USA v. Dedrick Jone
Filed Nonprecedential Disposition PER CURIAM. Counsel's motion is GRANTED and the appeal is DISMISSED. Frank H. Easterbrook, Circuit Judge; Daniel A. Manion, Circuit Judge and Ilana Diamond Rovner, Circuit Judge. [6885242-1]  [16-4158]
To be cited only in accordance with Fed. R. App. P. 32.1
United States Court of Appeals
For the Seventh Circuit
Chicago, Illinois 60604
Submitted November 20, 2017
Decided November 21, 2017
FRANK H. EASTERBROOK, Circuit Judge
DANIEL A. MANION, Circuit Judge
ILANA DIAMOND ROVNER, Circuit Judge
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
DEDRICK MONTEZ JONES,
Appeal from the United States District
Court for the Central District of Illinois.
O R D E R
Rock Island police officers pulled Dedrick Jones over for speeding and, upon
finding that he was driving with a suspended license, arrested him. Less than a minute
after placing him in the back of a police car, and with the help of a drug‐detecting dog,
police found roughly 550 grams of cocaine in the vehicle’s trunk. Jones was charged
with possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute it in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§ 841(a)(1). He moved to suppress the drug evidence because, he argued, the officers
unlawfully seized him by prolonging the traffic stop until the dog’s detection provided
probable cause to search the trunk. The judge denied the motion, and Jones later
pleaded guilty to the charge as part of a plea agreement, which preserved his right to
challenge the denial of this motion. He was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment and
eight years’ supervised release. One day after receiving this sentence, he filed a notice of
His appellate counsel seeks to withdraw under Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738
(1967), because she believes that any appeal would be frivolous. We gave Jones an
opportunity to respond to counsel’s motion, see CIR. R. 51(b), but he has not done so.
Counsel’s Anders brief adequately covers the issues that we would expect in a case of
this type, so we limit our review of the record to the potential issues that counsel
discusses. See United States v. Cano‐Rodriguez, 552 F.3d 637, 638 (7th Cir. 2009).
Counsel first evaluates whether Jones could challenge the district judge’s denial
of the motion to suppress. The judge found credible an arresting police officer’s
undisputed testimony that the police dog’s sniff occurred 30 seconds after Jones was
arrested and placed in the back of a squad car. Based on that factual finding, the judge
concluded that the canine sniff during the stop did not cause an impermissible delay
that violated Jones’s Fourth Amendment rights.
The factual finding and legal conclusion are both unassailable. Regarding the
factual finding, counsel correctly concludes that Jones could not plausibly challenge it
because it is supported by undisputed evidence. And counsel rightly declines to contest
the judge’s legal conclusion: It would be pointless to argue that the police violated the
Fourth Amendment, for Jones was under lawful arrest before the canine sniff (for
driving with a suspended license), and the sniff occurred swiftly after his arrest.
See United States v. Fiala, 929 F.2d 285, 288 (7th Cir. 1991) (ruling that 1.5 hour delay for
drug‐detecting dog to arrive did not result in seizure of defendant arrested for driving
without valid license); United States v. Hunnicutt, 135 F.3d 1345, 1350 (10th Cir. 1998)
(“[D]etention of [a] driver at the scene to accomplish a canine sniff is generally
reasonable where the driver is already under lawful arrest.”). Moreover the police dog’s
alert to drugs provided probable cause to search the vehicle’s trunk under the
automobile exception to the warrant requirement. See United States v. Edwards, 769 F.3d
509, 514 (7th Cir. 2014) (defining automobile exception to warrant requirement);
United States v. Thomas, 87 F.3d 909, 912 (7th Cir. 1996) (police dog’s detection of drugs
provides probable cause). Thus counsel’s proposed challenge to the suppression ruling
would be frivolous.
Counsel next considers whether Jones could argue that his guilty plea was not
knowing and voluntary. Jones did not move to withdraw his guilty plea in the district
court and, counsel tells us, he does not wish to do so on appeal. A challenge to his plea
therefore should neither be raised on appeal nor explored in an Anders submission.
See United States v. Knox, 287 F.3d 667, 671 (7th Cir. 2002).
Counsel lastly evaluates Jones’s sentence. First counsel rightly declines to argue
that the 10‐year prison sentence exceeds the statutory maximum. Jones was convicted of
possessing at least 500 grams of cocaine with intent to distribute it, and he previously
had been convicted of conspiring to distribute cocaine. Thus his sentence is not greater
than the statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment. See 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B).
Second counsel considers whether Jones could contest the district judge’s application of
the Sentencing Guidelines but correctly concludes that such a challenge would be
frivolous. Because of his prior felony drug offense, Jones’s crime carried a statutory
minimum of 10 years’ imprisonment, see id., which exceeded the guidelines’ range of
57–71 months imprisonment based on his offense level of 21 and criminal history
category of IV. The statutory minimum, 10‐year term of imprisonment was therefore the
guideline sentence, see U.S.S.G. § 5G1.1(b), which the district judge recognized and
imposed. As a final matter, counsel examines whether Jones could contend that his
prison sentence is unreasonably high but properly concludes that this argument would
go nowhere. The judge imposed the 10‐year statutory‐minimum prison sentence, and
Jones did not qualify for an exception to it; he did not provide substantial assistance to
the government, nor did he qualify for a safety‐valve reduction because he had more
than one criminal history point, see 18 U.S.C. § 3553(e), (f)(1).
Accordingly, we GRANT counsel’s motion and DISMISS the appeal.
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