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United States v. Stately

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

January 22, 2014

Dylan Wesley Stately, Defendant.


LEO I. BRISBOIS, Magistrate Judge.

This matter came before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge upon the parties' pretrial motions. This case has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge for report and recommendation, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Rule 72.1. The Court held a hearing on January 8, 2014, regarding the parties' pretrial discovery motions, [1] Defendant Dylan Wesley Stately's Motion to Suppress Statements, Admissions, and Answers, [Docket No. 24], and Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence Obtained as Result of Search and Seizure, [Docket No. 25]. For reasons discussed below, the Court recommends that Defendant's Motion to Suppress Statements, Admissions, and Answers, [Docket No. 24], be GRANTED in part and DENIED in part, and that Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence Obtained as Result of Search and Seizure, [Docket No. 25], be DENIED.


A. Background

Defendant is charged with one count of robbery, one count of assault with a dangerous weapon, and one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2, 113(a)(3), 113(a)(6), 1151, 1153(a), and 2111.

On January 2, 2014, the Court continued the motion hearing to January 8, 2014, at the parties' joint request. As a result, the parties agreed to present their arguments to the Court orally on January 8, 2014, waiving submission of supplemental post-hearing briefing. (Joint Letter to Magistrate Judge [Docket No. 32]). The Court held a motion hearing on January 8, 2014, at which time Docket Numbers 24 and 25 were taken under advisement.

B. Facts

In the early morning hours of July 5, 2013, Red Lake Police Canine Officer Dominic Hamre was patrolling and answering calls on the Red Lake Indian Reservation. At approximately 4:15 a.m., Canine Officer Hamre overheard an all-unit dispatch reporting shots fired in the Bartons Camp residential area of the reservation. Canine Officer Hamre immediately responded to the call and began heading west to the Bartons area.

En route, Canine Officer Hamre overheard, via police radio, that Red Lake Police Sergeant Harlan Johnson - who was also patrolling the reservation that morning - was already in the Bartons Camp area when the shots fired dispatch went out, that he had arrived on-scene, and that he had located three.45-calibre shell casings on the side of the road near Shirrel Barron's residence in the Bartons area. Sergeant Johnson further advised, over the radio, that he had spoken with a female at the scene, Ashley Cobenais, who witnessed a dark-colored Dodge Intrepid leaving the area immediately following the shots fired report. Ms. Cobenais did not report witnessing shots fired.

First on-scene, Sergeant Johnson immediately began searching the vicinity for signs of a dark Intrepid. However, he saw no vehicles in the area of Shirrel Barron's home at that time. When Canine Officer Hamre arrived on-scene a short time later, he, too, immediately began looking for a dark-colored Intrepid in the immediate vicinity of the shots fired report. Canine Officer Hamre did not see any other vehicles on the road when traveling to the Bartons area. Three Red Lake Police Department officers were in the area by this time: Canine Officer Hamre, Sergeant Johnson, and Corporal Branchaud.

Shortly after arriving on-scene, Canine Officer Hamre overheard another all-units dispatch reporting a dark-colored Intrepid spotted approximately three to four houses down from Shirrel Barron's residence. At the time, neither Canine Officer Hamre nor Sergeant Johnson knew who had made the call to dispatch reporting the suspect vehicle sighting, but police later learned that it was the same female with whom Sergeant Johnson had spoken upon arriving at the shots fired scene, approximately ten to fifteen minutes earlier.

Canine Officer Hamre proceeded to the location dispatch reported, in pursuit of the darkcolored Intrepid. After spotting the vehicle on the road near its reported location, Canine Officer Hamre approached the vehicle and confirmed that it was a dark-colored Intrepid. Canine Officer Hamre radioed-in the license plate number and followed the vehicle. Corporal Branchaud was parked immediately near-by and pulled-out behind Canine Officer Hamre when he began following the Intrepid.

About 30 seconds later, the suspect vehicle failed to use its turn signal when turning westbound onto Walking Shield Road/Highway 89, and Canine Officer Hamre activated his lights and sirens and initiated a felony traffic stop, with Sergeant Johnson and Corporal Branchaud joining. The vehicle complied, and Canine Officer Hamre began giving instructions to the four male individuals inside the suspect vehicle over the patrol's P.A. system, with his weapon drawn and pointed towards the ground.

In accordance with Red Lake Police training regarding felony stops, Canine Officer Hamre ordered the driver, later identified as the Defendant, to throw the vehicle's keys out the window, and for all four individuals to place their hands on the interior roof of the vehicle. One at a time, the individuals were ordered from the suspect vehicle and onto their stomachs on the ground. As the individuals emerged from the vehicle, its doors were left open. The officers handcuffed the four males. No conversations took place at this time.

