United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
CHARLES RONALD NORGLE, JUDGE
Barfield's motion to reconsider  is granted.
Defendant Barfield"s motion to suppress  is denied.
Thomas Barfield ("Defendant" or
"Barfield") has moved to suppress his post-arrest
statements made to law enforcement during a roughly five-hour
interrogation on June 28, 2018. Barfield had been arrested
earlier that day after a more than year-long federal
narcotics investigation in Chicago's Austin neighborhood,
which resulted in the present ten-defendant drug distribution
and money laundering conspiracy case. The interrogation began
at about 7:15 a.m., and about three-and-a-half hours of the
questioning was audio recorded.
makes two arguments for suppression, each of which draws
directly from the audio recording of the interrogation, which
the Court has reviewed. First, Barfield argues that roughly
two-hours, 41-minutes into the interrogation he invoked his
right to remain silent and, despite that invocation, officers
continued to question him. The Government stated in response
that it will not rely on any statements made after that
alleged invocation, and thus this argument is moot for
purposes of this motion and any statements made after the
two-hour, 41-minute mark of the interrogation will not be
entered into evidence. See Dkt. 269 at 2. Second, Barfield
argues that the interrogating officers made a false promise
that there was a "way out" of prosecution for
Barfield and that this false promise, combined with
psychological pressure related to the fate of his former
intimate partner and co-defendant Quiera Walls, had the
effect of rendering all of Barfield"s statements
coerced. As to this second argument, the Court disagrees, and
for the following reasons Defendant's motion to suppress
relevant facts are as follows. On June 27, 2018, the
Government filed a complaint charging Defendant with
conspiring with others to possess with intent to distribute
more than a kilogram of heroin and a quantity of fentanyl
from December 2017 to May 2018. On the morning on June 28,
2018, Defendant was arrested pursuant to a warrant. Following
his arrest, at approximately 7:15 a.m., Barfield was taken in
for questioning with Special Agents Hagee and Denwitz of the
Department of Homeland Security. The agents asked whether
Barfield had been arrested before and whether he understood
his rights, to which he responded yes. Tr. 5:11-14. Agent
Denwitz then read Barfield his rights and stated that if he
understood his rights he should print and sign his name to a
Miranda waiver form, which he did. Tr. 6:15-7:9. The
agents began asking Barfield biographical questions,
including his age (36), the number of children he had
(seven), about his girlfriend (Alice), and what he did for a
living (he had previously worked in waste management but had
been out of work for a year). See Tr. 7-11.
agents then transitioned to a discussion of what had been
going on historically at the corners of S. Homan Ave. and W.
Douglas Blvd, where agents had been investigating alleged
narcotics trafficking. Tr. 16. The agents began showing
Barfield photos of various individuals and asking him to
identify them. Tr. 20-34. The tenor of the conversation
shifted, however, when the agents played Barfield audio of a
conversation that Barfield had had that law enforcement had
recorded. Tr. 34:11. Agent Hagee then asked Barfield whether
the investigation was bigger than Barfield had originally
thought, to which Barfield expressed some surprise that
earlier in the conversation Hagee had said that Barfield was
normally a sharp dresser, from which Barfield said he
inferred that he was being surveilled. Hagee then said the
Mr. Hagee: . . . Here's the thing. There's - there
may be a way out of this. Okay? I know you're not all the
way at the top, but I know you're above Socks; right?
You're in the middle. I know there's people above
you; there's people below you; right?
Mr. Barfield: [Inaudible]
Mr. Hagee: Okay. So this is going to be - well, let's
kind of hit the restart button on this. All right? There may
be a way for you to sort of help yourself-
Mr. Barfield: You got a lot of Mexicans up in there. I
don't know no Mexicans.
Mr. Hagee: We'll get to that. That's where you come
in. That's where you might be able to help.
Tr. 35:12-36:2, Hagee then said he wanted to go through some
of the same photographs he had already shown Barfield, and
Barfield stated that he had already told the agents their
names. Denwitz then said:
Ms. Denwitz: ... it takes time to start to build the
relationship. So we - we're not, like, accusing you.
We're not telling you, like, we're pissed that that
happened that you - we expect that and we get it. And, like,
we understand you don't us yet either. So that's why
we're, like, here -
Mr. Barfield: I didn't say I don't trust you all.
Ms. Denwitz: But, I mean, that's how it is. I don't
trust you right away. Like we're going to communicate and
figure things out together. We understand why you're
being a little vague. Now, we kind of put more cards on the
table, and so we're going to give you an opportunity to
work with us. That's your biggest opportunity. You know
what I'm saying? So we're going to give you the
opportunity to work with us, and we'll go over some of
these photos and. you know . . .
Mr. Barfield: Okay.
Tr. 36:2-37:14. Next, Barfield expressed concern that after
the warrant had been executed that morning the house may have
been left accessible to potential burglars, and the agents
stated that the house would have been secured following the
arrest. Tr. 39:16-17. After a brief back and forth, the
agents played another audio recording for Barfield, this one
from January 16, according to the agent. See Tr. 40-41.
Barfield and the agents then began talking about heroin.
Id. Almost immediately after talking about heroin,
the following exchange occurred:
Mr. Hagee: Okay. What's a pack of heroin?
Mr. Barfield: They call it 13 packs. I mean, like I said, you
all helping me [inaudible] can be used against me.
Mr. Hagee: It's both. Okay? So it's kind of a
double-edged sword. You got to talk to us in order ...