United States v. Braggs


20-892-cr United States v. Braggs UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT ______________ August Term 2020 (Argued: March 9, 2021 | Decided: July 13, 2021) Docket No. 20-892-cr UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellant, v. SHAMMAR BRAGGS, Defendant-Appellee. † ______________ Before: SACK, WESLEY, MENASHI, Circuit Judges. After serving a term of imprisonment for a felony drug conviction, Shammar Braggs was released on parole subject to continuing supervision by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (“DOCCS”). While on parole, Braggs was prohibited from possessing firearms, ammunition, or narcotics and consented in writing to searches by his parole officer. Upon receiving an anonymous tip that Braggs may have been in possession of guns, DOCCS sent a team of parole officers to search his house, turning up multiple firearms, a box of ammunition, and illegal narcotics. During the search, Braggs admitted to owning the guns. Prosecutors subsequently † The Clerk of the Court is directed to amend the official caption as set forth above. brought drug trafficking and firearms charges against Braggs in the Western District of New York. Braggs moved to suppress both the contraband uncovered during the search and the statements he made in connection with the search. The district court (Roemer, Magistrate; Skretny, Judge) granted the motion, concluding that the search violated Braggs’s Fourth Amendment rights because it was executed without reasonable suspicion. However, under our established Special Needs Doctrine jurisprudence, the parole search was proper as it was reasonably related to the parole officers’ duties. We therefore VACATE the suppression order. _________________ TIFFANY H. LEE, Assistant United States Attorney, for James P. Kennedy, Jr., United States Attorney for the Western District of New York, Buffalo, NY, for Appellant. FARES A. RUMI, The Phoenix Law Group, PLLC, Darien Center, NY, for Defendant-Appellee. _________________ WESLEY, Circuit Judge: The Government appeals from an order of suppression excluding all evidence gathered in connection with a parole search of Shammar Braggs’s house. Parole officers executed the search after the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (“DOCCS”) received an anonymous tip that Braggs may have guns in his house. Concluding that the parole officers lacked reasonable suspicion, the district court (Roemer, Magistrate; Skretny, Judge) suppressed the evidence obtained in connection with the search. In doing so, the 2 court relied on the search standard set forth in DOCCS Directive No. 9404 and on the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Samson v. California, 547 U.S. 843 (2006). The Government concedes that there was insufficient evidence of wrongdoing by Braggs to establish reasonable suspicion for a search, but argues that both Samson and this Circuit’s “Special Needs” jurisprudence permitted the search. Braggs contends that Samson is distinguishable in his favor and, in any event, that because New York State law requires reasonable suspicion for parole searches, the search in this case violated his Fourth Amendment rights. Our precedents make clear that only federal law applies in a federal court’s exclusionary rule analysis. Thus, the district court should not …

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