United States v. Gaines, No. 11-4032

Decided: January 28, 2012

The district court granted Travis Gaines’ motion to suppress a firearm seized by police following an unlawful stop of a vehicle in which he was a passenger, on the grounds that the firearm was “fruit of the poisonous tree.” The government appealed, contending that intervening events such as acts of assault and resisting arrest committed by Gaines purged the illegality of the stop and rendered the firearm admissible. However, although the firearm was not physically seized until after Gaines struck the officers, the gun was discovered prior to Gaines’ act of assault. The government did not cite to any case to support their proposition that the seizure of the evidence was legally more significant than the discovery of the evidence when the two acts do not coincide. Therefore, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court’s order granting the motion to suppress. Judge Niemeyer filed a dissenting opinion.

Full Opinion

-Sara I. Salehi

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