US v. Armond Wright, No. 13-4928 (4th Cir. 2014)

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UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 13-4928 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. ARMOND RASHAWN WRIGHT, Defendant - Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, at Charleston. Patrick Michael Duffy, Senior District Judge. (2:04-cr-00618-PMD-1) Submitted: October 31, 2014 Decided: November 26, 2014 Before NIEMEYER and SHEDD, Circuit Judges, and HAMILTON, Senior Circuit Judge. Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. J. Joseph Condon, Jr., North Charleston, South Carolina, for Appellant. William N. Nettles, United States Attorney, Sean Kittrell, Assistant United States Attorney, Charleston, South Carolina, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. PER CURIAM: Armond with intent to Rashawn Wright distribute pleaded marijuana, guilty 21 to possession § 841(a)(1), U.S.C. (b)(1)(D) (2012), and use of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(i) (2012), but reserved his right to appeal the district court’s denial of his motion to suppress the evidence seized during a traffic stop and his career offender designation. On lacked appeal, probable traveling. Wright cause to Finding no error, we affirm. first stop argues the that vehicle in the officers which he was This court reviews factual findings underlying a district court’s denial of a motion to suppress for clear error and legal conclusions de novo. F.3d 243, 246 (4th Cir. United States v. Foster, 634 2011). Because the district court denied the motion, we construe the evidence in the light most favorable to the Government, the party prevailing below, United States v. Black, 707 F.3d 531, 534 (4th Cir. 2013), and we “defer to the district court’s credibility findings.” States v. Griffin, 589 F.3d 148, 150 n.1 (4th United Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). The “decision to stop an automobile is reasonable when police have probable cause to believe that a traffic violation has occurred.” (1996). Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806, 810 Observation of any traffic violation, no matter how 2 minor, gives an officer probable cause to stop the vehicle. United States v. Hassan El, 5 F.3d 726, 731 (4th Cir. 1993). The district court here credited the officer’s testimony that the driver of the vehicle failed to signal a turn; thus the traffic stop was based on probable cause. See United States v. Kellam, 568 F.3d 125, 136 (4th Cir. 2009) (“[I]f an officer has probable cause or a reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle, there is no intrusion upon the Fourth Amendment.”). Wright next argues that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion that he was armed and protective frisk of his person. passenger may be required to dangerous to justify the During a traffic stop, the exit the vehicle without any indication that the passenger poses a risk to officer safety. Maryland v. Wilson, 519 U.S. 408, 413-15 (1997). if the officer has reasonable suspicion that Additionally, a passenger is armed or is engaged in criminal activity, the officer may pat down the passenger for weapons. Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 30 (1968); see United States v. Sakyi, 160 F.3d 164, 168-69 (4th Cir. 1998); United States v. Raymond, 152 F.3d 309, 312 (4th Cir. 1998). Based conclude that justified in on the the totality district conducting the court of the properly frisk. When circumstances, found Wright the we officer exited the vehicle, the officer immediately noticed that his pockets were 3 bulging. Observing in a suspect’s clothing a bulge that could be a weapon “reasonably warrants a belief that the suspect is potentially dangerous.” 137 (4th Cir. 1996). United States v. Baker, 78 F.3d 135, Here, in addition to the bulge, the officer had noticed heavy tint on the windows of the vehicle preventing the officer from seeing into the backseat, and had information, provided by an officer working in the narcotics division, that Wright was a known drug dealer. Accordingly, we conclude that the officer reasonably suspected that Wright could be armed and dangerous and thus the protective frisk was justified. Finally, Wright argues that his two prior convictions do not qualify as predicate felonies for career offender purposes because he did not serve any active prison sentence. Because Wright failed to challenge his career offender designation in the district court, this Court reviews this claim for plain error. United States v. Olano, 507 U.S. 725, 731-32 (1993); see United States v. Henderson, 133 S. Ct. 1121, 1126 (2013). We find no error, much less plain error, in Wright’s career offender designation. There is no requirement that an offender have served time for a prior felony conviction in order for it to qualify under the career offender Guideline. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 4B1.2 cmt. n.1 (2007). 4 See U.S. Because Wright’s prior offenses were punishable by more than a year of imprisonment, they were properly counted as predicate offenses. Accordingly, we affirm the district court’s judgment. We deny Wright’s motions to supplement the record and for leave to file pro se briefs. We dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the material before this court and argument will not aid the decisional process. AFFIRMED 5