specified the Cadillac as an Escalade and/or SUV: Officer Binns recalls the flash information specifying the Cadillac as an Escalade; Officer Morace vaguely recalls the flash information specifying the Cadillac as an SUV; and Officers Lewis and Gorman do not recall the additional details.*fn3

3. The 300 West Glenwood Avenue area is regarded as a mid-level crime area.*fn4

4. All officers responding to the flash information were in marked patrol units, attired in full police uniform.*fn5

5. In response to the first radio call by dispatch, Officers Lewis, Binns, and Gorman mistakenly responded to 300 West Sedgley Avenue, instead of 300 West Glenwood Avenue. Upon realizing the mistake, the officers traveled to 300 West Glenwood Avenue.*fn6

6. The first and second radio calls were approximately one minute apart, and it took the officers no more than one minute to reach the 300 West Glenwood Avenue area.*fn7

7. Officers Lewis and Binns were the first responders.*fn8 While the officers were traveling westbound on Glenwood Avenue, they observed a silver Cadillac Escalade, which they believed matched the flash information, make a left onto Glenwood Avenue from 3rd Street. Officers Lewis and Binns were behind the Cadillac. Both vehicles were traveling westbound on Glenwood Avenue.*fn9

8. All of the Cadillac's windows behind the front doors were tinted.*fn10 Officers Lewis and Binns could not see exactly how many individuals occupied the vehicle as they were driving behind it.*fn11

9. Without any provocation by the officers, the driver of the Cadillac pulled over to the right side of the road and stopped in front of a closed automobile lot.*fn12 Based on previous experiences, Officer Lewis believed that when the Cadillac pulled over, it was possibly an avoidance tactic.*fn13

10. The officers pulled their marked police vehicle behind the Cadillac and then activated their overhead lights. The two officers then approached the Cadillac by foot on either side of the car with their weapons drawn.*fn14 At the point of approach, the officers observed five black males inside the Cadillac.*fn15

11. The five males were later identified as follows: Khalil Smith was the driver of the Cadillac; Ryan Gary was seated in the front passenger seat; William Jefferson was seated immediately behind the driver in the second row of seats; Anthony McFarland was seated immediately behind the front passenger in the second row; and Defendant Dwayne Parker was the lone passenger seated in the third row on the driver's side.*fn16

12. Officers Lewis and Binns observed Defendant Dwayne Parker with both of his hands reaching downward, looking downward, and making sudden movements.*fn17

13. All of the occupants of the vehicle were ordered to put their hands in the air; they complied.*fn18

14. Additional units arrived on the scene, including Sergeant Morace, who parked his marked police vehicle in front of the Cadillac.*fn19

15. For purposes of officer safety, the radio call reporting a violent crime, the officers individually removed the five men from the Cadillac, frisking them for weapons and placing them on or near the sidewalk. The individuals were subsequently detained in the back of the various police vehicles.*fn20

16. While the five men were outside of the Cadillac, Sergeant Morace looked inside the vehicle through the open door behind the driver's seat. Using his flashlight, he illuminated the inside and observed the handle of a firearm protruding from the top of an open duffle type bag on the floor in the second row.*fn21

17. William Jefferson, who had been seated immediately behind the driver in the second row, admitted to the ownership of the firearm.*fn22

18. Soon after Jefferson's admission, Officer Lewis also looked inside the vehicle with his flashlight through the same open door behind the driver's seat and observed a firearm on the floor in the third ...


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