United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division
C. BURKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
magistrate judge entered a report and recommendation (doc.
20) on August 16, 2019, recommending that motion to suppress
(doc. 12) filed by the defendant be denied. The parties were
notified of their right to file objections with fourteen days
of the report and recommendation being entered by the
magistrate judge. The United States filed a motion (doc. 21)
to correct a typographical error with respect to a
witness’s name, which the Court granted (doc. 23). This
did not change any substantive portion of the report and
recommendation. The defendant filed an objection (doc. 22) to
the report and recommendation, arguing, among other things,
that the magistrate judge did not consider the totality of
the circumstances in determining whether the
defendant’s statement were the result of a knowing,
voluntary, and intelligent waiver of his Miranda
Court has carefully reviewed and considered de novo
all the materials in the record, including the report and
recommendation. The Court adopts and incorporates by
reference the background section of the report and
recommendation. The Court finds that, based on the totality
of the circumstances, the defendant’s incriminating
statements were the result of a knowing, voluntary, and
intelligent waiver of his rights pursuant to Miranda v.
Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). Voluntariness requires
that the waiver must be the result of a free and deliberate
choice rather than intimidation, deception, or coercion.
Moran v. Burbine, 475 U.S. 412, 421 (1986). The
waiver must also be made with full awareness of the nature of
the rights being waived and the consequences of that
decision. Id. Only if the totality of the
circumstances reveal both an uncoerced choice and the
requisite level of comprehension may a court properly
conclude that the Miranda rights have been waived.
Id. As the Court has stated, it finds that the
totality of the circumstances indicate both these factors
were met in this case.
defendant was informed of his Miranda rights by
Officer Tory Green on two different occasions during the
events at issue on February 8, 2019. (Doc. 19-1, Doc. 24).
Nothing in the conversation preceding or following those
instances indicates that the defendant’s waiver of his
rights were coerced or not voluntary. “Once it is
determined that a suspect's decision not to rely on his
rights was uncoerced, that he at all times knew he could
stand mute and request a lawyer, and that he was aware of the
State’s intention to use his statements to secure a
conviction, the analysis is complete and the waiver is valid
as a matter of law.” Id. at 422–23.
Thus, the Court concludes that the defendant’s waiver
was valid as a matter of law.
this situation was not like the one in Hart v. Attorney
General, 323 F.3d 884 (11th Cir. 2003), where a
detective stated, in a conversation with a defendant about
the pros and cons of having counsel present, that
“honesty wouldn’t hurt [the defendant].”
Id. at 889. The Court finds that there were no
statements made by law enforcement officers to the defendant
that honesty would not hurt him. Additionally, there is
nothing in the record indicating that the defendant was
waffling about invoking his right to counsel or that he had
any questions regarding same. In fact, at one point during
the interrogation, the defendant was assured by Sergeant
Terry Lucas that, even if the defendant was honest, it would
not mean that the defendant would not go to prison. Moreover,
Agent Brett Turner told the defendant that he had evidence to
bring federal charges against him.
this situation like that in United States v. Lall,
607 F.3d 1277 (11th Cir. 2010). In Lall, law
enforcement officers were at the defendant’s house
where he lived with his family to investigate a home
invasion. Id. at 1281. During the investigation of
the home invasion, law enforcement officers discovered,
through the defendant’s father, that the defendant may
have been involved in credit card fraud. Id. The
defendant arrived at the family home and was informed of his
Miranda rights. The defendant was then interviewed
by law enforcement officers who told him that the main
concern was the home invasion. Id. Notably, one
detective told the defendant that any information that the
defendant shared with police would not be used to prosecute
him. Id. Again, this situation is not like that in
Lall. The record indicates that the defendant was
aware why law enforcement was at the house where he lived
with his grandmother. The defendant saw the evidence that was
seized from the home. No. law enforcement officer promised to
the defendant that the information shared by him would not be
used to prosecute him. Cf. United States v. Castor,
598 F.App'x 700, 703 (11th Cir. 2015) (unpublished
opinion) (“[W]hen evaluating the totality of the
circumstances, a law enforcement officer's promise not to
use a suspect's incriminating statements ‘may be
the most significant factor in assessing the
voluntariness’ of a confession.”).
the facts demonstrate that the defendant knowingly,
voluntarily, and intelligently waived his Miranda
rights, rights that were recited to him twice during the
police encounter at issue, and that no law enforcement made a
promise to not use any incriminating statements against him.
Therefore, the Court finds that the motion to suppress should
be denied. See, e.g., United States v.
Godinez, No. 03-20566-CR, 2003 WL 27385603, at *8 (S.D.
Fla. Oct. 24, 2003), report and recommendation
adopted sub nom. United States v. Walden, No.
03-20566-CR, 2004 WL 7338544 (S.D. Fla. Jan. 26, 2004)
(“In the case at bar, the undersigned finds and
concludes that the advice of rights was not undermined nor
nullified by the statement of Agent McNamara that Godinez
would be able to help himself by making a statement after
they arrived at the Customs office. The circumstances here
are distinguishable from Beale and Hart,
since the detectives did not advise Godinez that waiving his
rights would not hurt him, or that telling the truth would
not hurt him . . . . Moreover, as the cases above establish,
there is nothing inherently wrong with agents advising a
defendant that if he decides to cooperate, it may help him
with respect to the ultimate disposition of his
IT IS ORDERED that the recommendation of the magistrate judge
to deny the motion to suppress (doc. 12) is ADOPTED.
FURTHER ORDERED that the motion to suppress (doc. 12) is