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United States v. Battle

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

December 22, 2014

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Delvonn Battle, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted September 11, 2014

Page 505

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Appeal from United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, Waterloo.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Justin A. Lightfoot, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Northern District of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, IA.

Delvonn Battle, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Pekin, IL.

For Delvonn Battle, Defendant - Appellant: Anne M. Laverty, David E. Mullin, MULLIN & LAVERTY, Cedar Rapids, IA.

Before BENTON, MELLOY, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 508

SHEPHERD, Circuit Judge.

Delvonn Battle was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). The district court[1] sentenced him to 120 months imprisonment. Battle challenges his conviction and sentence. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

I. Background

We recount the evidence in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict. United States v. Stevens, 439 F.3d 983, 986 (8th Cir. 2006). On January 13, 2012, two Waterloo, Iowa police officers, Michael Girsch and Spencer Gann, were conducting surveillance on an apartment complex where they suspected a subject with an outstanding warrant was hiding. The officers saw several individuals getting into a parked vehicle behind the complex. As the vehicle exited the complex, the officers noticed its rear license plate was not properly lit and initiated a traffic stop. The officers observed that the vehicle, which was moving 10 to 15 miles per hour, stopped slowly, taking approximately 20 seconds to come to a complete stop.

There were three individuals in the vehicle: the driver, Ryan Marshall; the front seat passenger, Battle; and a back right passenger, Darrel Hardy. Their identification cards showed that all three men were from Des Moines, Iowa. Officer Girsch asked Marshall to exit the vehicle so he could show him the lighting problem. Officer Gann talked to Battle and Hardy, who both remained in the car. The officers noticed inconsistencies among the three mens' accounts as to why they were in Waterloo and what stops they had made during their trip.

A third officer, Officer Bose, arrived on the scene with a drug detection dog. Based on the vehicle's slow stop and the occupants' inconsistent accounts, the officers became suspicious and asked Battle and Hardy to exit the vehicle so they could conduct a dog sniff. When Hardy exited the vehicle, he fled from the scene. Officer Gann immediately pursued on foot and Officer Girsch followed shortly after, leaving Officer Bose at the vehicle with Marshall and Battle. Hardy ran about 35 yards before being apprehended. The pursuing officers did not observe him discarding anything while he was running and did not find any contraband when they retraced his steps in the snow. The officers arrested Hardy and searched the vehicle, where they found a Ruger 9-millimeter handgun that contained a loaded

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magazine under the front passenger seat. The gun's barrel was pointed toward the back seat. Debris and tubing connected to the seat's electric controls blocked access to the gun from the back seat. The officers photographed the gun's position before removing it. They arrested ...


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