Unpublished Disposition, 921 F.2d 281 (9th Cir. 1990)

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US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - 921 F.2d 281 (9th Cir. 1990)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,v.Desmond Dorian HILL, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 89-50455.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Submitted Oct. 30, 1990.Decided Dec. 19, 1990.



1. The district court did not err in refusing to suppress the bags of heroin Hill dropped as he stepped out of the car. The police made a valid traffic stop based on the inoperative lights on Hill's trailer. Given that the initial stop was valid, the "additional intrusion" of being asked to step out of the car was de minimis. Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106, 111 (1977) ("The police have already lawfully decided that the driver shall be briefly detained; the only question is whether he shall spend that period sitting in the driver's seat of his car or standing alongside it."); see also United States v. Tate, 795 F.2d 1487, 1492 (9th Cir. 1986).

2. The district court also did not err in enhancing Hill's sentence because a gun was found in a suitcase in the trunk of the car Hill used to transport the drugs. The applicable Sentencing Guideline provides:

The enhancement for weapon possession reflects the increased danger of violence when drug traffickers possess weapons. The adjustment should be applied if the weapon was present, unless it is clearly improbable that the weapon was connected with the offense. For example, the enhancement would not be applied if the defendant, arrested at his residence, had an unloaded hunting rifle in the closet.

Sentencing Guidelines Sec. 2D1.1(b) (1) application note 3 (emphasis added). That the gun was inaccessible at the time of arrest does not make it unconnected to the offense; there are many ways the gun could have been used later in the offense. See United States v. Heldberg, 907 F.2d 91, 94 (9th Cir. 1990). In Heldberg, we upheld an enhancement for a narcotics offender when a gun was found in the trunk of the car. See id. There is no principled way to distinguish Heldberg.



The panel unanimously finds this case suitable for decision without oral argument. Fed. R. App. P. 34(a); Circuit Rule 34-4. We therefore dismiss appellant's motion for expedited oral argument as moot


This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by 9th Cir.R. 36-3