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United States v. Vicente

United States District Court, D. Maine

April 19, 2017




         Mr. Vicente moves to suppress from evidence any statements he made during and following his arrest on September 7, 2016 contending that he made the initial statements without the benefit of a Miranda warning, which rendered the subsequent Miranda warnings ineffective. The Government maintains that because the initial statements were not the result of custodial interrogation, the warnings were effective and none of the statements is excludable.

         The Magistrate Judge concluded that the officer's pre-warning questions fell within the routine booking exception to Miranda and recommended that the Court deny the motion to suppress in its entirety. After a de novo determination, the Court affirms the Magistrate Judge's recommended decision except with respect to the statements made about heroin in response to the officer's question of whether the defendant “took any drugs.” The Court therefore denies in part and grants in part Mr. Vicente's motion to suppress.


         On June 8, 2016, a federal grand jury indicted Michael Vicente with one count of knowingly and intentionally conspiring with others to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a mixture or substance containing oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1). Indictment (ECF No. 3). Mr. Vicente pleaded not guilty to Count One of the Indictment on October 6, 2016. Min. Entry (ECF No. 12).

         On October 26, 2016, Mr. Vicente filed a motion to suppress any statements he made both before and after being advised of his Miranda rights on the date of his arrest. Mot. to Suppress (ECF No. 17) (Def.'s Mot.). On November 15, 2016, the Government objected to the Defendant's motion. Gov't's Obj. to Def.'s Mot. to Suppress (ECF No. 20) (Gov't's Opp'n).

         The Magistrate Judge held an oral argument on the motion on January 11, 2017 and issued a recommended decision on February 7, 2017. Min. Entry (ECF No. 24); Recommended Decision on Def.'s Mot. to Suppress (ECF No. 25) (Rec. Dec.). On February 20, 2017, Mr. Vicente objected to the recommended decision. Def.'s Obj. to the Magistrate Judge's Recommended Decision (ECF No. 26). The Government responded to Mr. Vicente's objections on February 23, 2017. Gov't's Resp. to the Def.'s Obj. to the Recommended Decision of the Magistrate Judge (ECF No. 27).


         On September 7, 2016, at approximately 7:00 a.m., law enforcement officers knocked on the door of Mr. Vicente's residence in Thomaston, Connecticut. A woman answered the door. When the officers asked if Mr. Vicente was home, the woman directed the officers to a first floor bedroom where Mr. Vicente was sleeping. One of the officers, Agent Nappi, recognized Mr. Vicente from a photograph he reviewed earlier. Agent Nappi handcuffed Mr. Vicente with his hands in front of him.

         While in the bedroom, Mr. Vicente 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.[2] When the officers noticed a cellular telephone on the bed next to Mr. Vicente, Mr. Vicente said the phone belonged to him.[3]

         Two officers subsequently placed Mr. Vicente in a law enforcement vehicle to transport him to the local police station. On route to the police station, one of the officers read Mr. Vicente his Miranda rights. Mr. Vicente said he understood his rights and agreed to speak with the law enforcement officers. After arrival at the police station, Mr. Vicente was placed in an interview room where Mr. Vicente made other statements, including that “Warren” was probably responsible for his 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 prescription.


         A. Legal Standard

         As the Magistrate Judge's Recommended Decision is on a motion to “suppress evidence in a criminal case, ” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), this Court reviews the Recommended Decision de novo. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B); see also Fed. R. Crim. P. 59(b)(3) (“The district judge must consider de novo any ...

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