United States District Court, D. Minnesota
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
LEO I. BRISBOIS, Magistrate Judge.
This matter came before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge upon Defendant Shawn Michael Ederhoff's Motion to Suppress Evidence Obtained as a Result of a November 19, 2012, Search and Seizure, [Docket No. 30], and Defendant's Motion to Suppress February 18, 2005, and November 19, 2012, Statements, Admissions, and Answers, [Docket No. 31]. This case has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge for a report and recommendation, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Rule 72.1. The Court held a hearing on February 26, 2014, regarding the parties' pretrial discovery motions,  Defendant's motion to suppress evidence, and Defendant's motion to suppress statements.
For reasons discussed below, the Court recommends that Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence Obtained as a Result of November 19, 2012, Search and Seizure, [Docket No. 30], be DENIED, and that Defendant's Motion to Suppress February 18, 2005, and November 19, 2012, Statements, Admissions, and Answers, [Docket No. 31], be DENIED.
I. BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF FACTS
Defendant Shawn Michael Ederhoff is charged with two counts of receipt of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252(a)(2) and 2252(b)(1), and one count of possession of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252(a)(4)(B) and 2252(b)(2). (Indictment [Docket No. 1], at 1-3).
At the February 26, 2014, motion hearing, the Court instructed the parties to meet and confer no later than Monday, March 3, 2014, at which time the parties were to determine whether they would be submitting supplemental briefing regarding Defendant's suppression motions, [Docket Nos. 30 and 31]. (Minute Entry [Docket No. 42]). By letter to the Court dated March 3, 2014, Defense counsel informed the Court that Defendant does not seek supplemental briefing and requested the pending motions be decided on the record as it currently exists before the Court. (Letter to Magistrate Judge [Docket No. 43]). The Court likewise did not receive any supplemental briefing from the Government. The Court took Docket Numbers 30 and 31 under advisement as of March 5, 2014.
Two unrelated incidents from two distinct time periods are relevant to the present motions.
First, unrelated to the present charges against Defendant, Defendant made a statement to Stearns County Sheriff's Office Detective Troy Jansky (now Deputy Jansky) in 2005. On February 18, 2005, Deputy Jansky interviewed Defendant with regard to his relationship with a teenage girl.
On February 17, 2005, Deputy Jansky received a report from the Sartell High School Police Liaison Officer regarding a pregnant teenager. At the time the girl became pregnant, she was a minor (under the age of eighteen years old). Deputy Jansky interviewed the girl, who explained that she had met the Defendant over the internet, had moved to Minnesota in October 2004, from Indiana to live with Defendant, and she had been romantically involved with him. She was 17 years old at the time; Defendant was 36. Deputy Jansky testified that the difference in age between the minor and her romantic partner - the Defendant - prompted Deputy Jansky's investigation.
After interviewing the girl, Deputy Jansky placed a telephone call to Defendant and explained that he was interested in speaking with Defendant. Defendant was cooperative and voluntarily agreed to meet Deputy Jansky at Defendant's place of employment, Home Depot. Deputy Jansky did not call Defendant down to the Sheriff's Office, nor did he request Defendant's presence at any other location; the record before the Court indicates that Deputy Jansky was willing to meet Defendant wherever was most convenient for Defendant.
The interview took place in Deputy Jansky's unmarked car in the parking lot of Defendant's place of work. Deputy Jansky waited in the parking lot at the agreed-upon time, and Defendant came outside and voluntarily approached the car. Deputy Jansky was in plain clothes with his duty weapon holstered at his waist. Deputy Jansky recorded the interview with a handheld tape recorder, held in plain sight. Upon beginning the conversation, Deputy Jansky informed Defendant that he was free to leave at any time, that his presence in Deputy Jansky's vehicle was purely voluntary, that he was not obligated to answer any questions, and that Defendant was not under arrest and would not be placed under arrest. Defendant's demeanor was normal and calm, and nothing indicated that he was under the influence of any drugs or alcohol or that he did not understand Deputy Jansky. There was no indication that Defendant wished to terminate the interview at any point. At no point did Deputy Jansky administer any Miranda warning.
Fast-forwarding to the facts specifically giving rise to the present indictment, Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Lawrence Propes ("SA Propes") testified that DHS's Cyber Crimes Center, Child Exploitation Investigations Unit received an intelligence report from Danish authorities regarding a website entitled "Falko Video, " dedicated to the production and distribution of child pornography. Investigation thereafter revealed that various user names and email addresses associated with Falko Video could be traced back to Defendant.
On November 19, 2012, law enforcement executed the search warrant for Defendant's home at approximately 10:00 a.m. Approximately eight law enforcement officers dressed in raid vests clearly identifying them as law enforcement executed the warrant. SA Propes testified that Defendant and his wife were outside the house in the front yard when law enforcement approached the house. As criminal research/cyber specialists secured Defendant's computers, SA Propes and SA Drengson explained to Defendant that law enforcement was there to execute a federal search warrant and provided Defendant with a copy of the search warrant. Defendant gave no indication that he did not understand what was happening, and he was cooperative.
SA Propes informed Defendant that he was not under arrest and that he was free to leave at any time. Defendant responded that he understood and agreed to answer SA Propes's questions. Defendant indicated that he preferred to talk outside, near the front door to the house, and the agents obliged.
The agents proceeded to ask Defendant questions concerning his involvement with child pornography. Defendant answered questions cooperatively, told the agents that he understood child pornography to be depictions of children between the ages of zero and sixteen years old engaged in "lewd acts, " and admitted that law enforcement would find child pornography on his laptop, in a file titled "secret pics, " among other things. The agents spoke with Defendant for approximately thirty minutes, after which Defendant was not placed under arrest. At no point during the thirty-minute interview did Defendant request or indicate in any way that he desired a break or that he did not wish to continue to answer questions.
II. DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS FEBRUARY 18, 2005, AND NOVEMBER 19, 2012, STATEMENTS, ADMISSIONS, AND ANSWERS, [DOCKET NO. 31]
Defendant moves the Court for an order suppressing all statements, admissions, and answers made by Defendant on February 18, 2005, and November 19, 2012, as (1) the statements, admissions, or answers by Defendant were made without the assistance or benefit of counsel, in violation of Defendant's Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights; (2) the statements, admissions, or answers made by Defendant were not freely and voluntarily given, in violation of Defendant's Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights; and (3) the statements, admissions, or answers were the result of interrogation, under ...