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Shawn Laray Bell v. United States of America

February 6, 2012

SHAWN LARAY BELL
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA



The opinion of the court was delivered by: The Honorable David O. Carter, Judge

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

Title:

Julie Barrera Not Present Courtroom Clerk Court Reporter

ATTORNEYS PRESENT FOR PLAINTIFFS: ATTORNEYS PRESENT FOR DEFENDANTS:

NONE PRESENT NONE PRESENT

PROCEEDING (IN CHAMBERS): ORDER DENYING PETITIONER'S WRIT OF HABEAS

CORPUS

Before the Court is pro se Petitioner Shawn Laray Bell's Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 ("Motion"). The Court finds this matter appropriate for decision without oral argument. Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; Local R. 7-15. After considering the moving, opposing, and replying papers, and for the reasons stated below, the Court hereby DENIES the Motion.

I. BACKGROUND

A. BELL'S ARREST

On the evening of April 13, 2006, Petitioner Shawn Laray Bell ("Bell") was stopped by Sergeant Derek Cook ("Cook") of the Orange Police Department for making an illegal left turn. Mot. at 2 (Dkt. 1). Bell had one passenger in his car. Id. As Cook approached the car, he detected an odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle. Id. Cook asked Bell about the smell, whereupon Bell admitted that he and his passenger had just smoked marijuana at a nearby restaurant. Mot. at Oct. 30, 2006, Cook Decl. ("Cook Decl.") ¶ 7. Bell then provided Cook with an ID card (he did not have a driver's licence), and when Cook ran Bell's information he discovered an outstanding warrant for Bell in San Bernardino County. Mot. at 2-3. The car Bell was driving was rented to his girlfriend. Opp'n at

When Cook returned to the car he asked Bell for permission to search the entire vehicle -- including the trunk and engine compartment -- and Bell consented.*fn1 Cook Decl. ¶ 12. It was at this point that Bell was arrested, handcuffed, and made to sit on the sidewalk with his passenger and others who had arrived to pick up the rented car. Id. ¶ 13. Officers then searched Bell's vehicle. Id. ¶ 14.

In the backseat, officers found a cigar box containing two marijuana cigarettes. Id. In the trunk, the officers found a backpack. Id. The backpack contained several items: a loaded Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver, a loaded Clerke .32 caliber revolver, prescription pill bottles and paperwork with Bell's name on them, and a pair of sandals inscribed with what was later identified as gang insignia. Opp'n at 6. The backpack did not contain any items in the name of Bell's passenger.

at 7. When the officers found the backpack, they addressed the group seated on the sidewalk and asked to whom the backpack belonged. Mot. at 6. Bell was the only one to respond; he said "That ain't mine, that was already in there when we got the car." Id. Bell was then taken to the Orange Police Station and the vehicle was impounded. Id. at 4.

Once at the station, Bell was Mirandized and waived his rights. Id. Bell was questioned Id. He told the officers that he had smoked marijuana that night and that the pill bottles and paperwork in the backpack were his. Opp'n at 7. When asked about the guns, Bell replied "I'm not going to tell you I'm not familiar with them, but I didn't put the bag in the car, and I didn't put those guns in the bag." Cook Decl. ¶ 16. Cook was also questioned about the insignia on the sandals; those insignia matched certain tattoos on Bell's body. Opp'n at 7. Bell told officers that the symbols on the sandals were gang insignia, and he had similar tattoos because he was a member of that gang.

No one else from the scene of the arrest was taken back to the station for ...


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