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Cartledge v. United States

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

September 25, 2014

CINQUAN CARTLEDGE, APPELLANT,
v.
UNITED STATES, APPELLEE

Submitted April 24, 2014.

Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. (CMD-21140-12). (Hon. Judith E. Retchin, Trial Judge).

Megan D. Allburn was on the brief for appellant.

Ronald C. Machen Jr., United States Attorney, and Elizabeth Trosman, Chrisellen R. Kolb, and Kristina L. Ament, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the brief for appellee.

Before GLICKMAN and BECKWITH, Associate Judges, and NEBEKER, Senior Judge.

OPINION

Glickman, Associate Judge:

Appellant Cinquan Cartledge was found guilty after a bench trial of one count of unlawful entry. On appeal, he attacks the legitimacy of the " Bar Notice" issued to him on September 23, 2012, which he was alleged to have violated on December 4, 2012. He contends that the Bar Notice was invalid because it rested solely on the police officers' mere suspicion of his involvement in criminal activity, as opposed to a higher standard of proof. In the alternative, appellant argues that his actions on September 23 warranted no more

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than a sixty-day bar that would have terminated prior to his arrest for unlawful entry on December 4. Because appellant failed to advance either of these possible defenses at trial, we review for plain error and affirm.

I.

According to the government's credited evidence at trial, on September 23, 2012, two officers of the Metropolitan Police Department responded to a call reporting a man with a gun in the apartment complex known as Vista Ridge/Forest Ridge Residential Properties (" Vista Ridge" ), a District of Columbia Housing Authority (" DCHA" ) property. The report described the gun-toting suspect as " a man wearing a stripey shirt, dark-complected with dreads, and blue jeans." While canvassing the complex, the police found a handgun in a vacant apartment close to where the suspect was reported to have been seen. The officers then saw appellant inside the complex and concluded that he matched the description of the suspect. They stopped appellant and discovered that he was unarmed. Appellant told the officers that he did not live at Vista Ridge.

The officers did not arrest appellant, but they issued him a Bar Notice that prohibited him from entering Vista Ridge for twelve months. The Bar Notice informed appellant that it was issued on account of his involvement " in illegal activities on Vista Ridge." The Bar Notice was read to appellant and he signed it.

On December 4, 2012, one of the officers who issued appellant's Bar Notice was dispatched to Vista Ridge in response to complaints about a dice game. Upon arriving at the complex, the officer saw several people, one of whom he recognized as appellant. Realizing that appellant was barred from Vista Ridge, the officer arrested him for unlawful entry.

At trial, the government called the two officers as witnesses. After the government closed its case, the defense moved for a judgment of acquittal on specific grounds. Appellant argued (1) that the evidence was insufficient to show he was actually inside the Vista Ridge complex on December 4, and (2) that the police lacked the authority to issue a Bar Notice on behalf of DCHA. The court rejected these arguments and denied appellant's motion. Appellant then testified in his defense that he was a resident of Vista Ridge (living with his mother in her apartment) and therefore immune from the District's Barring Policy. He further testified that the September 23 encounter described by the police did not in fact occur, and that he never signed a Bar Notice on that date. In finding appellant guilty, the trial court accepted that he might have been visiting his mother at Vista Ridge, but the court did not believe his testimony that he resided there or that he had not been issued the Bar Notice, and it ...


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