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United States of America v. Shamone Kennedy

March 16, 2011


On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (No. 06-cr-00023) District Judge: Honorable Berle M. Schiller

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Fuentes, Circuit Judge:


Argued October 6, 2010

Before: FUENTES, JORDAN, ALDISERT, Circuit Judges


Acting on an arrest warrant, police arrested Shamone Kennedy and impounded a nearby rental car that Kennedy‟s girlfriend had lent him a few days earlier. Following an inventory search, police found two guns and 200 grams of cocaine inside the car. Kennedy moved to suppress the evidence found in the car, contending he had a legitimate expectation of privacy in its contents. The District Court denied the motion. Because we find that the driver of a rental car whose name is not listed on the rental agreement generally lacks a legitimate expectation of privacy in the car, we conclude that Kennedy‟s suppression motion was properly denied. Accordingly, we will affirm.



Following the arrest of two minors in connection with stolen firearms, Detective Quinn of the Coatesville City Police Department received information indicating that some of those firearms had been sold for money and drugs at a home on First Avenue to a man known as "Tex" and later identified as defendant Kennedy. Police subsequently obtained a warrant and searched the home on First Avenue, where they found guns, drugs, and personal effects belonging to Kennedy. A federal warrant was issued for Kennedy‟s arrest on January 18, 2006.

Six days earlier, on January 12, 2006, Kennedy‟s girlfriend Courtney Fields had rented a silver Toyota Camry from Kulp Car Rental and given the key to Kennedy, who used the car until January 18, 2006. Kennedy‟s name was not listed on the rental agreement.

On January 18, a police informant who knew Kennedy notified Detective Chris McEvoy that earlier in the day he had seen Kennedy driving a silver Toyota Camry, the car Fields had rented, on Chestnut Street between 7th and 8th Streets. McEvoy then passed this information on to the day and evening shifts of the Coatesville Police Department. Later that evening, at approximately 9:00 p.m., Officer John Regan, Corporal Sean Knapp, and Sergeant Martin Brice encountered Kennedy-wearing black gloves and carrying in his right hand a rental key inscribed with the Kulp Car Rental insignia and listing the car it belonged to as a silver Toyota Camry-walking diagonally across Chester Avenue and down the hill toward East Lincoln Highway. The officers placed Kennedy under arrest pursuant to the warrant. They then searched Kennedy and found on his person $2,692 in United States currency, a set of keys, and four cell phones. The District Court later determined that Kennedy was a validly licensed driver.

After Kennedy was taken to the police station, Officer Regan asked him where he lived. Kennedy said he lived at 714 East Lincoln Highway, a house less than a block from the location of the arrest. Officer Regan went to that location and soon found a silver Camry on Chester Street with a Kulp Car Rental bracket around its license plate. In the meantime, Sergeant Brice spoke with Kulp Car Rental‟s owner, who requested that the police tow the car to the police station. While Officer Regan waited for a tow truck, three people approached the car from East Lincoln Highway, at which time Officer Regan instructed them to move away from the vehicle. The man and two women continued up the street to a house where they watched Officer Regan and the car from the front porch and window. One of the three was Courtney Fields, Kennedy‟s girlfriend and the person who had rented the car and given Kennedy the key.

Following the car‟s impoundment, Detective Martin Quinn directed Corporal Scott Neuhaus to conduct an inventory search of the car pursuant to Department policy so that the vehicle could then be picked up by someone from Kulp. Corporal Neuhaus began the inventory search with the trunk, where he found a partially opened duffle bag containing a disassembled rifle in three pieces. He immediately stopped the search and spoke with Detective Quinn, who then sought a search warrant for the entire vehicle. That same day, at her request, Fields‟s attorney informed the police that there could be drugs in the car.

On January 20, 2006, Detective McEvoy and Detective Sean Murrin received a federal search warrant for the vehicle. Inside, the detectives found a cell phone charger plugged into the dashboard cigarette lighter, and a second cell phone charger in the passenger compartment, each of which fit one of the four phones found on Kennedy at the time of arrest. The detectives then opened the locked glove compartment and found a semi-automatic handgun, a magazine containing around 30 rounds of ...

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