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United States v. Jameson

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
478 F.3d 1204 (2007)


Facts

The United States government (plaintiff) prosecuted Christopher Jameson (defendant), a convicted felon, for violating 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), which prohibited felons from knowingly possessing firearms. According to Sergeant Vaughn Allen's trial testimony, he observed a car with malfunctioning taillights and made the driver move off the road and into a brightly lit parking lot. As Allen approached the car, he could clearly see its four occupants, including Jameson, who was in the right rear passenger seat. Allen observed the right front-seat passenger leaning forward and apparently rummaging through the glove compartment. As the passenger did so, Allen observed Jameson leaning forward as if to retrieve or conceal something on the floor. Allen suspected the men might be concealing illegal drugs, so he searched the car but initially found nothing. Allen subsequently inventoried the car's contents and found a pistol in plain view on the right rear floor, on the very spot where Jameson's foot could have covered it during Allen's initial search. The pistol was clean of fingerprints or other indicia of ownership or possession. In his testimony, Jameson said the lighting conditions were poor, so that Allen could not see clearly what happened in the car before Allen conducted his initial search. Jameson also testified that the floor of the back seat was so filled with litter that he did not know of the pistol's presence. The jury convicted Jameson and he appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kelly, J.)

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