September 2022

Fifth Circuit: District Court Erred When It
Denied Suppression Motion Regarding
Statewide Gang Member Roundup Where
Collective Knowledge Doctrine
Did Not Apply

Defendant entered a conditional plea to gun charges after his motion to suppress was denied. The Fifth Circuit reversed holding that officers conducting a state-wide roundup of known gang members with outstanding warrants did not have reasonable suspicion for an investigatory stop of defendant who was riding his bicycle with large handlebars in an area known by officers for gang activity where the officers were given information describing the suspect only as “Hispanic male” who had “run from officers” on a bicycle with large handlebars at some unspecified time in the past, but the officers had nothing else, such as the suspect’s photo, age, build, clothing, or any other identifying features, nor were they told when suspect had last been seen in the area. The collective knowledge doctrine did not apply where the officer who led the team involved in the roundup did not know who provided the information in the roundup packet, and he only vaguely described the investigation leading to the roundup, and the government did not introduce the packet into evidence at the suppression hearing or any details about the origin or timeliness of the information therein to show that it was premised on articulable facts. United States v. Alvarez, ___ F4th ___ (CA 5, 07-13-2022, WL 2712871).

Tenth Circuit: Warrantless Search of
Backpack Violated
Fourth Amendment Where its
Contents Were Not Foregone Conclusion

Defendant entered a conditional plea to drug charges after his motion to suppress was denied. Defendant was arrested during a long-term bus ride. The Tenth Circuit reversed holding that, although officers had probable cause to arrest defendant and to seize his bundle of clothing and backpack while seizing the items from the bus, the officers conducted an illegal search of the bundle by reaching inside defendant’s open backpack and feeling the bundle in an exploratory manner. Then later, at the DEA office, still without a warrant, the officer conducted a second illegal search of the backpack and the bundle, and the plain-view exception to the warrant requirement did not apply because at neither point in time were the contents of the bundle or backpack a foregone conclusion. United States v. Johnson, ___ F4th ___ (CA 10, 08-09-2022, WL 3205499).