United States v. Paige, No. 16-4128 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
A McDonald’s employee called 911 and stated that a vehicle had been sitting in the drive-through lane for an hour and that the driver might be sick. Fire and police units responded. When Officer Sheets-Walker arrived, she saw Paige standing outside the driver’s door of his vehicle, speaking with Fire Department Captain Hornick. Sheets-Walker detected an odor of marijuana coming from Paige. Hornick explained that he had found Paige asleep in the driver’s seat. Sheets-Walker continued to smell marijuana and planned to detain Paige temporarily. She suspected that Paige might have marijuana or a firearm because, in her experience, “drugs and guns are typically associated together.” Department policy dictated that an officer ensure that a person does not have drugs or a weapon before placing him in a police vehicle. Sheets-Walker patted Paige down and discovered a loaded firearm in his waistband. Sheets-Walker arrested him; she saw a bottle of alcohol on the driver’s seat.of Paige’s vehicle. She searched the vehicle and found a digital scale and clear sandwich bags containing 10.42 grams of crack cocaine and 9.24 grams of marijuana. Indicted for possession of a firearm by a felon and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and marijuana, Paige unsuccessfully moved to suppress the evidence. The Seventh Circuit affirmed; Sheets-Walker had probable cause to arrest Paige for possessing marijuana and for operating a vehicle while impaired and to believe that Paige’s vehicle contained evidence of criminal activity.