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United States v. Jackson

August 07, 2002

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JOSEPH JACKSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. No. 2:00 CR 195--Rudy Lozano, Judge.

Before Bauer, Ripple and Kanne, Circuit Judges.

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

ARGUED JUNE 3, 2002

Appellant Joseph Jackson was convicted on two counts of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), one count of carrying a firearm in connection with drug trafficking, 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Jackson was sentenced to 138 months imprisonment. He appeals his conviction and sentence, arguing: (1) the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained in a search; (2) there was insufficient evidence to sustain a conviction under section 924(c); (3) the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress his Miranda waiver and post-arrest statement; and (4) the district court erred in enhancing his sentence for obstruction of justice, pursuant to section 3C1.1 of the Sentencing Guidelines. Because we find Jackson's arguments without merit, we affirm.

BACKGROUND

On March 29, 2000, at 12:45 a.m., two Gary Police officers, including Officer Eakins, were patrolling along Route 20, near Highway 51, in Gary, Indiana. Officer Eakins regularly patrolled this area and was aware that truck drivers often park in the area at night. Officer Eakins also knew this location was routinely used for the sale of drugs and the provision of prostitution services.

The officers observed a car turn into a restaurant parking lot without signaling. They stopped the car and found Joseph Jackson in the front passenger seat. In the car, the officers also found a firearm and a small plastic bag containing a white, rock-like substance that tested positive for cocaine. Jackson had no permit for the firearm and was a convicted felon. Jackson and the driver were arrested. On June 20, 2000, at 12:30 a.m., Officer Eakins was patrolling the same area when he observed a car driving around the same restaurant parking lot. The car pulled alongside several trucks in the lot and sat next to each truck for a short period of time before moving on to the next truck. Based on Officer Eakins' experience, he believed this pattern was consistent with either prostitution or the selling of narcotics. When the officer stopped the car, he again found Jackson in the passenger seat and the same individual in the driver's seat. He also found cocaine, packaged in 13 individual baggies, under Jackson's foot. Both individuals were arrested.

On November 3, 2000, at 4:02 a.m., again patrolling the same area, Officer Eakins observed someone walking in the middle of the right lane on Route 20, a four-lane highway. Concerned for the safety of this person, as well as drivers on the highway, the officer stopped the pedestrian and immediately recognized him as Jackson.

Officer Eakins and another officer told Jackson that he was in violation of the law for obstructing traffic. They conducted a pat-down search and found a loaded .22 caliber revolver with an approximately 6-inch barrel in Jackson's waistband. Jackson was arrested and searched. A clear plastic bag, containing 26 small baggies, each of which held a white-rock substance, later determined to be cocaine, was found on his person.

On November 6, 2000, Gary police officers interviewed Jackson. He admitted to possessing crack cocaine on November 3, 2000, and he explained that he had purchased dime bags of the drug from his cousin and intended to sell them at truck stops along Route 20 to truck drivers. He also admitted to possessing a firearm at the time of his arrest.

Prior to trial, Jackson filed a motion to suppress the firearm and drugs seized on November 3, 2000. Jackson also moved to suppress the statement he gave to law enforcement officers on November 6, 2000, arguing that this statement was obtained in violation of Miranda v. Arizona. After separate evidentiary hearings, the district court denied both motions.

Jackson was tried by a jury and convicted on 4 counts: two counts of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), one count of carrying a firearm in connection with drug trafficking, 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). At sentencing, the district court enhanced Jackson's sentence for obstruction of justice, based on its finding that Jackson falsely testified at the suppression hearing. Jackson was sentenced to serve 138 months imprisonment. This appeal followed.

ANALYSIS

A. Motion to Suppress ...


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