United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER [RESOLVING ECF NOS.
Y. Pearson United States District Judge.
before the Court are Defendant's Motion to Suppress (ECF
No. 13) and Motion in Limine (ECF No. 15). The Government
responded. ECF No. 17. During the June 5, 2017 Final Pretrial
Conference, the Court heard from counsel on both
Motions. For the following reasons, the Motion to
Suppress is denied, in part, and the Government agrees to
self-suppress the third statement. In the alternative, the
Motion to Suppress is granted, in part. The Government also
agrees to self-suppress the facts underlying the arrest
warrant. In the alternative, the Motion in Limine is granted.
Motion to Suppress (ECF No. 13)
moves to suppress three statements made during his arrest and
while in custody, as well as evidence obtained during the
search of Defendant's mother's rental vehicle. For
the following reasons, Defendant's Motion to Suppress the
first two statements is denied. The third statement is
self-suppressed, or in the alternative, the Motion to
Suppress the third statement is granted. Defendant's
Motion to Suppress evidence from the search of the vehicle is
January 23, 2017, members of the Northern Ohio Violent
Fugitive Task Force (“NOVFTF”), aware that
Defendant was under indictment and had a pending arrest
warrant in a separate case, attempted to locate and arrest
Defendant. ECF No. 17 at PageID #: 58-59. After conducting
surveillance on Defendant's girlfriend's residence,
members of NOVFTF positively identified Defendant.
Id. at PageID #: 59. NOVFTF members then watched
Defendant and his girlfriend enter a silver Nissan Altima
with Florida license plates-Defendant as driver, and his
girlfriend as passenger. Id. After the pair pulled
out of the driveway, NOVFTF members activated their overhead
emergency lights and stopped the car. Id.
Force Officer (“TFO”) Cantlin attempted to remove
Defendant from the car, Defendant voluntarily stated, without
being questioned, “I have a gun.” ECF No. 13 at
PageID #: 43; ECF No. 17 at PageID #: 59. The officers asked
Defendant where the gun was located, to which he replied,
“It's under my seat.” ECF No. 13 at PageID #:
43; ECF No. 17 at PageID #: 60. Officers ordered Defendant to
exit from the car and performed a search, which yielded a
firearm, a Taurus, Model PT145 PRO, .45 caliber pistol,
serial number NDR57880, under the driver's seat. ECF No.
17 at PageID #: 60. The firearm was loaded with .45 caliber
ammunition. Id. During transport from the arrest
location to Garfield Heights Jail, an officer asked Defendant
if he thought the gun was stolen. Id. He replied,
“I didn't steal it, I bought it in the
streets.” ECF No. 13 at PageID #: 43; ECF No. 17 at
PageID #: 60.
his arrest, NOVFTF determined that the Nissan was a rental
vehicle not owned by Defendant or his girlfriend. ECF No. 17
at PageID #: 60. Defendant's mother had rented the
vehicle from Enterprise Rent-A-Car
(“Enterprise”). ECF No. 13 at PageID #: 43; ECF
No. 17 at PageID #: 60. It was not until Defendant's
mother arrived on the scene of the arrest, and NOVFTF
telephonically confirmed the rental with Enterprise, that
NOVFTF was able to release the vehicle to Defendant's
mother. ECF No. 17 at PageID#: 60.
was indicted for possession of a firearm and ammunition in
violation of Title 18, Sections 922(g)(1) and
924(e) of the United States Code.
moves to suppress his statements, arguing that they were made
in violation of his Miranda rights. ECF No.
13. Defendant also contends that the search of the
vehicle was a warrantless search, and, accordingly, the
firearm must be suppressed. Id. For the following
reasons, Defendant's Motion to Suppress his first two
statements and his Motion to suppress the firearm are denied.
Defendant's Motion to Suppress his third statement is
Defendant's First Statement
argues that he was not advised of his Miranda
rights, and, therefore, his statement that “I have a
gun” must be suppressed. ECF No. 13 at PageID #: 44.
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution
protects against self-incrimination. U.S. Const. amend.
V. A “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.” Miranda v.
Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444 (1966). “[T]he term
‘interrogation' under Miranda refers not
only to express questioning, but also to 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 suspect.” Rhode Island v. Innis, 446
U.S. 291, 301 (1980) (footnotes omitted). Volunteered
statements of any kind are not barred by the Fifth Amendment,
and their admissibility is not affected by
Miranda's holding. Miranda, 384 U.S. at
478; United States v. Collins, 683 F.3d 697, 703
(6th Cir. 2012).
is no dispute that Defendant was detained when he made all
three statements, and that he had not been advised of his
rights under Miranda. ECF No. 17 at PageID #: 60.
Nonetheless, Defendant's statement that he had a gun was
voluntary. He told the officers about the gun without being
prompted, and there is no indication that the officers
otherwise compelled him to volunteer that he had a gun.
Although Defendant “calls into question law
enforcement's self-serving account that his initial
statement was made with no questioning by law enforcement,
” ECF No. 13 at PageID #: 44, and argued at his Final
Pretrial Conference that there was no video or audio
recording of Defendant's ...