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United States v. Gatson

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

January 15, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CHARLES GATSON, Defendant-Appellant

Argued December 4, 2014.

Page 406

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio at Cleveland. No. 1:13-cr-00313-1--Christopher A. Boyko, District Judge.

ARGUED: Matthew J. Cronin, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellee.

ON BRIEF: Paul F. Adamson, BURDON & MERLITTI, Akron, Ohio, for Appellant.

Laura McMullen Ford, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellee.

Before: BATCHELDER and KETHLEDGE, Circuit Judges; COLLIER, District Judge.[1]

OPINION

Page 407

KETHLEDGE, Circuit Judge.

A police officer found a pistol in Charles Gatson's car, which eventually led to his conviction for being both a felon in possession of a firearm and a misdemeanant with a domestic-violence conviction in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and (9), respectively. The district court sentenced Gatson to 180 months' imprisonment. Gatson now challenges the denial of his motion to suppress evidence of the pistol and his sentence, arguing as to the latter that the district court improperly designated him a career offender. We affirm.

I.

The district court accepted the following facts as true. On June 5, 2014, East Cleveland police officers Herbert Hupe and Shannon Cushman heard from dispatch that a school-bus driver named Byrd had reported that a man was approaching young girls. Byrd described the man as a black male with medium-toned skin and short hair, and said that he drove a black GMC SUV. Byrd also said the man was on Euclid Avenue--an east-west street on which the school-bus depot is located--and specifically that he was between Rally's, a fast-food restaurant one block west of the depot, and Eastham Avenue, which is a north-south cross-street just east of the depot.

Hupe and Cushman arrived within a minute, traveling east on Euclid. They drove past Rally's, where the parking lot was empty, and then past the bus depot, where a few adults stood outside. Moments later the officers turned into a parking lot for Walgreen's, which is located on Euclid about a block east of the bus depot. There they saw a dark grey GMC SUV with a black male with short hair and medium-brown skin sitting in the driver's seat. Rather than approach him, the officers drove back to the bus depot, where Cushman talked with Byrd while Hupe waited in the car. At that point, another police officer, Brandon Tisdale, drove up. Cushman told Hupe and Tisdale that their suspect was in the Walgreen's parking lot.

Hupe was back at Walgreens less than a minute later, followed by Tisdale in his cruiser. Their suspect--later identified as Gatson--still sat in his SUV. Hupe walked up to an open window on the passenger's side of the SUV and asked Gatson why he was at Walgreen's. Gatson said he was waiting for a friend. Then Tisdale walked up to the open driver's side window and likewise asked Gatson why he was there. Gatson said that he had just taken his kids to school. The officers noticed that Gatson's speech was slurred and his ...


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