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U.S. v. CHARLES STATES

June 14, 2004.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Plaintiff,
v.
CHARLES STATES Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MICHAEL MASON, Magistrate Judge

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

The District Court has referred defendant Charles States' ("States") motion to suppress to this Court for an evidentiary hearing and a Report and Recommendation. States seeks to suppress all statements he made to law enforcement officers following his arrest on October 9, 2002, arguing that they were made in violation of his right against compelled self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. We conducted an evidentiary hearing on June 3, 2004. After carefully considering the sworn testimony of Officer John Cruz, Officer Steve Flores, Detective Brian Johnson, Detective Rich Sullivan, Officer John Graham, Agent Richard Hardgrave and defendant Charles States; the documents entered into evidence by the government;*fn1 and the written submissions by both parties, we make the following findings of fact and conclusions of law. For the reasons set forth below, this Court respectfully recommends that the District Court DENY States' motion to suppress.

Findings of Fact

  In May, 2002, States was charged, pursuant to a criminal complaint, with participation in a drug conspiracy. The complaint alleged that as part of the conspiracy, States participated in numerous kidnapings in which some victims were severely beaten. That month, this Court issued an arrest warrant for States in connection with the charges in the complaint. Around 12:30 a.m. on October 9, 2002, based on information from an informant, Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") agents and Chicago Police Department ("CPD") officers went to a multi-unit apartment building at 1246*fn2 E. 79th Street to execute the arrest warrant for States. Two FBI agents and three CPD officers ("Arresting Authorities") entered the apartment building and proceeded to apartment #307 on the third floor, where they believed States was located.

  At that time States and a female, Felicia Waller, were inside apartment #307. When the Arresting Authorities reached the apartment, they repeatedly knocked on the door and announced that they were law enforcement officers. After not receiving a response, Officer Graham proceeded to strike the door with a sledgehammer. Upon hearing a "loud boom, boom, boom, at the door," States retrieved two semi-automatic pistols from the bedroom and began firing them at the door and in the direction of the Arresting Authorities, eventually shooting Officer Graham in the finger. In an attempt to protect themselves and to suppress States' gunfire, the Arresting Authorities returned fire through the door and into the apartment. At that time, the door to the apartment had not been breached.

  During the crossfire, States heard shouts of "FBI" and ceased his gunfire. Then, States threw the two semi-automatic pistols he had been firing out of an apartment window and tried to open the door, but it was jammed. Once the gunfire subsided, the Arresting Authorities kicked in the door and ordered States to get on the ground with his hands up and to crawl out of the apartment. Thereafter, States was frisked, handcuffed, arrested and placed in the backseat of a CPD patrol car assigned to Officers Cruz and Flores.*fn3 Officers Cruz and Flores were instructed to monitor States at the scene and to drive him to the Area 2 police station, located on 111th Street in Chicago.

  States remained in the patrol car at the scene for over an hour. During that time, he was asked for his name, social security number, and date of birth in order to run an identity check, but was not questioned further by any law enforcement officers.*fn4 In fact, Officers Cruz and Flores were specifically told by their supervisor, Sergeant Blysko, to make sure that no one talked to States. Both officers testified that they successfully executed Sergeant Blysko's orders and we find their testimony credible. Before States was transported to the Area 2 police station, he was also given a gun shot residue test, but again was not subjected to any questioning by law enforcement officers. Officers Cruz and Flores also testified that States never requested an attorney or stated that he wanted to remain silent and/or not speak to the officers. In fact, Officer Flores testified that States initiated conversations with the officers while he was in the backseat of the patrol car. Again, we find the testimony of the officers credible.