When the officers ran down the names of the four males, the officers discovered that two of the passengers had outstanding tribal warrants. Corporal Branchaud took these two individuals in for booking. Regarding the remaining two males, Sergeant Johnson took Defendant, handcuffed, to his squad car, and the final passenger, later identified as P.S., was secured in Canine Officer Hamre's squad.

When escorting Defendant, handcuffed, to his patrol vehicle, Sergeant Johnson advised Defendant, the driver of the suspect vehicle, that he was being detained, and asked him if there were any weapons in the vehicle. Defendant replied there were none. This exchange may be identified as the first conversation that took place between Sergeant Johnson and Defendant.

After securing Defendant in the back of his patrol car, Sergeant Johnson returned to the suspect vehicle, and, while observing the vehicle from the outside, he observed a blood-like substance on the interior of the vehicle, and what appeared to be a white t-shirt covered in a blood-like substance, in plain view. Sergeant Johnson returned to his squad car and asked Defendant - who was still handcuffed and secured in the back of the patrol - for his consent to search the vehicle, its trunk, and the glove box. Defendant gave Sergeant Johnson consent to search the vehicle by verbally replying "yes" or "yeah." Sergeant Johnson testified that Defendant, by all appearances, fully understood what Sergeant Johnson was asking. No evidence suggests that Defendant was incapacitated in any way, nor is there any evidence that Defendant was under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. Defendant had not yet been read Miranda warnings. Although Sergeant Johnson did not advise Defendant that he had the option to refuse to provide consent, Sergeant Johnson did not make any threats or promises, nor did he tell Defendant that if he did not consent to the search his vehicle would be towed and Defendant would be walking home.

Sergeant Johnson advised Canine Officer Hamre, and radioed-in for the purpose of keeping a record of the consent, that the driver of the vehicle, Defendant, had consented to a search of the vehicle.

Canine Officer Hamre testified that he observed a wet, blood-like substance through the window of the vehicle, on the inside of the back passenger side door. Canine Officer Hamre also observed a bloody t-shirt and a bloody cellphone in the vehicle.

In searching the vehicle, Sergeant Johnson located two firearms - both.45-calibre - in the glove box of the suspect vehicle and advised Canine Officer Hamre to call a Red Lake Police Department crime scene team.

As Sergeant Johnson searched the vehicle, Canine Officer Hamre overheard over the police radio that another Red Lake Police officer was with an assault victim in another area of the reservation. The victim described his assailants as driving a dark colored vehicle. Canine Officer Hamre testified that at the time these events were unfolding, he began making a connection between the shots fired suspects and the assault reported over the radio. However, Sergeant Johnson testified that at that time, he had not yet connected the felony stop with the reported assault.

Following the search of the vehicle, Sergeant Johnson spoke with Defendant a third time, asking him whether he had any knowledge of the guns discovered in the vehicle or the assault that had been reported. Defendant - again, still handcuffed and secured in the back of the patrol - denied knowledge of both the guns and the assault.

After processing the scene and taking photographs, Sergeant Johnson spoke with Defendant a fourth time. Sergeant Johnson sat in the front seat of his squad, with Defendant still handcuffed in back. Sergeant Johnson asked Defendant about the guns. Defendant answered that he did not know that the guns were in the vehicle, and he speculated that his girlfriend could have put them in there. During this conversation, Defendant eventually admitted to firing a gun near the lake near Shirrel Barron's house in the Bartons area. He also admitted to being in the Redby Lagoon area earlier, the area in which the reported assault took place. Defendant went on to admit that P.S. - a passenger in the Intrepid - assaulted an individual, and that Defendant had attempted to help the victim. Sergeant Johnson arrested Defendant for discharge of a firearm and handling of a dangerous weapon (both crimes on the reservation). Sergeant Johnson advised Defendant that he was officially under arrest and read Defendant his Miranda rights. Sergeant Johnson drove Defendant to the Red Lake Detention Center and booked him into custody.

In general, Sergeant Johnson testified that during these conversations, Defendant was cooperative, did not yell, and appeared to fully understand the questions and his answers. Sergeant Johnson made no promises and/or threats, nor did he engage in any other coercive behavior.

Upon arriving at the Red Lake Detention Center, Sergeant Johnson noticed blood on Defendant's shoes. Without prompting, Defendant stated that the blood got there when he was attempting to assist the assault victim.

Canine Officer Hamre estimates that the total amount of time that transpired between the initial shots fired dispatch and the traffic stop was approximately twenty-five to thirty minutes.


Defendant moves the Court for an order suppressing all statements, admissions, and answers made by Defendant prior to, and at the time of or subsequent to, his arrest. (Def.'s Mot. to Suppress [Docket No. 24]). Specifically, Defendant contends that the statements were (1) derived from unconstitutional, custodial interrogation, (2) made without the assistance of counsel, in violation ...

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