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Hawkins v. United States

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

April 9, 2015

MICHAEL A. HAWKINS, APPELLANT,
v.
UNITED STATES, APPELLEE

Submitted: October 14, 2014.

Page 217

Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. (CMD-9871-12). (Hon. Patricia A. Broderick, Trial Judge).

Howard Margulies was on the brief for appellant.

Ronald C. Machen Jr., United States Attorney at the time the brief was filed, and Elizabeth Trosman, Chrisellen R. Kolb, and Sharon A. Sprague, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the brief for appellee.

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

OPINION

Page 218

Nebeker, Senior Judge:

Appellant Michael A. Hawkins appeals his convictions at a bench trial of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and a related offense. On appeal, appellant argues that the trial court made two errors. First, that the trial court erroneously ruled that the Deputy U.S. Marshal's entry into the vehicle with a running engine was reasonable. Second, that the trial court abused its discretion by not requiring the government to identify the specific documents relied upon by its expert witness who testified to appellant's intent to distribute. We affirm.

I.

On June 7, 2012, two Deputy U.S. Marshals, Deputy Monsalvo and Deputy Kolosky, conducted surveillance related to a fugitive warrant issued for appellant. A vehicle driven by appellant, a tan Pontiac Montana with Maryland plates, was

Page 219

parked in the parking lot of an apartment complex. The vehicle was backed into its parking space. The vehicle was registered to Mercedes Young. Someone with the U.S. Marshals had Ms. Young's phone number, but it is unclear when the U.S. Marshals contacted Ms. Young. The two Marshals sat in separate cars outside of the apartment building and communicated via cell phone.

Deputy Kolosky informed Deputy Monsalvo that someone with a red backpack matching the description of appellant walked out of the apartment building. Deputy Monsalvo confirmed that the individual carrying the red backpack was appellant. Appellant entered the driver's side door of the Pontiac, placed the backpack on the front passenger seat, and started the vehicle. Appellant then exited the vehicle and walked toward its rear. Both Marshals drove their vehicles in front of the Pontiac to block it in the parking space. Deputy Monsalvo arrested appellant.

The Marshals directed appellant to walk toward the front of the vehicle and sit on the ground. Deputy Kolosky then entered the driver's side door of the vehicle to turn it off. It is unclear whether the driver's side door was open. When inside the vehicle, Deputy Kolosky informed Deputy Monsalvo that there was a strong smell of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle. Deputy Monsalvo then opened appellant's passenger's side door and smelled strong marijuana " right directly in front of. . . ." him. Deputy Monsalvo then picked up the red backpack, placed it on the hood of the vehicle, and opened it. The smell became even stronger. Inside the backpack, Deputy Monsalvo found a tin can which contained " several baggies with a green-like substance and small pills and various empty Ziploc baggies along with a digital scale and a grinder." Deputy Kolosky then turned the car off and removed the keys.

Appellant was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana (Count I), possession of ecstasy (Count II), and possession of drug paraphernalia (Count III). On October 17, 2012, appellant filed a Motion to Suppress Tangible Evidence on the theory that the Marshal's entry into appellant's vehicle violated the Fourth Amendment. The trial court held an evidentiary hearing on May 21, 2013, and heard testimony from Deputy Monsalvo, Deputy Kolosky, and a witness. The trial court found that the exigency created by the running ...


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