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United States v. Meidel

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 21, 2014

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Joseph Frank Meidel, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted June 9, 2014.

Appeal from United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri - Jefferson City.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Lawrence E. Miller, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri, Jefferson City, MO.

For Joseph Frank Meidel, Defendant - Appellant: Daniel E. Hunt, Bandre' & Hunt, Jefferson City, MO.

Joseph Frank Meidel, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Leavenworth, KS.

Before BYE, COLLOTON, and KELLY, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 845

KELLY, Circuit Judge.

Joseph Frank Meidel pled guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). The district court[1] sentenced him to 27 months' imprisonment. On appeal, Meidel challenges the district court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence of the firearm found on his person at the time of arrest. Because exigent circumstances permitted law enforcement's entrance onto Meidel's property, we affirm.

I. Background

In early July 2012, Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) Sergeant Jason Clark received several complaints from Meidel's neighbors that he had been firing guns in the direction of nearby houses. Sergeant Clark conducted a background check, which revealed Meidel was a convicted felon. During his investigation, Sergeant Clark also learned Meidel's girlfriend had purchased a gun at a nearby convenience store and Meidel had bought 9mm ammunition on two separate occasions; the convenience store manager identified Meidel from a photo lineup. Another convenience store employee described an incident where Meidel, after confronting the employee,

Page 846

lifted up his shirt to display the handle of a pistol.

On July 30, 2012, Sergeant Clark and MSHP Sergeant Eric Eidson were in Meidel's neighborhood looking into a suspicious vehicle observed in the area. While canvassing the neighborhood, the sergeants approached Meidel to ask if he had seen the vehicle. He and his girlfriend were in their front yard, which was surrounded by a chain link fence. Sergeant Clark testified he advanced cautiously given his ongoing investigation and reports that Meidel often carried a gun. The two sergeants identified themselves as law enforcement officers. At the time of the conversation, Meidel was standing approximately 3-5 feet from the fence, near a large dumpster. The sergeants were standing ...


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