  Once States arrived at the Area 2 police station, he was placed in a witness room by himself until approximately 1 p.m. on October 9, 2002. Once at the police station and while in the witness room, the government's witnesses testified that States was never questioned about the shooting or his involvement in the drug conspiracy giving rise to the issuance of the warrant for his arrest. The averments in States' suppression motion and his testimony at the hearing do not contradict this testimony and, therefore, we find that States was not questioned by police during that period of time. The government's witnesses also testified that while at the station, States never requested an attorney or expressed an intent to remain silent. States disagrees. Again, we find the testimony of the government's witnesses credible and find that States did not request an attorney or express an intent to remain silent while at the station. At approximately 1 p.m. on October 9, 2002, Detective Johnson escorted States from the witness room to a conference room at the police station. Agent Hardgrave, Agent Schulte and Assistant States Attorney Tony Garcia were already in the conference room when Detective Johnson and States arrived. The individuals introduced themselves to States and then Agent Schulte read States his Miranda rights for the first time since he was taken into custody that day. Thereafter, Agent Schulte gave States the Interrogation — Advice of Rights form. States read the form and signed the Waiver section at 1:09 p.m. according to the time on the form.*fn5 (Government's Ex. 2) Thereafter, the law enforcement officers, for the first time, began interrogating States. As a result of the interrogation, States made incriminating statements which he now seeks to suppress.

  Conclusions of Law

  The only issue before this Court is the alleged violation of States' Fifth Amendment right to be free from compelled self-incrimination while subject to custodial interrogation.*fn6 The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution protects against compelled self-incrimination. In Miranda v. Arizona, the Supreme Court addressed the issue of compelled self-incrimination in the context of custodial interrogation, finding that "without proper safeguards the process of in-custody interrogation . . . contains inherently compelling pressures which work to undermine the individual's will to resist and to compel him to speak where he would not otherwise do so freely." 384 U.S. 436, 467 (1966). To combat the inherent pressures custodial interrogation presents, the Miranda Court established "a `series of recommended `procedural safeguards' . . . [that] were not themselves rights protected by the Constitution but were instead measures to insure that the right against compulsory self-incrimination was protected.'" Davis v. United States, 512 U.S. 452, 457 (1994) (quoting Michigan v. Tucker, 417 U.S. 433, 443-44 (1974)). Those procedural safeguards include "the now familiar Miranda warnings — namely, that the defendant be informed `that he has the right to remain silent, that anything he says can be used against him in a court of law, that he has the right to the presence of an attorney, and that if he cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for him prior to any questioning if he so desires'." Rhode Island v. Innis, 446 U.S. 291, 297 (1980) (quoting Miranda, 438 U.S. at 479). These rights are only necessary in the context of custodial interrogation. Miranda, 384 U.S. at 444.

  Because a person's right to Miranda safeguards is limited to the context of custodial interrogation, the Supreme Court has repeatedly addressed what constitutes custodial interrogation, initially defining it as "questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way." Id. Later, the Supreme Court refined the definition stating that it "must reflect a measure of compulsion above and beyond that inherent in custody itself." Innis, 446 U.S. at 300-01. Ultimately, the Court found that interrogation under Miranda "refers not only to express questioning, but also to any words or actions on the part of the police (other than those normally attendant to arrest and custody) that the police should know are reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response from the suspect." Id. "A practice that the police should know is reasonably likely to evoke an incriminating response from a suspect thus amounts to interrogation." Id. at 301.

  With a refined definition of interrogation in place, courts began to recognize situations in which Miranda protections do not apply. For example, a defendant is not entitled to Miranda protections when subject to "routine booking" questions because they are not designed to elicit incriminating responses. Pennsylvania v. Muniz, 496 U.S. 582, 600-601 (1990). Booking questions include inquiries regarding a defendant's "name, address, height, weight, eye color, date of birth, and current age." Id. at 600.

  Additionally, because Miranda warnings are a prophylactic measure created by the Court to prevent the inherently compelling pressure created by custodial interrogation, they only attach in that context. United States v. LaGrone, 43 F.3d 332, 339 (7th Cir. 1994). A person cannot anticipatorily invoke his Miranda rights. Id. at 340. "[I]n order for a defendant to invoke his Miranda rights the authorities must be conducting interrogation, or interrogation must be imminent." Id. (relying on McNeil v. Wisconsin, 501 U.S. 171, 182 n. 3 (1991) ("We have in fact never held that a person can invoke his Miranda rights anticipatorily, in a context other than `custodial interrogation'.").*fn7 States' Verified Motion to Suppress

  Now that we have outlined the law applicable to States' motion to suppress, we analyze whether there are any facts to support his argument that his post-arrest statements were obtained ...


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