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United States v. Ruiz-Valencia

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

March 31, 2015

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Jose Felix Ruiz-Valencia (1), Defendant.

Allen A. Slaughter, Jr., John R. Marti, and Steven L. Schleicher, Esqs., United States Attorney's Office, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for Plaintiff.

James S. Alexander, Esq., United States Attorney's Office, Minneapolis, MN, for Plaintiff.

Craig E. Cascarano, Esq., Cascarano Law Office, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for Defendant.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

STEVEN E. RAU, Magistrate Judge.

The above-captioned case came before the undersigned on Defendant Jose Felix Ruiz-Valencia's ("Ruiz-Valencia") Motion to Suppress Confessions, Admissions or Statements Made in the Nature of Confessions Made by the Defendant ("Motion to Suppress Statements") [Doc. No. 97], Motion to Suppress Evidence Obtained Through Illegal Search [Doc. No. 98], and Motion to Suppress Search and Seizure Evidence [Doc. No. 99] (collectively, the "Motions to Suppress"). This matter was referred for the resolution of the issues raised in Ruiz-Valencia's Motions to Suppress pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B)-(C) and District of Minnesota Local Rule 72.1. For the reasons stated below, the Court recommends that the Motions to Suppress be denied.

I. BACKGROUND

On June 17, 2014, a grand jury indicted Ruiz-Valencia and his co-defendant, Gonzalo Alcala-Valencia ("Alcala-Valencia") with one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). (Indictment) [Doc. No. 5].

Alcala-Valencia withdrew his pretrial motions. (Letter to Mag. Judge Dated Sept. 23, 2014) [Doc. No. 70]. The Court held an evidentiary hearing on Ruiz-Valencia's pretrial motions on February 20, 2015. (Minute Entry Dated Feb. 20, 2015) [Doc. No. 103]. Ruiz-Valencia's nondispositive pretrial motions were withdrawn, and a supplemental briefing schedule was set with respect to Ruiz-Valencia's Motions to Suppress. ( Id. ). Officer Christian Freichels ("Officer Freichels") testified, and the Court received six exhibits into evidence. (Ex. & Witness List) [Doc. No. 104]. At the hearing, the parties agreed that the only issues remaining with respect to the Motions to Suppress were whether Ruiz-Valencia's statements were taken in violation of his right to counsel and whether the affidavit submitted in support of the application for the wiretap of Ruiz-Valencia's phone was supported by probable cause. (Minute Entry Dated Feb. 20, 2015). The parties submitted supplemental briefing, and the matter came under advisement on March 6, 2015. See ( Id. ).

II. INVOCATION OF RIGHT TO COUNSEL

A. Facts[1]

Officer Freichels interviewed Ruiz-Valencia on June 15, 2014, at the Ramsey County jail. (Gov't's Mem. in Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. to Suppress, "Gov't's Opp'n") [Doc. No. 107 at 1]. Officer Freichels issued a Miranda warning to Ruiz-Valencia with the use of a Spanish-speaking interpreter. ( Id. ). Although Ruiz-Valencia primarily denied involvement in the distribution of illegal drugs, he ultimately made some incriminating statements. ( Id. ).

At issue is the following statement from the interpreter, based on Ruiz-Valencia's statements: "He says if you are going to keep on telling him that that's what he does and that's what he does, then he's gonna-he wants to see a lawyer. Maybe you suspect things, but it's not like that."[2] ( Id. at 2); see also (Gov't Ex. 6 at 16:08-18).[3]

B. Discussion

1. Legal ...


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