Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Dodds

June 24, 2009


Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. No. 06 CR 280-Charles N. Clevert, Jr., Judge.

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


Before BAUER, ROVNER and EVANS, Circuit Judges.

A jury convicted Brian Dodds, whose legal name is Horace Wilson, of unlawfully possessing a firearm in or affecting commerce following a felony conviction. See 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Dodds appeals, arguing that the district court erred in allowing the government to elicit testimony concerning his legal name and in permitting one of the officers who arrested him to recount the physical description given by an unidentified witness who had seen Dodds pointing a gun at people. Because neither evidentiary ruling was an abuse of discretion or a violation of his constitutional rights, we affirm Dodds' conviction.


At approximately 10:15 on the evening of November 10, 2005, Milwaukee's emergency services center received a 911 call reporting "shots fired" in the vicinity of 37th and Galena Streets. Police officer Timothy Koestering was among the police officers dispatched to that location to investigate. Seeing nothing upon his arrival, Koestering pulled his vehicle over and contacted the 911 caller to verify the report. Just after he finished that call, an unidentified person driving a red Dodge pulled alongside of Koestering's vehicle and told him that he had seen an African American male, wearing a black jacket and a black knit cap, pointing a gun at people two blocks away at the corner of 35th and Galena.

Koestering and his fellow officers proceeded at once to 35th and Galena. Officer James Williams and his partner, Officer Tony Knox, were among the first to arrive. As they pulled up, Williams saw a man matching the description given Koestering emerge from the gangway between two houses and walk into the Edge Sports Bar on the corner. Williams and Knox followed the man into the bar and asked him to step outside. They patted him down but did not discover a weapon on his person. When they asked the man to identify himself, he gave his name as Brian Dodds.

Koestering placed Dodds in the back of his squad car and then used the vehicle's computer interface to see if there were any outstanding warrants for Dodds. He found none.

Meanwhile, Officer Bradley Schlei was searching the gangway from which his colleagues had seen Dodds emerge. He found a Taurus.38-caliber revolver lying on the ground. The gun was left in place until it could be properly photographed by crime scene technicians. Schlei later recovered six spent bullet cartridges from inside of the gun.

After Schlei reported the discovery of the firearm to the other officers and while they were awaiting the arrival of the technicians, Jerry Watkins drove by and informed the officers that he had seen a man with a gun at 35th and Galena earlier that same evening while driving his friend Dawn Woods to work. Although Dodds was sitting in the back seat of Koestering's police car when Watkins spoke to the officers, Williams would later testify that Watkins was too far away from Koestering's vehicle for Watkins to have seen him in the darkness.

At that point Dodds was placed under arrest and taken to a police station. Koestering created a sequential photo array later that evening to show to Watkins and Woods. When they were shown the array early the next morning, Woods, but not Watkins, identified Dodds as the man who had pointed a gun at them. At trial, Woods thought that the weapon recovered from the gangway was the one she had seen Dodds carrying, although she could not be positive.

Dodds was subsequently indicted and tried on the charge that he had unlawfully possessed a firearm following a felony conviction. Watkins and Woods were among the witnesses for the government. Watkins testified that as they drove by the intersection of 35th and Galena en route to Woods' workplace, Dodds had approached their vehicle and shouted something at them. His curiosity piqued, Watkins circled the block and drove back to where Dodds was standing. Woods testified that when Watkins asked Dodds what was going on, Dodds briefly pointed a gun at Watkins. But then, according to Woods, Dodds backed off, put the gun into his pants pocket, and walked away. "I thought you was somebody else," Woods recalled Dodds remarking. R. 74 at 188.

Milwaukee Police Department ("MPD") document examiner Cole Stephens testified that he had examined a latent partial print recovered from the cylinder of the.38-caliber revolver that Schlei had discovered near the intersection of 35th and Galena. In Stephens' opinion, the print matched Dodds' right middle finger.

MPD latent print examiner Douglas Knueppel had compared a set of fingerprints taken from Dodds in connection with his November 2005 arrest with prints on file in Illinois under the name of Horace Wilson. He concluded that the prints ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.