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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit issues one Indiana opinion today

In U.S. v. Daniel Groves Sr. (ND Ind., Allen Sharp, Judge), a 34-page opinion, Judge Rovner writes:

Daniel Groves was charged in a two-count indictment under the “felon in possession” statute with possessing a firearm and possessing ammunition. See 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). A jury convicted him on both counts. He challenges his conviction on the firearm count on the ground that the evidence was insufficient to demonstrate that the firearm traveled in interstate commerce. On the ammunition count, he faults the district court for denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained in a warrantless search of his apartment. He also complains of evidentiary errors and mistakes in calculating his sentence. This is one of those rare cases in which a defendant succeeds in demonstrating that the evidence was insufficient to prove an element of the crime. We therefore reverse in part, affirm in part and remand to the district court for further proceedings consistent with our opinion. * * *

On remand, the district court should enter fact-findings in support of its ruling on the motion to suppress, and determining whether Foster’s consent was voluntarily given. If Foster’s consent was not voluntary, the suppression ruling cannot stand, and the conviction on the ammunition count would be in jeopardy. We do not mean to suggest a particular outcome for the motion to suppress; we note only that, as it stands, there is insufficient fact-finding and insufficient analysis for appellate review. It is possible that after the court makes the appropriate findings in support of its decision to deny that motion, defense counsel may withdraw its objection to the ruling; it is also possible there may still be some non-frivolous basis for further review. We reverse the conviction on Count I, the firearm possession charge, for the reasons stated above. In light of that reversal, the district court should resentence Groves. At any new sentencing hearing, the district court should allow an appropriate Rule 32 colloquy before imposing sentence. In all other respects, we affirm.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 22, 2006 10:56 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions