Submitted: September 23, 2016
from United States District Court for the Southern District
of Iowa - Davenport
COLLOTON, MELLOY, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.
COLLOTON, Circuit Judge.
Wright entered a conditional plea of guilty to a drug
trafficking charge, reserving his right to appeal an order of
the district court denying his motion to suppress evidence
seized during and after a search of his vehicle. Wright has
not established a violation of his rights under the Fourth
Amendment, so we affirm.
charge against Wright arose from an investigation of one
Victor Brown by the Davenport, Iowa police department. In
December 2014, a confidential informant made a controlled
purchase of crack cocaine from Brown. A week later, on
December 11, the informant notified police that Brown and he
would be leaving for Chicago from Brown's residence at
seven o'clock that evening with an unknown black male
from Clinton, Iowa, to purchase crack cocaine. The informant
said that he was supposed to drive the unknown black
male's dark-colored sport utility vehicle with Clinton
County license plates. Police later identified the unknown
companion as Wright.
on the informant's report, officers conducted
surveillance near Brown's residence beginning at
approximately six o'clock. Shortly after 6:30 p.m.,
police saw a dark-colored SUV with Clinton County license
plates approach the home. Brown left the home and entered the
SUV. Officers followed the vehicle until it merged onto
eastbound Interstate 80 and then discontinued surveillance.
in Davenport reestablished surveillance of an area on
Brown's likely return route at 12:45 a.m. on December 12.
At approximately 1:30 a.m., officers observed the same
dark-colored SUV traveling south on Highway 61 and followed
it to Brown's residence. There, Brown and Wright exited
the vehicle, walked to the back, opened the rear doors, and
rummaged around for several minutes. Brown then entered his
residence for a short time; when he returned, both men got
back into the SUV. A few minutes later, Brown left the
vehicle with a duffel bag and reentered his residence. There
is no evidence that the confidential informant accompanied
Brown and Wright in the vehicle.
departed Brown's residence in the SUV. Officers followed
as Wright made two stops for fifteen to twenty minutes each,
without anyone entering or exiting the vehicle, and then
arrived at the parking lot of a multi-unit apartment complex.
Officers were familiar with the apartment complex from other
drug investigations at that address. After waiting for
several minutes, the surveillance officers asked a uniformed
officer to approach the SUV in a marked squad car and
identify the vehicle's occupants.
uniformed officer drove onto the property, positioned the
squad car behind Wright's SUV, and shined a spotlight
onto the back window. The officer and Wright exited their
respective vehicles, and a conversation ensued. Wright
identified himself and said that he was visiting his cousin.
The officer smelled burnt marijuana coming from Wright's
person. The officer then directed Wright to walk with another
officer away from the vehicle for questioning. Wright was
eventually placed in the back seat of a squad car.
uniformed officer then walked around the outside of the SUV,
observed a marijuana cigar on the front center console, and
smelled marijuana emanating from the vehicle. Several
officers searched the vehicle; they seized the marijuana
cigar from the console and approximately 113 grams of crack
cocaine from the glove compartment. Officers then placed
Wright under arrest.
jury charged Wright with possession with intent to distribute
cocaine base and conspiracy to distribute cocaine base, in
violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846. Wright
moved to suppress all evidence seized during the search of
his vehicle, any statements he made at the scene or while in
police custody, and any data obtained from his cellular
telephone. The court orally denied the motion, and Wright
entered a conditional plea to the conspiracy charge,
reserving his right to appeal the denial.
appeal, Wright argues that the police violated the Fourth
Amendment because they did not have probable cause to enter
the apartment complex's curtilage, reasonable suspicion
to detain him, or probable cause to search the vehicle. We
review the district court's legal conclusions de
novo and its factual findings for clear error.
United States v. Bearden, 780 F.3d 887, 892 (8th
Constitution forbids unreasonable searches and seizures, but
Fourth Amendment rights are personal rights and may not be
vicariously asserted. Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S.
128, 133-34 (1978). A person challenging the
constitutionality of a search must demonstrate a legitimate
expectation of privacy in the area searched-that is, he must
have a subjective ...