Justia U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Long v. United States

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An officer saw cars maneuvering around a car parked in a McDonald’s drive‐through lane, with Long asleep in the driver’s seat. The car was in drive. The officer knocked on the window. When Long opened the door, the officer smelled marijuana and saw a gun on the floor. An inventory search of the car after Long’s arrest revealed five gallon‐sized bags of marijuana, three bags of ecstasy pills, three cell phones, and digital scales. The government charged Long under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1) as a felon in possession of a firearm. Long and his appointed counsel discussed a motion to suppress, but counsel saw little possibility of success. Long pled guilty, waiving his right to appeal or collaterally attack his conviction and sentence. Long then discovered that his PSR recommended an enhancement for possessing a firearm in connection with another felony: possession of marijuana. Long claimed that counsel told him that no such enhancement would apply. The court appointed new counsel, who argued that, had Long known of the enhancement, Long would have moved to suppress the evidence. The government conceded that there was no probable cause, but argued that there was no Fourth Amendment violation because the officers were performing a caretaking function. Long agreed to stick with his guilty plea. The court confirmed that Long understood the PSR and was satisfied with counsel’s work, then imposed a below-guidelines 51-month sentence. Long filed a pro se motion under 28 U.S.C. 2255, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel by failing to move to suppress the evidence. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the petition without an evidentiary hearing. View "Long v. United States" on Justia Law