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United States v. Spruill

July 11, 2002

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
RODNEY SPRUILL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. No. 00 CR 0114--John C. Shabaz, Judge.

Before Manion, Rovner, and Evans, Circuit Judges.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Manion, Circuit Judge.

ARGUED JANUARY 7, 2002

On December 13, 2000, a federal grand jury indicted Rodney Spruill for the prostitution of minors and the transportation of minors across state lines for the purpose of prostitution. On January 11, 2001, Chicago police arrested Spruill, and, after a full day of interrogation by federal agents, Spruill signed a statement acknowledging his role in the prostitution ring. Subsequently, Spruill moved to suppress that statement contending that it was obtained in violation of his Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Following a hearing, the magistrate judge recommended granting the motion, but on April 13, 2001, the district court disagreed and issued an order denying the motion to suppress. Spruill entered a plea of guilty conditioned on the right to appeal the district court's order. On June 25, 2001, the district court entered a judgment of conviction and sentenced him to 57 months' imprisonment. Spruill now appeals both the district court's denial of his motion to suppress and the sentence imposed by the district court. We affirm.

I. Background

On December 13, 2000, a federal grand jury indicted Rodney Spruill in the Western District of Wisconsin with federal crimes related to child prostitution. Spruill's prostitution ring was brought to the attention of the government when a minor in Wisconsin, identified as L.B., contacted police after several conversations with Spruill and other prostitutes in his employ. During the telephone conversations with Spruill and other prostitutes, L.B. falsely represented to them that she would be willing to travel to Chicago. Subsequently, when one of Spruill's co-defendants, Cynthia Stepanek, arrived in Wisconsin to take L.B. to Chicago, Stepanek was arrested by local police in a sting operation.

After Stepanek's arrest, a grand jury indicted Spruill with: (1) conspiring to transport individuals in interstate commerce with intent that those individuals engage in prostitution in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422(a); (2) knowingly transporting an individual in interstate commerce who had not attained the age of 18 years with intent that the individual engage in prostitution in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2423(a); and (3) attempting to transport an individual in interstate commerce who had not attained the age of 18 years with intent that the individual engage in prostitution in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2423(a). On January 11, 2001, the Chicago Police department arrested Spruill on the district court's indictment and held him overnight. At approximately 7:00 the next morning, F.B.I. agents Katherine Brusuelas and Joshua Skule picked him up and transported him to the F.B.I.'s main office in Chicago. Spruill did not say anything during the ride, nor was he asked any questions.

Upon arriving at F.B.I. headquarters, Spruill was informed that he, along with Stepanek, had been charged with prostitution of minors and the transportation of minors across state lines for the purpose of prostitution. The agents then read Spruill his Miranda warnings from a preprinted form. After Spruill was advised of his rights, he signed the Miranda form and agreed to speak with the agents without an attorney present. Spruill was fed breakfast and then interviewed for several hours. During this initial interview, Spruill acknowledged some awareness of the prostitution business, but implicated Stepanek.

The agents interviewed Spruill again during the early afternoon and he again implicated others in the prostitution ring and failed to acknowledge his own participation. Spruill was then left alone for several hours. In the meantime, the court scheduled an initial appearance for Spruill at 5:20 that afternoon pursuant to the Northern District of Illinois's "17-hour rule" which requires the government to present a defendant for an initial appearance within 17 hours after being taken into federal custody. Also, during this time, the U.S. Attorney's office contacted the federal defender's office and informed them that Spruill had been taken into custody. Heather Winslow, an attorney with the defender's office, was assigned to represent him at his initial appearance. Winslow arranged with the Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) assigned to the case to meet with Spruill at 5:00 p.m. so that she could interview him prior to the hearing.

As 5:00 p.m. approached, the agents informed Spruill of his initial appearance and advised him that he had one last chance to recant his story or otherwise have his version of the events memorialized and given to the prosecuting attorneys. Spruill told them he decided to tell the truth about his participation in the prostitution ring. But, because the 17-hour deadline was at hand, the agents needed to have Spruill waive his right to an initial appearance in order to continue with the interview. Agent Brusuelas later testified that at that point Spruill was again advised that he had the right to speak with an attorney. He passed on that opportunity and read and signed a waiver of his previously scheduled initial appearance. Both the AUSA and Winslow were informed that the initial hearing would have to be rescheduled because Spruill was willing to cooperate with the agents. When she was informed of Spruill's decision, Winslow expressed concern to the AUSA that Spruill had waived his right to his initial appearance without benefit of counsel.

That evening, Spruill finally acknowledged his role in the prostitution ring and the agents prepared a written statement outlining Spruill's factual assertions. The first paragraph of the statement recites, in part, that "I have been advised of my rights to counsel and silence and wish to make a written statement." Spruill initialed and signed the document, adopting it as his own at 8:30 p.m.

Spruill made reference to an attorney only once from the time he was arrested on January 11 until he signed the statement on the evening of January 12. When the subject of a possible polygraph exam was raised during one of the day-time interviews, Spruill stated that he would only consent to an exam if he first could speak with an attorney. He agreed, however, to continue talking to agents without speaking with an attorney so long as no polygraph test was to be administered. Aside from this conditional request, Spruill never asked for counsel during the day or evening interviews. Spruill was arraigned on January 15, 2001, at which time he was officially appointed counsel for his defense. Subsequently, on March 8, 2001, Spruill filed a motion to suppress his statement and, after a hearing, the magistrate judge issued a report recommending suppression of the confession on Sixth Amendment grounds.

The district court rejected the magistrate judge's recommendation and denied Spruill's motion to suppress. On April 13, 2001, Spruill entered a guilty plea to count one of the indictment, conditioned on his right to appeal the denial of his suppression motion, and the remaining counts were dismissed. The district court then sentenced Spruill to 57 months in prison based on a total offense level of 24, which established a sentencing range of 51 to 63 months. The offense level included a two-point enhancement for enticing a second victim to participate in the prostitution ring. The second victim was identified as L.B., the minor who contacted police prior to any activity as a prostitute or interstate travel. Spruill timely filed an objection to the offense-level computation with ...


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