US v. Michael Miller
UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Originating case number: 1:15-cr-00368-CCE-1 Copies to all parties and the district court/agency. .. [16-4336]
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UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff – Appellee,
MICHAEL SCOTT MILLER,
Defendant - Appellant.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle
District of North Carolina, at Greensboro. Catherine C. Eagles,
District Judge. (1:15-cr-00368-CCE-1)
January 19, 2017
February 24, 2017
Before TRAXLER, WYNN, and DIAZ, Circuit Judges.
Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion.
Louis C. Allen, Federal Public Defender, John A. Duberstein,
Assistant Federal Public Defender, Greensboro, North Carolina,
Ripley Rand, United States Attorney, Frank J.
Chut, Jr., Assistant United States Attorney, Greensboro, North
Carolina, for Appellee.
Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.
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statement to a bank employee in negotiating a counterfeit check,
in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1014 (2012); aggravated identity
production of counterfeit currency, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 471 (2012); and possession with intent to use and transfer
district court’s denial of his suppression motion.
court sentenced Miller to 75 months of imprisonment and he now
Finding no error, we affirm.
“We review the factual findings underlying
a motion to suppress for clear error and the district court’s
legal determinations de novo.”
226, 233 (4th Cir. 2012).
United States v. Davis, 690 F.3d
When the district court has denied a
defendant’s suppression motion, we construe the evidence in the
light most favorable to the government.
counterfeit currency through the window of Miller’s motel room;
upon arrival, the officers were able to see the currency as
One of the officers knocked on the door and announced his
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presence, after which the curtain was closed and the officers
entered the room to secure it, while the other officer left to
motion, the district court determined that the need to prevent
The Fourth Amendment generally bars police from entering a
home without a warrant.
See Kentucky v. King, 563 U.S. 452, 460
The expectation of privacy enjoyed by occupants of a
home extends to guests of hotel or motel rooms.
however, when exigent circumstances exist, including the need to
prevent the imminent destruction of evidence.
See United States
v. Taylor, 624 F.3d 626, 631 (4th Cir. 2010).
police officers (1) have probable cause to believe that evidence
of illegal activity is present, and (2) reasonably believe that
evidence may be destroyed or removed before they could obtain a
warrant,” they may enter without a warrant.
United States v.
Moses, 540 F.3d 263, 269 (4th Cir. 2008) (internal quotation
support a warrantless entry, a court should consider:
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1) the degree of urgency involved and the amount of
time necessary to obtain a warrant; (2) the officers’
reasonable belief that the contraband is about to be
removed or destroyed; (3) the possibility of danger to
police guarding the site; (4) information indicating
the possessors of the contraband are aware that the
police are on their trail; and (5) the ready
destructibility of the contraband.
United States v. Yengel, 711 F.3d 392, 397 (4th Cir. 2013).
danger of being destroyed.
Moses, 540 F.3d at 270.
second-guessing of the officers’ assessment of the circumstances
that they faced.”
Figg v. Schroeder, 312 F.3d 625, 639 (4th
Cir. 2002) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Here, the officers had probable cause to believe that the
motel room contained evidence of illegal activity based on their
When they knocked on the door to the room, someone
closed the curtain, cutting off their view of that evidence, and
rustling and mumbling could be heard.
At that point, officers
knew that there was at least one person in the room and that he
was now aware the police were “on his trail.”
F.3d at 397.
See Yengel, 711
And because the officers could no longer see the
currency through the window and heard movement in the room, they
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had an objectively reasonable belief that the currency could be
destroyed before they could secure a warrant.
Miller also argues that if exigent circumstances existed,
announcing their presence.
Police may not rely on the exigent
circumstances exception to the warrant requirement if they have
created or manufactured the exigency.
King, 563 U.S. at 461.
engaging or threatening to engage in conduct that violates the
Fourth Amendment, warrantless entry to prevent the destruction
of evidence is reasonable and thus allowed.”
Id. at 462.
is no police-created exigency “[w]hen law enforcement officers
who are not armed with a warrant knock on a door.”
Id. at 469.
Here, the officers did no more than knock on the door and
announce their presence.
This was not an actual or threatened
violation of the Fourth Amendment.
See United States v. Brown,
701 F.3d 120, 126 (4th Cir. 2012) (citing King and noting that
when police announce their presence, creating immediate fear of
prevent destruction of evidence).
We conclude, therefore, that
the police did not create the exigency.
Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the district court.
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this court and argument would not aid in the decisional process.
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