United States v. Cherry, No. 17-3018 (7th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Cherry drove into a Markham, Illinois parking lot to obtain cocaine that his supplier had just picked up at O’Hare airport. Unbeknownst to Cherry, his supplier had been arrested picking up the cocaine and was cooperating with DEA agents. Cherry was arrested mid‐deal and eventually sentenced to 240 months’ imprisonment. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting Cherry’s arguments that the agents lacked probable cause to arrest him and search his vehicle and failed to preserve exculpatory evidence. The informant did not have any history of cooperation but was not an anonymous tipster. He was implicating himself in a drug deal and was motivated to cooperate. Agents obtained significant detailed information that was corroborated as events unfolded. With respect to the car search, the court upheld a finding that the drugs were in plain view after Cherry opened the door while trying to flee. In any case, agents were entitled to open the door to conduct a limited protective sweep, so the drugs were admissible under the inevitable discovery doctrine. Regarding an officer’s sale of his personal camera, which had been used to photograph the evidence, the court noted that the defense never sought to inspect the camera or its metadata until long after the suppression hearing nor did Cherry ask the government to preserve the data. In any case, any debate about the order in which the photographs were taken and whether the bag was opened or closed was irrelevant.