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Davis v. United States

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

August 10, 2017

Carlos Davis, Appellant,
v.
United States, Appellee.

          Argued June 7, 2016

         Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (CF2-21764-13) (Hon. John McCabe, Trial Judge)

          Daniel S. Harawa, Public Defender Service, with whom James Klein and Jaclyn Frankfurt, Public Defender Service, were on the brief, for appellant.

          Ryan M. Malone, with whom Vincent H. Cohen, Jr., Acting United States Attorney at the time the brief was filed, and Elizabeth Trosman, Suzanne G. Curt, and Nebiyu Feleke, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the brief, for appellee.

          Before Glickman and Fisher, Associate Judges, and Ruiz, Senior Judge.

          FISHER, ASSOCIATE JUDGE.

         Appellant Carlos Davis claims the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for escape, arguing that he was not in the "lawful custody of an officer" when he ran away to avoid being handcuffed. We agree, and thus we reverse and remand.

         I. Background

         Around 12:30 a.m. on December 12, 2013, Officer Phillip McHugh and his partner were patrolling in their marked police car when they spotted appellant, who appeared to be urinating against a dumpster near the intersection of Florida Avenue and Trinidad Avenue, N.E. Officer McHugh stopped the car and turned on its flashing lights and spotlight, exited the vehicle, and approached appellant. Appellant turned to face the officer, with his jeans still "unbuttoned and flapped open." Officer McHugh told appellant to button his pants "and then to put his hands on the railing" "in front of" an adjacent market. He did not announce that appellant was under arrest.

         McHugh testified that he then "walked behind" appellant and

with my left hand, grabbed the back of his pants, his belt and his pants[, ] to hold onto him. I then unsnapped my handcuff case on my duty belt and began removing the handcuffs with the intention of arresting Mr. Davis for urinating in public. When I told Mr. Davis to put his hands behind his back, he did not comply. Instead, he turned around, shoved me[, ] and then took off running.

         After a chase, appellant was arrested.

         At the ensuing trial, the jury was instructed: "A Defendant is under lawful custody when he is physically restrained by an officer pursuant to a lawful arrest or when he submits to a lawful arrest. To escape means to knowingly or deliberately leave physical confinement without permission." The jury convicted appellant of escape from the custody of an officer and other offenses not challenged on appeal.

         II.Analy ...


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