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Brock v. United States

July 22, 2009


Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. No. 07 C 632-Larry J. McKinney, Judge.

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


Before BAUER, FLAUM and WOOD, Circuit Judges.

After police searched two of his residences, David C. Brock was convicted of possessing, with the intent to distribute, methamphetamine and cocaine, and of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Several years later, Brock brought a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, claiming to have located a previously unavailable witness, Reginald Godsey, who was prepared to testify that the officers coerced him into consenting to a search of the house he and Brock shared. Therefore, Brock claims, the search was non-consensual and violated his Fourth Amendment rights, and the evidence found in that house must be suppressed, with his sentence vacated or reduced accordingly. The district court denied Brock's motion-a decision we affirm.


On April 9, 2002, federal and state law enforcement officers executed a federal search warrant for firearms at Brock's residence, located at 3375 N. Payton Avenue in Indianapolis. The search revealed approximately three pounds of methamphetamine, two pounds of cocaine, one-quarter pound of marijuana, fourteen guns, ammunition, and $35,000 in cash. The officers also found utility bills indicating that Brock paid for at least some of the utilities at 3381 N. Payton Avenue, the house immediately next door, since February 2001. Officer Miller, one of the officers executing the warrant, had training and experience enough to know that drug dealers commonly maintain stash houses to avoid storing all of their inventory in one location.

Brock was not home at 3375 N. Payton when the search was conducted. The officers found Godsey instead. According to the officers, Godsey informed them that he and Brock each rented a room next door at 3381 N. Payton. Godsey stated that Brock used 3381 N. Payton as a stash house for drugs and that Brock kept a safe in his bedroom that currently contained several pounds of methamphetamine. Godsey watched both houses for Brock. Godsey consented to a search of his bedroom in 3381 N. Payton and gave the officers a key to the house. The officers found a shotgun in plain view in a common area of the house and some drugs in Godsey's bedroom as well as papers linking Brock to 3381 N. Payton. Also from a common area, a police narcotics dog alerted to the southwest section of the house.

Based on all this information, a state search warrant was obtained and executed for 3381 N. Payton, still on April 2, 2002. A search of Brock's bedroom uncovered twelve pounds of methamphetamine, eight ounces of cocaine, seven guns, and ammunition. Brock was indicted and convicted on six counts: three for the methamphetamine, cocaine, and firearms found at 3375 N. Payton and three for the methamphetamine, cocaine, and firearms found at 3381 N. Payton. We affirmed the convictions. United States v. Brock, 417 F.3d 692 (7th Cir. 2005); United States v. Brock, 433 F.3d 931 (7th Cir. 2006).

In November 2006, more than three years after Brock was convicted, Brock's family located Godsey, whose location was previously unknown to the government or Brock. Godsey signed a declaration that he only consented to the search of 3381 N. Payton because the officers held a gun to his head and threatened him with sixty years in prison. Brock then brought this § 2255 motion, which the district court denied.


Brock's fundamental argument on appeal is that the newly discovered and previously unavailable evidence requires, at a minimum, an evidentiary hearing to determine whether Godsey's consent was coerced. If it was, Brock claims, the search of 3381 N. Payton violated Brock's Fourth Amendment rights and the evidence found therein must be suppressed. Brock contends that the Supreme Court's limitation on the exclusionary rule in collateral attacks, described in Stone v. Powell, 428 U.S. 465 (1976), does not apply. The government responds that Brock's claim is barred by Stone, was procedurally defaulted, and is irrelevant because the search of 3381 N. Payton was proper under the independent source doctrine.

"We review the district court's conclusions of law de novo and its denial of a motion for an evidentiary hearing for abuse of discretion." Almonacid v. United States, 476 F.3d 518, 520-21 (7th Cir. 2000).

A. Limits to the Exclusionary Rule

Brock claims that Stone does not apply to § 2255 motions because Stone addressed collateral petitions by state prisoners under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 while § 2255 is for federal prisoners. He also argues that he has been denied "an opportunity for full and fair litigation of [his] Fourth Amendment claim," the prerequisite to the Stone bar. Stone, 428 U.S. at 494. The government argues that Stone is equally applicable to federal and state ...

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