US v. McGhee, 09-1322

By FindLaw Staff on December 07, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Cocaine base related conviction

US v. McGhee, 09-1322, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for possession of cocaine base and for possession of cocaine base with intent to distribute.  In affirming the conviction, the court held that the district court properly denied the suppression of the package of thirty-one baggies as the strip search was lawful.  The court also held that the district court did not err in allowing a testifying chemist to rely in part on another chemist's test results as to one drug sample to establish the nature and weight of the drugs as other evidence overwhelmingly established that defendant held at least some of the baggies for distribution.  Lastly, the court held that the district court correctly designated defendant as a career offender during sentencing.

As the court wrote: "Here, it is enough that the officers had ample reason to suspect that McGhee might well be concealing drugs about his person and not just in his pockets.  Marijuana had already been found concealed in his shoes; and, when one officer told him without being more specific that the team was about to complete the search, McGhee began to protest, saying that they could not "stick a finger up [his] ass."  Although reassurred that this was not going to occur, McGhee physically resisted removing his shorts; his pattern of behavior was a reasonable signal that drugs were likely concealed within.  On its own facts, the search was lawful and suppression was properly denied."

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