Submitted November 11, 2014
Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas - Little Rock.
For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Kristin Huntington Bryant, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Jana K. Harris, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Cameron Charles McCree, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Eastern District of Arkansas, Little Rock, AR.
For Broderick Patrick, Defendant - Appellant: Sara F. Merritt, SHERWOOD & MERRITT, North Little Rock, AR.
Broderick Patrick, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Oklahoma City, OK.
Before RILEY, Chief Judge, BEAM and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.
RILEY, Chief Judge.
Based initially on the mistaken belief that Broderick Patrick was the suspect in their case with the same first name, police stopped Patrick in his car and, upon searching the car, found several packages of marijuana and fake cocaine in his possession. Having since been convicted of possessing marijuana with intent to distribute, see 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(D), Patrick appeals the district court's order denying his motion to suppress all evidence seized during the stop, contending law enforcement unreasonably mistook his identity in believing him to be the felon they were seeking. Because we agree with the district court that the officers' actions were well within constitutional limits, we affirm.
In 2012, police in Little Rock, Arkansas, had DNA evidence suggesting Brodrick Barefield unlawfully possessed a firearm and engaged in a gunfight. When the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives " adopted" Barefield's case from the Little Rock Police Department, Special Agent David Oliver obtained a federal criminal complaint and arrest warrant for Barefield and attempted to locate him. Barefield's case file contained his driver's license photo, showing Barefield with braided hair.
Unable to locate Barefield at his last known address, Agent Oliver contacted several informants on July 3, 2012, seeking information on Barefield. That same day, Agent Oliver received a call from a confidential informant who purported to know Barefield's whereabouts. At Agent Oliver's request, the informant arranged a meeting that evening in a McDonald's parking lot with the person he claimed was Barefield. The informant reported Barefield would arrive in a gold Oldsmobile with a dented passenger-side door and would have a plastic water bottle containing drugs.
Agent Oliver and Special Agent Warren Newman established surveillance across the street from the McDonald's lot--about 100 yards from the meeting place--while North Little Rock Police Officer Christopher Gann positioned himself nearby in a marked police car. At the appointed time, a gold-brown Buick arrived and parked near the informant. The car's driver exited the car and conversed with the informant for several minutes, then got back into his car and left. As the car turned onto the street, its passenger side ...