United States v. Wallace, No. 17-0472 (2d Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction of one count of possessing a firearm and ammunition after having been convicted of three serious drug offenses. The court held that the district court did not clearly err in denying defendant's motion to suppress the firearm, because the officers diligently pursued a means of investigation that was likely to confirm or dispel their suspicions quickly. In this case, although the officers did not observe any damage to the Public VIN, they did observe considerable damage to the VIN on the registration stickers. This factor, along with the undisputed signs of forced entry, the missing registration, and the driver's suspicious explanations for the condition of his car, gave rise to a reasonable suspicion that the car was stolen and that the theft was accomplished using a method specifically designed to evade detection by a Rugby, or similar, report.
Furthermore, the duration of the traffic stop was reasonable and consistent, and the district court did not clearly err in its factual findings, which were supported by evidence in the record and appropriately informed by the district court's credibility determinations. The court also held that the district court did not improperly sentence defendant under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), because defendant's prior convictions for attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree were serious drug offenses under the Act.