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United States v. West

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

June 6, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ANTONIO WEST, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

CHARLES P. KOCORAS, District Judge.

The defendant Antonio West has filed a Motion to Suppress Evidence on the basis that the searches conducted by police officers resulting in the seizure of evidence to be offered at trial and any statements made by the defendant around the time of the search and seizure were the product of constitutional violations. The Government's Answer to the Motion denies the assertions made. Because of the fact questions raised by the parties' submissions, an evidentiary hearing was held on December 11, 2012 and January 15, 2013 in order for the Court to hear evidence necessary to decide Defendant's motion.

After the evidentiary hearings were completed, each side was afforded the opportunity to submit briefs in support of its position. The Court has reviewed these submissions. In addition to those submissions, the Court has relied on the testimony received at the hearing and the exhibits admitted. In addition to testimony and exhibits received in evidence at the hearing, the Court has also reviewed affidavits and medical reports bearing on the issues presented.

Defendant West's motion asserts violations of both his Fourth and Fifth Amendment Constitutional rights. In his post evidentiary hearing memorandum, West asserts that four issues remain to be decided:

1. Was West given his Miranda warnings before being questioned?
2. Did the police have probable cause to arrest West, or have an articulable suspicion to detain West when he entered the apartment at 1332 W. 92nd Street in Chicago?
3. Did West have a sufficient understanding of the consent to search form to knowingly and intelligently waive his right to be free of a search without a search warrant?
4. Was the consent to search obtained prior to the search of the Loomis street residence?

On June 3, 2010, Officer Michael Carroll testified that he and his partner, Everado Bracamontes, were on the south side of Chicago in the afternoon as part of a South Saturation Team. The two received a radio call that a number of male Blacks were seen carrying large-screen televisions in the area of 1330 W. 92nd Street. Shortly before this call, another call had been received concerning a house burglary involving two stolen television sets.

The officers observed a number of men at the 1330 W. 92nd Street location with one of them, the defendant West, carrying a television set. Carroll and Bracamontes followed the men into the apartment. In short order, all of the men in the apartment, including West, were placed in handcuffs.

Other police officers arrived and assisted in the cuffing of the men. West was escorted outside while the victim was brought to the scene in order to identify the television. West was told he was under arrest for possession of a stolen television. At this point, Officer Carroll read to West his Miranda rights from a preprinted card. West stated that he understood his Miranda rights after he heard them and did not ask any questions about them. West did not appear to be confused, intoxicated, or otherwise unaware or uncomprehending of his circumstances.

Officer Carroll then had a conversation with West. Carroll described West as cooperative. West emphatically denied stealing the television and told Carroll he was simply paid $10.00 by a man to move it. At some point, Carroll began to believe that West did not steal the television, but pressed West for the location of a second television that had been stolen. After being told by Carroll that West would not be charged with burglary if he would help the victim get his stuff back by telling him where the other television was, Officer Carroll asked West for consent to search his house. West was given the consent to search form and was told it would allow the police to go into his house and get the TV for the victim. West read the form, read parts of it aloud to himself, and was told he did not have to sign the form. West was not told he would be arrested for burglary if he did not sign the form. West signed the consent to search form with the time of 16:40 on the form. This activity between West and Carroll took place while the other detainees were still at the scene of 1330 W. 92nd Street with West.

After West signed the form, he told Carroll that the television was in the walk-up attic in the back bedroom of his house. Carroll and other officers traveled to 9238 S. Loomis to search West's house. Carroll found a large-screen television in the attic. About a foot from the television set was an M-1 carbine rifle, the subject matter of the instant indictment.

Sometime later, West and the other detainees were taken to a police station. While there, Carroll testified that he told West he found the TV in the attic where West said it would be, and that West was not going to be charged for breaking into the house and the burglary - as he had promised. He testified he told West he would be charged for possession of the TV's, but they found the "other thing up there" and could not let it go. Carroll said West looked unhappy and told Carroll he knew what he was saying, but that it was a safe place to keep the rifle. Carroll showed West the rifle. Officer Bracamontes corroborated Office Carroll's ...


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