United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
C. COUGHENOUR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant's pretrial
motions (Dkt. No. 33) and motion to compel (Dkt. No. 29).
Having thoroughly considered the parties' briefing and
the relevant record, as well as testimony and argument an
evidentiary hearing held on May 10, 2018, the Court hereby
DENIES Defendant's pretrial motions for the reasons
explained herein. The Court addresses the motion to compel
(Dkt. No. 29) below.
is charged by indictment with possession of cocaine and
heroin with intent to distribute, possessing a firearm in
furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and felon in
possession of a firearm. (Dkt. No. 13.) Defendant moves to
suppress statements made to detectives after his arrest.
(Dkt. No. 33 at 6.) Incident reports from his arrest describe
three rounds of questioning: (1) by Detective Todd Smith at
the scene of arrest after SWAT took him into custody; (2) by
Detective Reed Jones at the scene of arrest, subsequent to
questioning by Smith; and (3) a recorded interview with
Detective Jones after Defendant was transported back to his
residence. (Id. at 4.) Defendant argues that he was
not properly advised of his rights prior to the first round
of interrogation and that his statements were not voluntarily
given. (Id. at 6, 8.)
also moves for a separate trial on his charges for felon in
possession of a firearm, or for bifurcation on this count.
(Dkt. No. 33 at 10.) This motion is addressed below.
Motion to Suppress
argues his statements should be suppressed because he was not
properly Mirandized. (Dkt. No. 33 at 6.) The Fifth
Amendment privilege against compelled self-incrimination
requires that law enforcement give Miranda warnings
to an accused person prior to custodial
interrogation. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436,
444 (1966). Statements made in a custodial
interrogation absent proper Miranda warnings and a
valid waiver must be suppressed. Id. The Government
bears the burden of establishing by a preponderance of the
evidence that it complied with Miranda requirements.
Id. at 475. A warning is sufficient if, in its
totality, it adequately informs the person of his rights and
the Government's obligations. United States v.
Pereda-Rebollo, 357 Fed.Appx. 31, 33 (9th Cir. 2009).
Court finds that Miranda warnings were properly
administered and Defendant validly waived his rights.
Detective Smith stated in his incident report and interview
with the Government that he read Defendant his rights from a
King County Sheriff's Office (“KCSO”)
Miranda card before beginning questioning at the
scene of arrest. (Dkt. Nos. 33-3, 33-4.) Detective Smith
testified to this fact at the hearing, and the Court finds
his testimony credible. Evidentiary Hearing, May 10, 2018.
The KCSO card included an explanation and waiver of rights
that complied with Miranda requirements, including a
request for verbal affirmation of understanding and assent.
(Dkt. No. 33-7); Miranda, 384 U.S. at 444. Detective
Smith testified that he received such verbal assent from
Defendant after reading him his rights. Evidentiary Hearing,
May 10, 2018.
argues that if given, any warning was deficient because it
did not advise Defendant of the “right to stop
answering questions at any time.” (See Dkt.
No. 33 at 7) (citing Duckworth v. Eagen, 492 U.S.
195, 203 (1989)). Miranda does not require a
“talismanic incantation, ” rather, law
enforcement “must reasonably convey a suspect his
rights.” Duckworth, 492 U.S. at 195, 203. The
KCSO card contained a similar warning to the advisement
Defendant claims was lacking-instructing an arrestee of the
right to remain silent and that he may exercise that right at
any time. (Dkt. No. 33-7.) This warning was sufficient under
Miranda. Nor is the adequacy of the warning
compromised by the absence of a written waiver. It is
well-established that a waiver may be verbal or implied.
United States v. Cazares, 121 F.3d 1241, 1244 (9th
found that Detective Smith properly Mirandized
Defendant before the initial interview, the Court also
concludes that no new Miranda warning was required
before Detective Jones first questioned Defendant. This
questioning took place at the same location and well under an
hour after Defendant received Miranda warnings from
Detective Smith. Evidentiary Hearing, May 10, 2018 (Defendant
was transported back to his house less than an hour after
arrest); see U.S. v Baron, 94 F.3d 1312, 1320 (9th
Cir. 1996) (overruled on other grounds by U.S. v.
Heredia, 483 F.3d 913 (9th Cir. 2007)) (no new warning
required with change in investigating officer); Wyrick v.
Fields, 459 U.S. 42, 45-46 (1982) (two hours between
sessions did not necessitate new warning).
Detective Jones properly re-Mirandized Defendant
after he was transported to his home. Before taking a
recorded statement, Jones obtained Defendant's consent,
repeated the prior warnings, and asked Defendant if he
understood his rights. (Dkt. No. 33-5 at 6); Evidentiary
Hearing, May 10, 2018. Defendant answered in the affirmative.