United States v. Lewis, No. 21-838 (2d Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
Defendant was found guilty of gun possession in furtherance of drug trafficking and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Defendant appealed, arguing that evidence regarding a firearm and marijuana should have been suppressed because the warrant pursuant to which the search of his second-floor apartment in a triplex was conducted did not authorize a search of the shared back porch where this evidence was found. He also challenged the sufficiency of the government’s evidence of his possession in furtherance of drug trafficking and the application of a sentencing enhancement for obstruction of justice.
The Second Circuit affirmed. The court explained that as to the suppression issue, although the court rejects any categorical rule that the Fourth Amendment always allows warrantless searches of all shared areas in multi-unit buildings, the court affirmed the district court’s denial of Defendant’s motion because he failed to carry his burden to show that his Fourth Amendment rights extended to the shared back porch of the triplex where he lived. Because the court also concluded the evidence was sufficient to convict him of possession of a firearm in furtherance of marijuana trafficking, and the application of the obstruction enhancement was appropriate, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.