Submitted: October 20, 2017
from United States District Court for the Southern District
of Iowa - Davenport.
LOKEN, GRUENDER, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.
BENTON, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
a warrant, police officers entered Curlie M. Quarterman's
apartment and seized a gun from a holster on his waist. The
government charged him as a felon in possession of a firearm
in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). The district
court granted Quarterman's motion to suppress the gun and
derivative evidence. Having jurisdiction under 18 U.S.C.
§ 3731, this court reverses and remands.
a.m. on a Saturday, Carol Bak called 911. She said she was
helping her daughter, Christina Bak, move out of
Quarterman's apartment. He was Christina's boyfriend.
Carol Bak reported having been in a "heated" verbal
altercation with Quarterman. Quarterman "got in [her]
face" and "had a gun on his waist." After the
altercation, she left, leaving Christina Bak inside the
radioed a "domestic with a weapon involved" to
Sergeant Robert Jackson. He, with Deputy Peter Bawden and a
third officer, arrived outside the apartment building at 7:36
a.m. Carol Bak repeated what she said on the 911 call. She
also said Quarterman was "making [Christina] get
out" of his apartment.
7:38 a.m., concerned for the safety of Christina Bak,
Sergeant Jackson and Deputy Bawden went to the apartment.
Approaching, they heard voices in normal tones. They knocked;
Christina Bak answered. She said "Hello, " then
"Yeah, " and stepped back. Through the open door,
the officers saw packed bags and boxes, and a man (later
identified as Quarterman) sitting on the sofa. Sergeant
Jackson asked, "Can we step in?" Deputy Bawden then
saw Quarterman moving on the couch. He testified Quarterman
was "moving his hands quickly and kind of scooting over
or trying to stand up from the couch in a hurry . . . ."
He also testified it looked like Quarterman was reaching
toward the couch. Considering this "an indicator of
fight or flight, " he said, "No, no don't you
move fast." Christina Bak said, "What's wrong?
What's wrong?" The officers asked about the gun.
Christina Bak did not respond. Asked if he had a gun,
Quarterman said, "No." Sergeant Jackson announced,
"We are going to come in for a few minutes." He
entered the apartment, placing himself between Christina Bak
and Quarterman. Deputy Bawden moved just inside the doorway.
Jackson told Quarterman to keep his hands up, stand up, and
turn around. Quarterman stood up, beginning to turn his body.
Deputy Bawden testified he was "blading" his body,
standing as a boxer does, flat-footed with a shoulder pointed
toward an individual. The officers saw the handgun holstered
on his right side. Deputy Bawden testified he noticed the gun
when he saw Quarterman's right hand lowering toward his
waist. The officers ordered him against the wall, seizing the
gun. All of this, from the knock to seeing the gun, occurred
in about 35 seconds.
Jackson told Quarterman he would return the gun once they
were finished talking. Another deputy discovered it was
stolen. The officers arrested Quarterman.
moved to suppress the gun and derivative evidence. He argued
that the warrantless entry violated the Fourth Amendment. The
Government invoked exigent circumstances. The district court
granted the motion, concluding that the entry and search were
unconstitutional. The court found neither exigent
circumstances nor probable cause.
court reviews de novo the question whether exigent
circumstances justified warrantless entry or search.
United States v. ...