Anthony D. Hooks, Appellant
United States, Appellee.
February 14, 2019
from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia
(CF2-6952-17)(Hon. Danya A. Dayson, Trial Judge)
Christine Pembroke for appellant.
Forde, Assistant United States Attorney, for appellee.
K. Liu, United States Attorney, and Elizabeth Trosman, John
P. Mannarino, Gauri Gopal, Puja Bhatia, and Maryam L.
Adeyola, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the brief
Thompson, Easterly, and McLeese, Associate Judges.
EASTERLY, ASSOCIATE JUDGE
Hooks appeals from his convictions, following a jury trial,
for felon in possession of a weapon and related
offenses.He argues that the trial court should have
granted his motion to suppress the contraband found on his
person because the police violated his rights under the
Fourth Amendment when they seized and searched him. We agree
Facts and Procedural History
Sunday afternoon in April 2017, Mr. Hooks attended a barbeque
outside the home of his friend, Latisha Toney, on Congress
Street Southeast. As the setting is relevant to the legal
issues presented, we describe it in some detail. Ms.
Toney's residence is the end unit of a set of townhouses.
From the street, her neighbors' houses are to the left,
and a grassy yard surrounded by a metal fence is to the
right. Whereas all her neighbors' front doors face
Congress Street, Ms. Toney's front door faces the
enclosed yard. To reach Ms. Toney's home and the yard
from the street, a visitor must climb six steps from the
sidewalk and walk down a concrete path. The path is lined on
either side by fencing that opens up on the left to give
access to another set of steps up to Ms. Toney's front
door, and on the right to give access to the
eaten some hot dogs and hamburgers, Mr. Hooks was sitting in
a folding lawn chair on this concrete path. The other guests,
a handful of adults and at least one child, were in the
enclosed yard. Around 5:00 p.m., four police officers in the
Narcotics Special Investigation Division drove past in an
unmarked police car. According to the undisputed testimony of
Ms. Toney, the police car stopped a few houses past her yard
and then reversed back towards her home. Officer Dominique
Tyson and three other members of his team, Officers Travis
Collins, Brock Vigil, and Sean Hodges, all armed and in
uniform, exited the vehicle. With Officer Tyson in the lead,
the four proceeded up the steps from the sidewalk onto the
concrete pathway between Ms. Toney's house and the
enclosed yard, and headed straight for Mr. Hooks in his lawn
Tyson instructed Mr. Hooks to "get
up." At the suppression hearing, Officer Tyson
acknowledged he intended these two words as a command:
Q. [T]here was no question that he was going to get up?
A. Yes, he was going to have to move.
Q. He was going to have to move?
Q. Okay. And, if he hadn't moved, you would have snatched
him; right? You would have helped him move?
A. He would have got help, yes.
response to Officer Tyson's instruction, Mr. Hooks
immediately stood up. During this encounter, Officer Tyson
observed a bag of marijuana sticking out of Mr. Hooks's
coat pocket. Based on Mr. Hooks's admission that he
was carrying a little more than two ounces of marijuana,
police handcuffed Mr. Hooks, and in a search incident to
arrest recovered a handgun.
to trial, Mr. Hooks moved to suppress all tangible items
seized by the police as fruits of an illegal seizure and
search. After a hearing, the trial court denied the motion.
The court agreed that the government had proved that either
(1) Mr. Hooks had not been seized when the police commanded
him to stand up and he complied, or (2) pursuant to Terry
v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), the police had reasonable
articulable suspicion to briefly stop Mr. Hooks because, by
virtue of where he was sitting in his lawn chair, he was
violating D.C. Code § 22-1307 (2013 Supp.) by
"obstructing [a] walkway."