United States v. Jones, No. 21-3910 (6th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Warren, Ohio, police officers responded to a call about an unknown disturbance at a gas station in the early morning hours. They found Jones playing loud music from his SUV in the parking lot. Jones turned off the music. While the officers drove around the building to investigate, Jones drove away. Officers followed Jones, pulled him over, and told him that they had stopped him for a noise ordinance violation. The officers then smelled marijuana and searched the car, finding hidden compartments containing two firearms, drugs, and drug paraphernalia. The district court denied Jones’s motion to suppress. Jones was convicted on four gun-and-drug-related counts.
The Sixth Circuit affirmed. The stop of Jones’s car was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment permits officers to warrantlessly arrest—to seize—a person if the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect has committed a misdemeanor in his presence. The search of Jones’s SUV revealed loaded firearms in close proximity to drugs, plastic baggies, and a digital scale; sufficient evidence supports the conviction for possessing the firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking. The court rejected an argument that nine comments made by the prosecutor in his closing argument amounted to prosecutorial misconduct.