United States v. Pace, No. 21-2151 (7th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Officer Crowder observed an SUV outside a closed business. Pace exited that vehicle. sta5int that he was lost and needed directions to Johns's house. Crowder knew of Johns's past methamphetamine use and had received complaints from Johns’s neighbors about traffic at her home. Crowder activated his emergency lights, and parked directly behind Pace’s SUV; nothing obstructed Pace’s ability to drive away. Shining his flashlight inside the SUV, Crowder did not see weapons or contraband but did see multiple musical instrument cases. Pace walked around his SUV and attempted to get one of the instruments. Pace’s behavior struck Crowder as odd and overly friendly, yet nervous. Dispatch confirmed that Pace’s license was clear and that he had no outstanding warrants but he had a history of drug possession including methamphetamine, narcotic instruments, and drug paraphernalia. Pace denied that he had weapons but declined to consent to a vehicle search. Crowder explained that Pace was not under arrest, but that he was going to place him in restraints during a canine sniff. After the dog indicated the presence of drugs in the SUV. Crowder searched the SUV and found methamphetamine and cannabis. Pace unsuccessfully moved to suppress the evidence.
The Seventh Circuit affirmed that ruling, a 60-month sentence, and a finding that Pace was not eligible for relief from the five-year statutory minimum sentence under the “safety valve” provision of 18 U.S.C. 3553(f). The search was based on reasonable suspicion.