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Hooks v. United States

Court of Appeals of The District of Columbia

August 30, 2018

Reginald W. Hooks, Appellant,
v.
United States, Appellee.

          Submitted May 8, 2018

          Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (CF2-20784-16) (Hon. Kimberley S. Knowles, Trial Judge)

          Donald L. Dworsky was on the brief for appellant.

          Jessie K. Liu, United States Attorney, and Elizabeth Trosman, Nicholas P. Coleman, Chrisellen R. Kolb, Jason B. Feldman, and Edward G. Burley, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the brief for appellee.

          Before Fisher, Beckwith, and McLeese, Associate Judges.

          Fisher, Associate Judge

         Appellant Reginald Hooks challenges his convictions for unlawful possession of a firearm ("UPF"), carrying a pistol without a license ("CPWL"), possession of an unregistered firearm ("UF"), and unlawful possession of ammunition ("UA"), claiming the evidence was insufficient. Relying on the recent decision of the District of Columbia Circuit in Wrenn v. District of Columbia, 864 F.3d 650 (2017), appellant further challenges his CPWL conviction on the ground that the statute under which he was prosecuted conflicts with the Second Amendment. We affirm.

         I. Background

         While on patrol during the evening of December 20, 2016, Metropolitan Police Department ("MPD") Officers Vaillancourt, Ashley, and Wright approached a group of four to six people in an alley adjoining the 1500 block of Kenilworth Avenue in Northeast D.C. When the officers began to approach, Vaillancourt noticed appellant walk away from them and toward a metal dumpster. Vaillancourt saw appellant "standing by the dumpster" when he heard "a loud clang of a metal object hitting another metal object on the side of the dumpster . . . and Mr. Hooks was pulling his arm away from the opening of the dumpster, the slide door there, and then immediately walked away back towards the direction he just came from." At no point that night did the officers see anyone other than appellant near the dumpster. Officer Wright then communicated to the other officers by code word that he saw a gun in the dumpster. Officer Vaillancourt looked "in the dumpster and . . . [saw] the gun[, ] without having to move or manipulate anything[, ] . . . sitting right on top of the trash."

          After passing the dumpster, appellant briskly walked away from the officers. When they pursued, appellant began running. After the officers caught up to and detained appellant, Officer Wright recovered from the dumpster a .357 magnum revolver loaded with six rounds of ammunition. After searching the dumpster, the officers found no other large or heavy metallic object.

         At trial, appellant stipulated that he had previously been convicted of a felony, did not have a valid license to carry a pistol at the time of his arrest, and did not have a valid registration certificate as required by law to possess a firearm.

         II. Discussion

         A. There Was Sufficient Evidence to Support Appellant's Convictions

         Mr. Hooks argues that the evidence was insufficient to show that he actually possessed the revolver and the ...


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