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United States v. Langford

December 31, 2002

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
CHRISTOPHER T. LANGFORD, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. No. 1:01CR00050-001--John Daniel Tinder, Judge.

Before Posner, Easterbrook, and Manion, Circuit Judges.

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

ARGUED AUGUST 6, 2002

The only question raised by this criminal appeal is the lawfulness of the search that discovered the gun that led to the defendant's conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The search is challenged both as unsupported by probable cause and as executed without due warning to the residents (including the defendant) of the house that was searched.

The search was based on a warrant issued by a state judge. The police officer's affidavit submitted in support of the application for the warrant identified the house and reported that two unidentified informants had reported that one of the residents (not Langford) was dealing drugs from it. A lawful search of the garbage from the house turned up evidence of marijuana use, though not in such a quantity as to show that the defendant or any other residents were actually dealers rather than merely consumers. The garbage contained correspondence of Langford, but the affidavit did not mention it. Also found in the garbage was what the affidavit described as a "drug ledger," consisting of a sheet of paper with the following written on it:

Mike 500 Bills 300 Tyla 300 PEE 150 Jermery 100 Room 125

$1475

3400

$4875

The right-hand column differs from the left only in the addition of $850 apparently left out of the left-hand column by accident (the figure "11" doubtless just indicates the steps in adding 850 to 1475 of carrying 1000 from the hundreds column, where 800 is added to 1400, to the thousands column, where 1 becomes 2 as a result of the carrying). Confining ourselves therefore to the left-hand column, the only sense we can make of it is of a list of amounts received from or owed to several people (although "Bills" might refer to expenses or receivables, "Room" might refer to rent owing or owed--several unrelated persons were living in the house--and "PEE" might be an abbreviation for some category of expenses or receipts), which are added up and then for unknown reasons increased by $3400.

11

1475

232 ...


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