November 16, 2016
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Western Division. No. 3:14-cr-50061 -
Philip G. Reinhard, Judge.
Easterbrook, Kanne, and Hamilton, Circuit Judges.
Dickson appeals his conviction for being a felon in
possession of a gun. 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). He argues
that the district court erred by denying his motion to
suppress evidence and by imposing vague conditions of
supervised release. We find no error in the court's
evidentiary ruling but agree with Dickson that two of his
conditions of supervision are problematic. Consequently, we
affirm in part, vacate in part, and remand for a limited
2014, three police officers in Rockford, Illinois, responded
to a report that two individuals were asleep in a parked car
in a McDonald's drive-thru. One of the officers opened
the driver's-side door and tried to wake the slumbering
driver, who was later identified as Dickson. Once Dickson
finally stirred, another officer observed a handgun lodged in
the center console of the front seat. That officer lunged
through the passenger's-side door and recovered the gun.
Dickson was then arrested on various charges, including
unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, 720 ILCS 5/24-1.1(a). An
inventory search of the car uncovered small amounts of heroin
matter was referred to federal authorities, and Dickson was
charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. 18
U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Dickson then moved to suppress the
gun and drugs, arguing that the police had no lawful basis
for searching him or the car.
district court held a hearing on the motion to suppress
evidence. The government first introduced a rental-car
agreement showing that the car had been rented to a woman
named Tyota Keeylen. The rental agreement did not list
Dickson as an authorized driver, but the parties stipulated
that Keeylen would testify that she told Dickson he could
drive the car. The government also introduced records showing
that Dickson's driver's license was suspended at the
time of his arrest.
evidentiary hearing, two of the three officers involved in
Dickson's arrest testified. Officer Anthony Curran
testified that around 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning they
received a call about two individuals asleep in a car in a
McDonald's drive-thru. Upon arriving at the restaurant,
Curran saw that the car was running, that Dickson and a
female passenger were sitting motionless inside, and that
there was a bottle of vodka in the front seat's center
console. Suspecting that Dickson was drunk, Curran opened the
front driver's-side door, removed the keys from the
ignition, and placed the keys on top of the car. Curran
explained that he did this for safety reasons: he was
squeezed in a three-foot space between the car and the
building, and he feared he would be crushed if the car
started to move.
Curran took the keys from the ignition, he tried to wake
Dickson by yelling at him. Dickson did not respond, so Curran
started shaking him. About thirty seconds later, Dickson
finally woke up. Curran ordered him to get out of the car,
but Dickson responded by trying to shift the car into drive.
Nothing happened, of course, because Curran already had
removed the keys from the ignition.
one of the other officers yelled out a police code for a gun
and dove through the front passenger's-side door, over
the female passenger, pushing Dickson partially out of the
car toward Curran. Curran, spotting the handgun lodged
between the driver's seat and the center console, pulled
Dickson out of the car while the other officers recovered the
gun. Curran then cuffed Dickson, searched him, and placed him
in a squad car. Further investigation revealed that the gun
was loaded and that Dickson did not have a Firearm
Owner's Identification Card. The officers arrested
Dickson and impounded the car, and an inventory search
uncovered heroin and marijuana.
the other two officers also testified at the evidentiary
hearing, mostly repeating what Curran had said about the
events leading to Dickson's arrest. Dickson presented no
evidence in rebuttal.
district court denied Dickson's motion to suppress
evidence of the gun and drugs. First, it found the
government's witnesses credible. The court next concluded
that Dickson lacked standing to challenge the search of the
car because Dickson-as an unlicensed, unauthorized driver of
a rental car-did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy
in the car. The court also concluded that the officers acted
reasonably in confronting Dickson, seizing the gun when it
came into plain view, and arresting him once they learned
that his possession of the gun was unlawful. And once Dickson
had been lawfully arrested, the court reasoned, the police
also were entitled to impound and conduct an inventory search
of the car.
case then proceeded to trial. The three officers testified
about the events that occurred after they found Dickson
asleep in the drive-thru. Keeylen, who had not been present
during Dickson's arrest, said that she rented the car to
travel Saturday but let Dickson borrow it Friday night to get
something to eat. The female passenger who had been sleeping
in the car testified that Dickson agreed to give her a ride
home after a ...