APPEALS FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO Hon. Juan M.
Pérez-Giménez, U.S. District Judge
F. Castro Lang for appellant Hector Serrano-Acevedo.
L. Sultan, with whom Kerry A. Haberlin and Rankin &
Sultan were on brief, for appellant Virgilio Diaz-Jimenez.
Nicholas W. Cannon, Assistant United States Attorney, with
whom Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States
Attorney, and Mariana E. Bauzá-Almonte, Assistant
United States Attorney, Chief, Appellate Division, were on
brief, for appellee.
Lynch, Kayatta, and Barron, Circuit Judges.
address in this case important questions of Fourth Amendment
protections in a person's home. As we did in United
States v. Delgado-Pérez, 867
F.3d 244 (1st Cir. 2017), we conclude that the government
overstepped the mark and that a motion to suppress the fruits
of a warrantless search of a defendant's home in Puerto
Rico should have been granted.
Diaz-Jimenez ("Diaz") and Hector Serrano-Acevedo
("Serrano"), after a joint trial, were found guilty
of armed bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113,
and possession of a firearm during and in relation to a crime
of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924. Both
defendants challenge their convictions, arguing that key
portions of the evidence introduced against them were
argues that the government's warrantless search of his
home violated his Fourth Amendment rights and that the
district court erred by denying his motion to suppress the
evidence uncovered during that search. Finding that the
government's search does not fit within the protective
sweep or voluntary consent exceptions under Fourth Amendment
doctrine, the only even arguably relevant exceptions to the
warrant requirement, we hold that the search of Diaz's
home was unconstitutional. The evidence uncovered during that
search was central to the prosecution's case at trial,
rendering this error prejudicial. We vacate Diaz's
conviction and remand for further proceedings consistent with
the other defendant, argues that several testimonial
statements made during the trial, some of which referenced
statements made by a confidential informant who did not
testify, were impermissible hearsay testimony. If there was
any error, it was harmless, so we affirm Serrano's
review the district court's "legal conclusions
involved in denying a motion to suppress the evidence de novo
and its findings of fact for clear error."
Delgado-Pérez, 867 F.3d at 250 (quoting
United States v. Marshall, 348
F.3d 281, 284 (1st Cir. 2003)). "On a motion to suppress
evidence seized on the basis of a warrantless search, the
presumption favors the defendant, and it is the
government's burden to demonstrate the legitimacy of the
search." Id. (quoting United States
v. Winston, 444 F.3d 115, 123-24 (1st Cir.
armed men entered the Oriental Bank in San Lorenzo, Puerto
Rico around 8:30 AM on June 17, 2013. The first gunman
brandished his firearm and ordered the bank's security
officer to "kneel down." The robbers told everyone
in the bank to get on the ground. The second gunman then
ordered the bank's employees to open the vault. After the
bank employees turned over the money in the vault area to the
robbers, the gunmen left the bank and drove away in a white
Puerto Rico Police Department provided a description of the
van and its likely escape routes over the police radio.
Officer Hector Ortíz-Alicia, hearing this, drove
towards one of the possible escape routes. Once in the area,
he saw a white van stopped by the side of the road.
Ortíz-Alicia testified at trial that an armed
individual got out of the van and, despite
Ortíz-Alicia's orders to stop, fled into a grassy
area nearby. Other testimony at the suppression hearing was
that two people were seen leaving the van.
requested backup. Police searched the area with the help of a
helicopter, but were unable to find the armed individual. The
FBI and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement
("ICE") Task Force reported to the scene. Agent
Aristedes Vázquez-Díaz from the ICE Task Force
reported to Agent Félix Rivera from the ...