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UNITED STATES v. GOLDSTEIN

June 17, 1985

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LOUIS GOLDSTEIN, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shadur, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Louis Goldstein ("Goldstein") has been charged under 18 U.S.C. § 659 with possession of gold salts and an emerald stolen from a Federal Express facility while in interstate commerce, knowing the items to have been stolen. Goldstein now moves to suppress incriminating statements he made to FBI agents. For the reasons stated in this memorandum opinion and order, the motion is granted.

Facts

In early 1984 Louis Cane ("Cane")*fn1 told the FBI he had sold Goldstein the stolen gold salts and emerald. On February 3, 1984 FBI agents Andy Caster ("Caster") and James Kuntzelman ("Kuntzelman") entered Goldstein's store, Lucky Lou's Coin Shop, to question him about Cane's assertions. Caster wore a Nagra body recorder and taped the entire conversation, during which Goldstein admitted purchasing the stolen goods.*fn2 For present purposes the most significant parts of the conversation involve the agents' representations (or more accurately misrepresentations) about Goldstein's status as a potential witness rather than as a target of their investigation.

Caster and Kuntzelman identified themselves to Goldstein as FBI agents as soon as they entered the store. Caster told Goldstein they were investigating a theft of jewelry and gold items and asked whether anyone had attempted to fence any gold jewelry, gems or gold salts to Goldstein. He responded that as a respectable businessman he tried to avoid any such activity. When the agents shifted to asking about Cane and whether Goldstein had bought any such items from him, Goldstein said he knew Cane but denied purchasing anything but a few small pieces of gold jewelry from him.

At that point the agents played for Goldstein a tape of a conversation recorded ten days earlier, in which Cane and Goldstein had discussed Cane's sale to Goldstein of the gold salts and emerald. Caster then said (Tr. 14):

  Lou, I think that at this point and time you
  wanna evaluate what you've told us, okay? And
  seriously consider what's gonna be to your
  advantage. And disadvantage. Denying what has
  actually happened is not gonna help you.
  That conversation, you confirmed in fact that you
  had purchased an emerald from Cane. We know for a
  fact that, that emerald was stolen from Federal
  Express. Okay? You had mentioned earlier that you
  have never purchased stones from him, from from
  Cane. That's not true. Okay? Stop the lying now,
  and let's start talking the truth.
  Once more Goldstein denied any recollection of buying gold
salts or an emerald from Cane. Caster again pushed him (Tr.
16):

   . . you won't gain anything by following the
  path, other than just being straight out with us,
  okay, as to what's taken place. Alright. Cause
  we're investigating the the thefts from the
  Federal Express.

When Goldstein hesitated again, Caster pursued the issue (Tr. 16-18):*fn3

    CASTER: (Sighs). In order to make this
  recording [of the Cane-Goldstein conversation],
  we had to have somebody's consent. Since it
  wasn't yours, it had to have been his. Okay? Now
  if he's telling me that he sold to you, five
  pounds of gold salts on one occasion, and 20
  pounds on another occasion, since this has been
  proven true and confirmed by yourself and your
  wife, I can only assume that he's accurate and
  that he's told us the truth about him selling you
  gold salts.

GOLDSTEIN: What you're saying makes sense.

    CASTER: So as I told you before, I'd just like
  to finish this out, and you be straightforward
  with us. We're trying to solve it. I wanna
  know . . .

GOLDSTEIN: Okay. .

    CASTER: . . how often, the amount you paid and
  what you did with the items? Okay?
    GOLDSTEIN: Okay, ah, now, what's, what's my
  best (inaudible). Ah, I see where I sit now. Ah,
  I don't know if I'm in deep trouble or no trouble
  or what?
    CASTER: We don't know how deep the water is. I
  agree with you.
    GOLDSTEIN: Okay, ah, do I need a lawyer at this
  point or or ah, am I candid to talk to ya. I mean
  what position am I in? Ah, to do, if, if, if, you
  say I if I did everything that you've said I did,
  ah, am I ah, ah, an accomplice to anything? Ah,
  what what, what is my ah, situation in this
  ah . . .

CASTER: (Clears throat). .

    GOLDSTEIN: And Lou Lou Cane, ah, ah, he came in
  here, the other day . . . with your knowledge. .

CASTER: Uh hum.

    GOLDSTEIN: Ah, and ah, what he's saving his own
  neck to trap me? Or or ah, I just don't
  understand that.
    CASTER: I, I don't, I can't explain what
  anybody's motives are. Okay? We happen to know
  that the thefts took place. We're now trying to
  solve the crime.

GOLDSTEIN: Sure. .

    CASTER: We believe we have solved it. We're now
  trying to find out who eventually got the gold
  salts, so that we can make proper restitution to
  the rightful owners. Okay? That's, that's what
  it's all about. Okay, so whether you want, need
  an attorney, that's something that you can decide
  and that's something that we aren't really
  allowed to advise or suggest to you.
    CASTER: One of the things that we're interested
  in knowing, was who was responsible for
  ...

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