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United States v. Hill

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

March 30, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee,
v.
DONALD T. HILL, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued: January 25, 2017

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Richmond. Robert E. Payne, Senior District Judge. (3:15-cr-00013-REP-1)

         ARGUED:

          Caroline Swift Platt, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Alexandria, Virginia, for Appellant.

          Stephen Eugene Anthony, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Richmond, Virginia, for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          Geremy C. Kamens, Federal Public Defender, Robert J. Wagner, Assistant Federal Public Defender, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Alexandria, Virginia, for Appellant.

          Dana J. Boente, United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Alexandria, Virginia, for Appellee.

          Before DUNCAN and KEENAN, Circuit Judges, and DAVIS, Senior Circuit Judge.

          BARBARA MILANO KEENAN, Circuit Judge

         Donald Hill pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). He appeals from the district court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence of statements he made during a traffic stop and of a firearm that was seized during the stop. Hill argues that the police officers' actions exceeded the lawful scope of the stop, and that the stop was prolonged unjustifiably beyond the time needed to execute the relevant tasks, violating his Fourth Amendment rights described in Rodriguez v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 1609 (2015).

         Upon our review, we conclude that the district court did not err in denying the suppression motion, because the traffic stop did not exceed the time reasonably required to complete the tasks incident to the mission of the stop. Accordingly, we affirm the district court's judgment.

         I.

         On October 20, 2014, Richmond City police officers Ryan Taylor and Jason McClendon were patrolling a neighborhood in Richmond in their police cruiser.[1] The officers saw a vehicle (the car) travelling at an estimated speed slightly exceeding the posted speed limit, and observed the car cross a yellow, double-solid line marker in the center of the roadway. After Officer Taylor activated the cruiser's emergency lights and siren, the car turned into a driveway of a residence. The officers parked their cruiser at the end of the driveway behind the car, and initiated a traffic stop about 6:01 p.m.

         The driver of the car, Jeremy Taylor (the driver), immediately stepped out of the car. The officers thought that the driver might be attempting to abscond from the scene, [2]but the driver complied when ordered by Officer McClendon to return to the car.

         As the officers approached the car, Officer Taylor recognized both occupants of the vehicle. Officer Taylor testified that he knew the driver as someone who had been "hanging with" individuals "connected with" robberies. Officer Taylor also recognized Hill, the passenger in the vehicle, from a prior traffic ...


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