United States District Court, D. Maine
RECOMMENDED DECISION ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
his motion to suppress (ECF No. 17), Defendant seeks to
exclude from evidence statements he made during and following
his arrest on September 7, 2016. Defendant contends he made
the statements without the benefit of a Miranda
warning.The Government maintains that because the
statements were not the result of a custodial interrogation,
the statements are not excludable.
consideration of the record evidence and the parties'
arguments, I recommend the Court deny the motion.
Findings of Fact
parties agree that for purposes of the motion, the facts are
as set forth in the report attached to the Government's
response. (ECF No. 20-1.) I recommend, therefore, the Court
find the facts included in the report, which facts are
September 7, 2016, at approximately 7 a.m., law enforcement
officers knocked on the door of Defendant's residence in
Thomaston, Connecticut. A woman answered the door. When the
officers asked if Defendant was home, the woman directed the
officers to a first floor bedroom where Defendant was
sleeping. One of the officers, agent Nappi, recognized
Defendant from a photograph he reviewed earlier. Agent Nappi
then handcuffed Defendant with the Defendant's hands in
front of Defendant.
in the bedroom, Defendant told the officers his name was
“Michael, ” that he had been stabbed in the
abdomen on the previous day, but had left the hospital
against medical advice, and that he was addicted to heroin.
When the officers noticed a cellular telephone on the bed
next to Defendant, Defendant said the phone belonged to
officers subsequently placed Defendant in a law enforcement
vehicle to transport him to the local police station. On
route to the police station, one of the officers read
Defendant his Miranda rights. Defendant stated he
understood his rights, and agreed to speak with the law
enforcement officers. After arrival at the police station,
Defendant was placed in an interview room, where Defendant
made other statements, including that “Warren”
was probably responsible for Defendant's arrest, that he
would “take care” of “Warren, ” that
he only came to Maine to “get high, ” that he was
not a large-scale drug distributor, and that he only sold
oxycodone, which he obtained through a legitimate
contends the statements he made at his home should be
excluded from evidence at trial because he made the
statements without the benefit of a Miranda warning.
He also argues that under the circumstances, the subsequent
Miranda warning was ineffective as to the
interrogation that followed the warning. Defendant,
therefore, seeks to exclude all statements he made to law
enforcement on September 7.
Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444 (1966), the
United States Supreme Court stated, “the prosecution
may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory,
stemming from custodial interrogation of the defendant unless
it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to
secure the privilege against self-incrimination.”
“The custodial interrogation inquiry necessarily
demands determination of its two subsidiary components: 1)
custody and 2) interrogation.” United States v.
Ventura, 85 F.3d 708, 710 (1st Cir. 1996).
about Miranda custody begin by examining all of the
circumstances surrounding the interrogation and asking
whether a reasonable person would have felt he or she was not
at liberty to terminate the interrogation and leave.”
United States v. Ellison, 632 F.3d 727, 729 (1st
Cir. 2010) (citations and internal quotations omitted). Here,
given that law enforcement placed Defendant in handcuffs at
the beginning of their encounter with Defendant, the
Government concedes that Defendant was in custody when he
spoke with law enforcement. The issue is whether Defendant
was subject to an interrogation while in custody.
refers to both express questioning and its ‘functional
equivalent, ' which includes 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 subject.'” United States v.
Ventura, 85 F.3d at 711 (quoting Rhode Island v.
Innis, 446 U.S. 291, 301 (1980)). “[T]he inquiry
is objective: how would the officer's statements and
conduct be perceived by a reasonable person in the same
asked to elicit background information, such as name,
address, and similar information (sometimes referred to as
“routine booking questions”) are generally not
considered to be part of a criminal interrogation because the
questions rarely generate an incriminating response.
United States v. Sanchez, 817 F.3d 38, 45 (1st Cir.
2016). However, background and biographical inquiries can
constitute an interrogation “where the law enforcement
officer, in the guise of asking for background information,
seeks to elicit information that may incriminate.”
Id. (quoting United States v. Doe, 878 F.2d
1546, 1551 (1st Cir. 1989)). The determination “turns
on an objective test that asks whether the questions and
circumstances were such that the officer should have
reasonably expected ...