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United States v. Benjamin One Deer Hart

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

February 19, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
Benjamin One Deer Hart, Defendant.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

LEO I. BRISBOIS, Magistrate Judge.

This matter comes before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge upon Defendant Benjamin One Deer Hart's ("Defendant") Motion to Suppress August 8, 2014, Statements, Admissions and Answers, [Docket No. 24]. This case has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge for a report and recommendation, in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Rule 72.1. The Court held a motions hearing on February 13, 2015, regarding Defendant's pretrial motions.[1]

For reasons discussed herein, the Court recommends that Defendant's Motion to Suppress August 8, 2014, Statements, Admissions and Answers, [Docket No. 24], be DENIED.

I. BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF FACTS

A. Background

Defendant is charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 113(a)(3), 1151, and 1153(a); and one count of assault resulting in serious injury, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 113(a)(6), 1151, and 1153(a). (Indictment [Docket No. 1]).

B. Facts[2]

The record presently before the Court indicates that, on August 8, 2014, Red Lake Police Department Criminal Investigator Paul Smith ("CI Smith") and other officers arrested Defendant in relation to an incident that had occurred on July 10, 2014. The arrest occurred at the Seven Clans Casino, which is inside the external boundaries of the Red Lake Indian Reservation. After being arrested, Defendant was transported to the Red Lake Detention Center, where he was interviewed by CI Smith and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Jonathan Tjernagel ("SA Tjernagel").

The officers interviewed Defendant in the interview room of the Red Lake Detention Center. CI Smith and SA Tjernagel were dressed in casual clothing during the interview. CI Smith was not armed. At no time did the officers make threats or promises to Defendant to get him to answer their questions.

The officers recorded the interview. SA Tjernagel began the interview by reading Defendant the Miranda warnings. (See, Id. at 00:25-00:55). Defendant was then provided with a Federal Bureau of Investigation Advice of Rights form. (Government's Ex. 2). Defendant signed the portion of the form indicating that he had read the Miranda warnings listed on the form, had understood them, and was willing to answer questions without a lawyer present. (See, Id.).

During the interview, Defendant made a series of statements admitting that there was animosity between Defendant and individuals who were stabbed on July 10, 2014, but denying that he had attacked anyone that day. (See Gen., Government Ex. 1). After Defendant described his version of the events of July 10, 2014, the officers terminated the interview. (See, Id. at 9:10-9:23). The interview lasted slightly longer than nine (9) minutes. (See Gen., Id.).

Defendant appeared to CI Smith during the interview to be a tired and standoffish physically healthy adult. Defendant did not appear to be under the influence of intoxicants or to have any trouble communicating with the officers. Defendant even corrected what he thought were SA Tjernagel's mischaracterizations of his answers regarding a timeline of the events leading to July 10, 2014. (See, Government's Ex. 1 at 5:47-6:16).

Defendant was later indicted with the charges now against him. (Indictment [Docket No. 1]). Defendant then filed the motion to suppress the statements he made while being interviewed by SA Tjernagel and CI Smith on ...


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