United States v. Beard, No. 20-20116 (5th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress drugs found in a package he mailed via the United States Postal Service from Houston, Texas, to Hammond, Louisiana. Defendant argued that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated, and an unlawful seizure occurred, when the package was rerouted back to Houston, which took five days, before law enforcement took further investigative steps to confirm their suspicion. However, the court agreed with the district court that the U.S. Marshal's choice to reroute the package back to Houston was reasonable and prudent under the facts of this case. The court also agreed that the five days the package was in transit from Hammond back to Houston, as well as the two days it took to obtain the warrant after the package returned to Houston, were not unreasonably long under the circumstances. In this case, the package had extensive connections to Houston and the U.S. Marshal requested that the package be rerouted to Houston because he believed that there was no difference in the time it would take to obtain a warrant in Houston versus Hammond.