US v. Jamie Noel Ayala Arriaza


UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Originating case number: 1:09-cr-00190-TSE-1 Copies to all parties and the district court/agency. [998472086] [09-4957]

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US v. Jamie Noel Ayala Arriaza Doc. 0 Case: 09-4957 Document: 27 Date Filed: 11/24/2010 Page: 1 UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 09-4957 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff Appellee, v. JAIME NOEL AYALA ARRIAZA, Defendant Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Alexandria. T. S. Ellis, III, Senior District Judge. (1:09-cr-00190-TSE-1) Submitted: September 2, 2010 Decided: November 24, 2010 Before MOTZ, DAVIS, and KEENAN, Circuit Judges. Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. Michael S. Nachmanoff, Federal Public Defender, Todd Richman, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Caroline S. Platt, Research and Writing Attorney, Alexandria, Virginia, for Appellant. Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney, Karen L. Dunn, Assistant United States Attorney, Alexandria, Virginia, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. Case: 09-4957 Document: 27 Date Filed: 11/24/2010 Page: 2 PER CURIAM: Jaime Noel Ayala Arriaza appeals his conviction and seven-month sentence after entering a conditional guilty plea pursuant to a plea agreement to one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by an illegal alien, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(5), 924(a)(2) (2006). Arriaza's sole argument on appeal is that the district court erred when it denied his motion to suppress the fruits of a warrantless police search on his impounded vehicle because he alleges that the automobile exception to the warrant requirement did not justify the search post-Arizona v. Gant, ___ U.S. ___, 129 S. Ct. 1710 (2009). judgment. In reviewing the district court's denial of Arriaza's suppression motion, we review the district court's factual Because we disagree, we affirm the district court's determinations for clear error and any legal determinations de novo. United States v. Kelly, 592 F.3d 586, 589 (4th Cir.), Because the district cert. denied, 130 S. Ct. 3374 (2010). court denied Arriaza's motion, we construe the evidence "in the light most favorable to the government." Id. The Fourth Amendment guarantees "[t]he right of the people to be secure . . . against unreasonable searches and seizures requires . . . ." U.S. be Const. amend. IV. This to guarantee a warrant that "searches conducted 2 pursuant Case: 09-4957 Document: 27 Date Filed: 11/24/2010 Page: 3 issued by an independent judicial officer." California v. Carney, 471 U.S. 386, 390 (1985). An established exception to Kelly, 592 F.3d at this rule is the "automobile exception." 589. a Under this exception, police may search a vehicle without if "probable cause exists to believe it contains warrant contraband" and the vehicle is "readily mobile." v. Labron, 518 U.S. 938, 940 (1996). met, police as may a conduct magistrate a Pennsylvania If both conditions are search in "that a is as warrantless could thorough authorize warrant[.]" United States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798, 800 (1982). We circumstances conclude known to that the totality were of the to facts and a police sufficient support reasonable belief that Arriaza's vehicle contained a firearm. Moreover, automobile a car is "readily so long mobile" as it is for purposes used of on the the exception "`being highways' or is `readily capable of such use' rather than, say, `elevated on blocks.'" 471 U.S. at 392-93). Kelley, 592 F.3d at 591 (quoting Carney, So long as a vehicle is "clearly operational[,]" we have found the vehicle to be "readily mobile" for purposes of determining whether a warrantless search of that vehicle was constitutional. F.3d 231, 238 to (4th See United States v. Brookins, 345 2003). warrantless Accordingly, search "[t]he the Cir. a justification conduct under automobile exception does not disappear merely because the car 3 Case: 09-4957 Document: 27 Date Filed: 11/24/2010 Page: 4 has been immobilized 16 F.3d and 582, impounded." 586 (4th See Cir. United 1994) States v. Gastiaburo, (upholding warrantless search of a car impounded by the police for thirtyeight days). Despite the foregoing, Arriaza asserts that, like the search-incident-to-arrest automobile untethered exception from its to exception the at issue in Gant, has "has "[t]he become been warrant requirement and original reasoning" unconstitutionally expanded beyond its proper scope." In Gant, the Supreme Court determined that a search of a vehicle incident to a recent is occupant's unsecured arrest and is justified reaching "only distance when of the the arrestee within passenger compartment at the time of the search" or when "it is reasonable to believe evidence relevant to the crime of arrest might be found in the vehicle." Gant, 129 S. Ct. at 1719 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). The that a Supreme Court nonetheless of the explicitly mentioned broader application search-incident-to-arrest exception was unnecessary "to protect law enforcement safety and evidentiary interests" because "[o]ther established exceptions to the warrant requirement authorize safety a or vehicle search under additional demand." circumstances when evidentiary concerns Id. at 1721 (recognizing, for instance, that "[i]f there is probable cause to believe a vehicle contains evidence 4 Case: 09-4957 Document: 27 Date Filed: 11/24/2010 Page: 5 of criminal activity, United States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798, 820821[ ] (1982), authorizes a search of any area of the vehicle in which the evidence might be found"). does not undermine this court's Thus, we hold that Gant pertaining to jurisprudence warrantless searches of impounded vehicles. Cf. United States v. Griffin, 589 F.3d 148, 154 n.8 (4th Cir. 2009) (declining to apply Gant's reasoning to protective searches where suspect had not yet been arrested). Based on the foregoing, we affirm the district court's judgment. legal before We dispense with oral argument because the facts and are and adequately argument presented not in aid the the materials decisional contentions the court would process. AFFIRMED 5

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