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United States v. Washington

February 23, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF - APPELLEE,
v.
LADALE F. WASHINGTON, DEFENDANT - APPELLANT.



APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS, (D. Ct. No. 6:07-10205-WEB-1).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Tacha, Circuit Judge.

PUBLISH

Before TACHA, ANDERSON, and BRISCOE, Circuit Judges.

Defendant-appellant Ladale F. Washington was indicted in November 2007 on two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2). After a trial by jury, Mr. Washington was found guilty and sentenced to thirty months in prison and two years of supervised release. He now appeals his conviction, arguing that the district court erroneously (1) denied his motion to dismiss the indictment based on a violation of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers ("IAD"), (2) refused to instruct the jury on "fleeting possession," and (3) permitted the prosecution's exhibit of certain prior testimony to be sent to the jury during deliberation. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we AFFIRM.

I. BACKGROUND

On May 30, 2007, Sergeant White and Officer Henning of the Wichita Police Department were on patrol in separate cars in Wichita, Kansas, when they heard gun shots. The officers both saw a white car speeding toward them and immediately began following the vehicle. Sergeant White initiated a traffic stop after the vehicle failed to signal a turn properly. As the vehicle pulled to a stop, the right front passenger jumped from the car and began fleeing on foot. Sergeant White pursued the passenger in his patrol car while Officer Henning continued to pursue the vehicle, which had since sped away.

Ultimately, the front passenger was apprehended, the vehicle was stopped, and the other five occupants of the vehicle, including Mr. Washington, were handcuffed and searched. Police found a.45 caliber pistol in the waistband of a woman passenger who had been seated either next to Mr. Washington or on his lap in the back seat. A different passenger stated that Mr. Washington had told the woman passenger to hide the gun in her waistband because the police officers would not search a woman. Police also found a silver.22 caliber semi-automatic pistol under the right front passenger seat. The officer who found the pistol testified that "anybody from the back or the front [seat] could have gotten to it." Additionally, Mr. Washington told Officer Henning during a post-arrest interview that "I handled the.45 yesterday and the silver.22 just today."

On November 15, 2007, a federal grand jury indicted Mr. Washington on two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. At the time, however, Mr. Washington was in the custody of the Kansas Department of Corrections ("KDOC") for a probation violation based on the same events. Thus, the United States, through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ("ATF"), lodged a detainer with the KDOC on November 21.

On December 5, Mr. Washington, acting pro se, drafted a document titled "Final Disposition of Detainer" which stated that he was "filing a 180-day writ." The parties do not dispute that Mr. Washington was attempting in the document to invoke his rights under the IAD, which provides that a prisoner in the custody of a state who is the subject of a detainer lodged by the United States must be brought to trial on the federal charges within 180 days after he has caused to be delivered to the prosecuting officer and the appropriate court a request for final disposition of the charges on which the detainer is based. See 18 U.S.C. App. 2 § 2 art. II(a), III(a); Fex v. Michigan, 507 U.S. 43, 44--45 (1993). He mailed one copy of the document to "Department of Justice, Issuing prosecutor" with an address of 301 N. Main in Wichita. He mailed a second copy of the document to "Department of Justice, Court" with the same mailing address of 301 N. Main in Wichita. The United States Attorney's Office ("USAO"), which is located in the building at 301 N. Main in Wichita, received both documents on December 12. The USAO kept both documents in its file and did not forward the copy addressed to "Department of Justice, Court" to the district court, which is located at a different address.

On December 18, Mr. Washington submitted a form application through the KDOC requesting a final disposition of detainer. See id. Art. III(b). The KDOC sent the application through certified mail to the ATF field office at 301 N. Main in Wichita, Kansas. The mailing was confirmed as delivered on January 7, 2008, and a notation was made on the delivery confirmation stating "7/7/08 Deadline." There is no evidence in the record that the ATF forwarded Mr. Washington's application to the district court or that the KDOC sent a copy of the application to the district court.

Mr. Washington was not brought to federal court until July 25, 2008, when he made his initial appearance. On August 27, with the assistance of counsel, Mr. Washington moved to dismiss the indictment based on a violation of the IAD. The district court denied the motion, citing Mr. Washington's failure to deliver a copy of his request to the court as required by the IAD.

At trial, the court admitted into evidence a transcript of Mr. Washington's testimony at his probation violation hearing, during which he made inculpatory statements regarding his possession of the two firearms. Over Mr. Washington's objection, the court also permitted the jury to review the exhibit during their deliberations. Also over Mr. Washington's objection, the district court refused to instruct the jury that "fleeting possession" is insufficient to support a conviction under § 922(g). On January 14, 2009, Mr. Washington was convicted on both counts.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Interstate Agreement on ...


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