On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania D.C. Criminal No. 03-cr-00292-01 District Judge: Honorable Sylvia H. Rambo.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shadur, District Judge.
Submitted pursuant to Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a) July 11, 2005
Before: ALITO and BECKER, Circuit Judges and SHADUR, District Judge*fn1
After the district court had denied his motion to suppress evidence obtained during a warrantless search by parole officers, defendant-appellant Shannon Williams ("Williams") executed a plea agreement with the government pursuant to which he entered a conditional guilty plea on a charge of felon in possession of a firearm. That agreement entitled Williams to appeal the adverse suppression decision and to withdraw his guilty plea should he prevail on appeal.
Williams now appeals both (1) the denial of his motion to suppress and (2) the sentence imposed by the district court. We affirm the district court's decision as to suppression, but we remand the case for resentencing pursuant to our en banc decision in United States v. Davis, 407 F.3d 162 (3d Cir. 2005).
Williams began serving a state parole sentence in March 2003 under the supervision of Christine McElhinny, a parole agent for the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole. As a condition of his parole, Williams signed an agreement that provided in part:
I expressly consent to the search of my person, property and residence, without a warrant by agents of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole. Any items, in the possession of which constitutes a violation of parole/reparole shall be subject to seizure, and may be used as evidence in the parole revocation process.
During his parole term Williams first lived with his sister, but at the time relevant to this appeal he was living with his mother. As a condition of McElhinny's approval of Williams' residence there, his mother signed a written Home Provider Agreement Letter that contained the following provision:
I understand the Parole Supervision Staff has a right to search the residence at anytime when reasonable suspicion exists that parole has been violated. I will not deny them access to this residence. I understand that if I deny access to Parole Supervision Staff, the laws of Pennsylvania give Parole Supervision Staff the authority and responsibility to force entry into my residence to search for the parolee or contraband without the need of a warrant.
Williams was monitored closely by McElhinny throughout his parole term. While still living with his sister, he received three warnings for technical parole violations: failure to make job contacts, violation of curfew and presence of ammunition at his residence. That last violation followed a search of Williams' sister's home conducted by McElhinny, based on a tip she had received that Williams was selling drugs. Though she found no drugs, she did find some ammunition.
Shortly after Williams moved in with his mother, McElhinny received another tip that someone was seeking to shoot Williams. McElhinny responded by arranging a meeting at the mother's home, where she discovered that Williams had quit his job, violated his curfew and broken his leg. Williams also told McElhinny ...