United States v. Green, No. 19-2330 (7th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Green was visiting a friend at a Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) public housing unit. Hudson, a security guard employed by AGB, attempted to stop and search Green. Hudson subdued Green outside the CHA unit and recovered a handgun before calling the police Green, charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1), moved to suppress the gun. The district court held an evidentiary hearing, limiting the issue to whether Hudson had reasonable suspicion to justify the search. The court ruled there was no reasonable suspicion but denied Green’s motion to suppress, reasoning that Green failed to establish that the private security guard was a government agent. Green entered a conditional guilty plea.
The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Hudson was not a state actor who is subject to the Fourth Amendment. Illinois law expressly categorizes CHA’s police powers as distinct from its power to employ security personnel. The CHA-AGB contract labels AGB as an independent contractor to perform security services including ensuring unauthorized people do not enter and reporting incidents to the property manager.