United States v. Welch, No. 18-3530 (8th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for illegal gun possession. The court held that, under the totality of the circumstances, the police officers had probable cause to arrest defendant. Furthermore, defendant's age, intelligence, sobriety, and experience with the criminal justice system, coupled with his Miranda warning, supported a finding that he voluntarily consented to a cheek swab for a DNA sample. Therefore, the district court properly denied defendant's motion to suppress the DNA evidence.
The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting evidence of the synthetic marijuana evidence, because it made it more likely that defendant knew of and possessed the firearm. Finally, the court rejected defendant's argument under Rehaif v. United States, 139 S. Ct. 2191 (2019), and held that it was not reasonably probable that, if the government had to prove defendant's knowledge of a previous conviction for "a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year," he would have been acquitted.