United States v. Angela Garges, No. 20-3687 (8th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Defendant entered a conditional guilty plea to a charge of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. She reserved her right to appeal an order of the district court denying her motion to suppress evidence that police seized after conducting a protective sweep of a hotel room in which she was staying. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(a)(2).
The Eighth Circuit affirmed, concluding that the officers permissibly entered and searched the hotel room. On appeal, Defendant argues that the district court erred in denying the motion to suppress because the police lacked specific and articulable facts suggesting that a person posing a danger to the officers was located inside the hotel room. She maintains that the officers violated her rights under the Fourth Amendment by entering the hotel room without a warrant and that all evidence seized as a result of the entry should be suppressed.
The court explained that a protective sweep of the hotel room was justified here as an inspection of spaces immediately adjoining the place of arrest from which an attack could be immediately launched. It is undisputed that officers were positioned in the doorway to effect the arrest, and that police crossed the threshold into the room under the authority of the warrant. Accordingly, the court held that the officers observed evidence of unlawful drug activity in plain view while conducting the protective sweep did not violate Defendant’s rights under the Fourth Amendment.
Court Description: [Colloton, Author, with Wollman and Kobes, Circuit Judges] Criminal case - Criminal law. A protective sweep of defendant's hotel room was justified as an inspection of spaces immediately adjoining the place of her companion's arrest from which an attack could be immediately launched; that officers observed evidence of unlawful drug activity in plain view while conducting the sweep did not violate defendant's Fourth Amendment rights.