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United States v. Gallardo

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

January 15, 2015



AMY J. ST. EVE, District Judge.

Before the Court is Defendant Angel Aguilar's ("Aguilar") motion to suppress his post-arrest statements. For the following reasons, the Court denies Defendant's motion.


On August 15, 2013, the grand jury returned a nine-count indictment against Aguilar and Defendant Adriana Gallardo Flores ("Flores") alleging money laundering and structuring offenses under 18 U.S.C. § 1956 and 31 U.S.C. § 5324 (R. 1, Indictment.) The government arrested Flores on May 29, 2013, pursuant to a criminal complaint. (R. 36-2, Criminal Compl.) Flores made statements to the government following her arrest, and filed a motion to suppress those statements on March 14, 2014.

As discussed in more detail in the Court's October 21, 2014 Memorandum Opinion and Order (R. 56, the "October 2014 Opinion"), the court[1] held a hearing on Flores's motion to suppress over two days beginning on May 13, 2014. After hearing testimony from a number of witnesses, including Flores, the court suppressed Flores's post-arrest statements. Specifically, the court found that: 1) Flores invoked her right to counsel at the scene of the arrest; (R. 40, 5/14/2014 Tr. 52-53) 2) Flores invoked her right to counsel again after the government brought her to the DEA offices; ( Id. 53-54) and 3) the law enforcement officers' conversation with Flores at the DEA offices before Flores waived her Miranda rights constituted a custodial interrogation because it was intended to induce Flores to waive her rights and make incriminating admissions in response. ( Id. 54-56; 65.) The court also suppressed evidence found by law enforcement on Flores's cell phone and during a later search of her office and residence as "fruit of the poisonous tree" derived from Flores's suppressed statements. ( Id. 65-66.)

On August 6, 2014, the government filed a motion to narrow the court's May 14, 2014 suppression ruling. (R. 45.) For the reasons detailed in the Court's October 2014 Opinion, it granted the government's motion. The Court found that because Flores invoked her right to counsel at the scene of her arrest and did not re-initiate communication with law enforcement, the court did not need to reach any additional possible bases for suppression. See Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 101 S.Ct. 1880, 68 L.Ed.2d 378 (1981). The Court ordered that Flores's post-arrest statements in the interview at the DEA office, and any evidence obtained in the subsequent searches of Flores's office, residence, and cell phone remain suppressed.

Aguilar now moves to suppress statements that he made to law enforcement officers that he contends were derived from Flores's suppressed post-arrest statements. In support of his motion, Aguilar alleges the following facts, which the government does not contest. After the government arrested Flores on May 29, 2013, the officers showed her photographs of an individual taken from Wells Fargo branches in the Chicago area. Flores identified this person as her son, Defendant Aguilar. Flores also told agents that Aguilar made at least one deposit for her at a Wells Fargo bank. On August 20, 2013, IRS agents arrested and interrogated Aguilar, and asked him similar questions regarding the alleged money laundering scheme.

Aguilar argues that the Court should suppress the statements he made to the government on August 20, 2013 because the government focused on Aguilar as a result of the now-suppressed statements of Flores. Without Flores's statements, Aguilar contends that the government would never have "zeroed in" on him. (R. 60, Def.'s Mot., at 2.) Aguilar does not argue that the government took his statements in violation of his Miranda rights, or any other bases for suppression.


The Fifth Amendment provides that "no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." U.S. CONST. amend. V. To protect this privilege against self-incrimination, the Supreme Court held in Miranda v. Arizona that "a suspect must be informed of, and voluntarily waive" his Fifth Amendment rights, including the right to counsel, "before being subjected to custodial interrogation." United States v. Robinson, 586 F.3d 540, 545 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966)); see also United States v. Pelletier, 700 F.3d 1109, 1114 (7th Cir. 2012) (" Miranda v. Arizona requires police to read a series of warnings to suspects before putting them through custodial interrogation.").


Aguilar moves to suppress his statements because the government allegedly targeted him as a result of information it learned from Flores's suppressed post-arrest statements. In response, the government makes several arguments. First, it argues that Aguilar does not have standing to object to violations of Flores's constitutional rights.[2] Second, the government contends that it had information that independently led it to approach Aguilar and take his statement apart from the information it learned from Flores.[3]

I. Constitutional Rights of Defendant Aguilar

The government first argues that Aguilar does not have standing to suppress the statements at issue based on violations of Flores's Miranda rights. The Supreme Court has long held that "the privilege against compulsory self-incrimination should be limited to its historic function of protecting only the natural individual from compulsory incrimination through his own testimony or personal records." Bellis v. United States, 417 U.S. 85, 89-90, 94 S.Ct. 2179, 40 L.Ed.2d 678 (1974) (quotation omitted). "Generally, individuals not personally the victims of illegal government activity cannot assert the constitutional rights of others." United States v. Chiavola, 744 F.2d 1271, 1273 (7th Cir. 1984) (citing United States ex rel. Cunningham v. DeRobertis, 719 F.2d 892, 895-96 (7th Cir. 1983)); see also United States v. Hurt, 92 F.3d 1188, at *2 (7th Cir 1996) (unpublished). Although a violation of a non-defendant's Fifth Amendment rights may result in a fundamentally unfair trial for the ...

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