United States v. Howard, No. 11-1492 (1st Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Police received a tip that Howard, a suspected gang member with an outstanding arrest warrant for armed assault with intent to murder, was at a specific house. Officers knocked, announcing themselves as police, and demanded entry. The door was opened by Knowles, who lived with her son, a friend of Howard’s. Howard was spotted by officers in the yard, peering out a bathroom window. They found Howard in the basement. Once he was arrested, Knowles signed consent to search. In the bathroom where Howard had been spotted, officers found a cell phone containing pictures of Howard; a burning cigarette, with Howard's DNA; and, in the toilet tank, a loaded semiautomatic handgun and a bag of individually wrapped crack cocaine rocks. In the kitchen, officers discovered another bag of cocaine rocks and digital scales. After denial of a motion to suppress, Howard was convicted of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1), being a felon in possession of a firearm, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1), and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1)(A). He was sentenced to 13 years and three months. The First Circuit affirmed, rejecting challenges to the search, sufficiency of the evidence, and jury instructions.