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United States V. Curlin

In: Other Topics

Submitted By wusafghan
Words 682
Pages 3
Title
UNITED STATES V. CURLIN
Citation
U.S. App. LEXIS 8426 (7th Cir. 2011 Unpub.) UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, V. Marcus CURLIN, Appellant No. 10-3033

History
Marcus CURLIN was ordered by the Small Claims Court judge to vacate the property due to failure to pay rent. At the time of the eviction the deputies observed firearms in the house and Curlin was charged with possession of firearms due to earlier felony convictions which bar him from owning firearms. The defendant attempted to suppress the evidence on the plain-view doctrine and the violation of privacy, under the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, as the deputies entered his premises without a search warrant. The Seventh Circuit Court affirmed the decision of the trial court by denying the motion to suppress.

Facts
On October 17th, 2008, Curlin’s landlord filed a small claim action against Curlin, seeking possession of Curlin’s leased residence for failure to pay rent. The Notice of the Claim for possession of Real Estate and Summons were served on Curlin by mail and by delivery to his residence, however Curlin failed to appear before the Court as ordered. Due to Curlin’s failure to appear, he was the served with a second notice to appear before Court on the next date but he again failed to appear. Small claim court entered a judgment in favor of landlord.
The clerk of the court based on the order issued an eviction order, ordering Curlin to vacate the property on or before 6:00 p.m. on Nov. 17, 2008. The order also authorized “any Constable of Marion County” to remove Curlin from the property and give the possession to landlord and also to sell Curlin’s non-exempt property to satisfy restitution order. The constables twice attempted to personally serve the Writ on Curlin first on Nov. 15, 2008, and then on Nov. 24th 2008, but were unable to do so and they left the Writ at the door. On December 2nd, 2008 Constable Bob Walden with assistance from Sheriff’s Dept. executed the writ. Prior to that the Sheriff’s Department had ran a criminal background check on Curlin and found out that he had two prior felony convictions. At the execution of writ constable Walden knocked at the door and announced the purpose of his visit. When Curlin answered the door, he was secured and then a safety sweep was conducted, during which the deputies recovered a 12-guage shotgun, a SKS rifle on the shelf of the master bedroom and because they already knew that Curlin was a convicted felon they procedded with reading him his miranda rights and arresting him. Curlin then informed the deputies of a 38 revolver, which the police seized.
Curlin was indicted on federal weapons violations and he filed motion to suppress.

Opinion
The Court held that Curlin had no right to be in the home, as the trial judge had ordered for his eviction by November 17th 2008. Additionally Curlin was twice given notice of eviction when the deputies left copies of the order at his residence. The date of incident is December 2nd 2008, which is two weeks after he was supposed to have left. Accordingly, since Curlin had no right to be in the home therefore he did not possess a reasonable or legitimate expectation of privacy in the residence, accordingly the Fourth Amendment protection cannot be extended to Curlin.
The Court also considered the alleged warrantless seizure of Curlin firearms under the plain view doctrine and held that Curlin had no Fourth Amendment protection where such a defense can be raised. The deputies in the case entered the premises based on the eviction order which does not require a warrant. The deputies knew that Curlin is a convicted felon, which bar him from owning a weapon and any weapon in his possession is therefore bound to be illegal. Moreover the Writ of possession authorized the deputies to take possession of Curlin’s belongings which therefore allowed them to take possession of the weapons.

Judge(s)
EASTERBROOK, Chief Judge,
FLAUM, Circuit Judge
ROVNER, Circuit Judge.…...

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