Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit.
No. 2:18-cr-20671-1—Paul D. Borman, District Judge.
Decided and Filed: February 9, 2021
Before: GUY, LARSEN, and MURPHY, Circuit Judges.
MURPHY, Circuit Judge. After police officers pulled over the vehicle in which
Demetrius Brooks had been riding, they smelled marijuana and saw him making a “stuffing
motion” under his seat. The police found a gun partially hidden there. After a jury convicted
Brooks of being a felon in possession of a firearm, the lone African-American juror emailed the
court that the other jurors had pressured her into a guilty verdict. Brooks now claims that the
stop and search of the vehicle violated the Fourth Amendment, that the prosecution presented
insufficient evidence that he “possessed” a gun, and that he is entitled to an evidentiary hearing
under Peña-Rodriguez v. Colorado, 137 S. Ct. 855 (2017), to investigate the racial biases of the
other jurors. These claims require us to consider among other questions: Did the number of
officers who conducted the traffic stop affect whether it was “reasonable” under the Fourth
Amendment? Does the felon-in-possession statute require a defendant to control a gun for any
significant period of time? And does Peña-Rodriguez permit an evidentiary hearing to impeach
a jury verdict even when no jurors made race-based statements? Answering “no” to these
questions, we affirm Brooks’s conviction.