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United States v. Jones

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

June 28, 2017

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Vincent Jones, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued May 16, 2017

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. No. 3:15-cr-00048-JD-MGG-l - Jon E. DeGuilio, Judge.

          Before BAUER, Flaum, and KANNE, Circuit Judges.

          BAUER, Circuit Judge.

         Defendant-appellant Vincent Jones was convicted on one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). On appeal, Jones challenges the denials of his motions to suppress the guns found in his home. We affirm.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Jones lived with his girlfriend, Jennifer Kelley, and her three children in a mobile home located in Westville, Indiana. On June 5, 2013, Kelley's daughter ("MK") went to a neighbor's residence to call the police to report that Jones sexually assaulted her. Officers James Gunning and Jason Yagelski of the Westville Police Department were dispatched to the scene. There, both officers encountered Kelley and MK. Kelley told the officers that she was afraid of Jones; the officers transported Kelley and MK to the police department for further inquiry.

         At the police department, MK told the officers that she had been sexually assaulted by Jones for several years. Kelley told the officers that Jones was a convicted felon who had tendencies of being violent and aggressive, that he had guns in a safe in their shared bedroom, and that she feared for her life and the lives of her children. The officers ran a criminal history check, which confirmed that Jones was a convicted felon.

         The Kelleys and the officers returned to the residence with three additional officers: James Jackson, Brian Piergalski, and Corey Chavez. The officers were greeted by Jones, who opened the door. Officer Gunning observed knives on a counter and told Jones that he needed to vacate the premises, but allowed him to retrieve his personal belongings. Jones followed the officers' instructions to step outside of the home. An officer immediately handcuffed Jones and escorted him to a picnic table located ten to twenty feet from the entrance of the residence. Two officers remained with Jones.

         With Jones being detained, the officers presented Kelley with a consent to search form. She signed the form and agreed to a warrantless search of her "residence and all rooms including enclosed boxes, safes etc. to clear the home of possible weapons and/or drugs."

         Officer Piergalski searched Kelley and Jones' shared bedroom. In the bedroom, he saw two gun safes (a smaller safe on top of a larger one), boxes of ammunition, and empty gun holsters. He viewed several guns in the smaller safe, which was partially open. He opened the safe's door further to better see the guns. Officer Jackson observed that the smaller safe's door was open a couple of inches.

         After seeing the contents of the open safe and in consultation with a state prosecutor, the officers ceased the search and sought a search warrant. The LaPorte County Superior Court issued a search warrant to search the home and the contents of the safe for evidence of sexual assault and firearms.

         The officers conducted a full search of the home and seized twelve firearms, over a thousand rounds of ammunition, seventeen clips, and several firearm scopes. Jones was arrested and charged with one count of possession of a firearm by a felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1).

         Jones moved to suppress the products of the search; the district court referred the case to a magistrate judge. At the hearing, Jones argued that Kelley's consent to search was invalid against him because the officers did not ask him for consent, and he did not consent, citing Georgia v. Randolph,547 U.S. 103 (2006). Jones contended that the first search was illegal and the search pursuant to the warrant was tainted by the warrantless search. The magistrate judge rejected these arguments, concluding that Randolph was not applicable because Jones failed to object to the search when it occurred. The magistrate judge also found that because the initial search was conducted with ...


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