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United States v. Givens

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 15, 2014

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Gregory Latrell Givens, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted April 18, 2014.

Appeal from United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa - Cedar Rapids.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Teresa Baumann, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Martin Joseph McLaughlin, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Daniel C. Tvedt, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Lisa C. Williams, U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, IA.

Gregory Latrell Givens, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Terre Haute, IN.

For Gregory Latrell Givens, Defendant - Appellant: Cory Jon Goldensoph, Cedar Rapids, IA.

Before WOLLMAN, BYE, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 988

SHEPHERD, Circuit Judge.

A jury found Gregory Latrell Givens guilty of being a felon in possession of ammunition in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and possessing with the intent to distribute crack cocaine after having been previously convicted of one or more felony drug offenses in violation of 21 U.S.C. § § 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(C) and 851. Prior to trial, Givens filed a motion to suppress the evidence obtained during a traffic stop of his vehicle on October 7, 2010 and the evidence obtained during a search of his apartment on December 21, 2010. The district court[1] denied the motion, and Givens appeals. We affirm the denial of the motion to suppress.

I.

The following facts were found by the magistrate judge and adopted by the district court. Unless we find the district court clearly erred in its factual determinations based on our review of the record as a whole, " 'we are bound by the district court's findings of fact'" as it relates to the stop in question. United States v. Ellis, 501 F.3d 958, 961 (8th Cir. 2007) (quoting United States v. Rowland, 341 F.3d 774, 778 (8th Cir. 2003)).

While stopped at a stop sign at approximately 2:00 a.m. on October 7, 2010, Officer Nathan Baughan of the Cedar Rapids Police Department observed a vehicle driven by Givens pass in front of him that did not have registration plates. Officer Baughan turned to follow the vehicle and saw what appeared to be a temporary paper registration card in the rear window, but he could not read it due to the angle of the window and the darkness of the night.[2] Officer Baughan testified that he had previous experiences with temporary paper registration cards that were fraudulently issued, altered, or out of date. Officer Baughan further testified that there were other occasions where he could read a temporary paper registration card at night. Due to the vehicle's lack of any registration plate, front or back, and his inability to determine whether the paper affixed to the window was a valid temporary registration card, Officer Baughan decided to stop the vehicle and investigate. After exiting his vehicle and upon reaching

Page 989

the rear windshield, he determined that the paper in the window was a valid temporary registration card. However, by that time, he smelled the odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle. Officer Baughan then searched the car ...


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