United States District Court, D. Minnesota
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
WILHELMINA M. WRIGHT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the December 5, 2017 Report and
Recommendation (R&R) of United States Magistrate Judge
Leo I. Brisbois. (Dkt. 33.) The R&R recommends denying
Defendant Chelsea Marie Deserly's motion to suppress
statements Deserly made to law enforcement officers and her
motion to suppress evidence obtained from a warrantless blood
draw. Deserly filed a timely objection to the recommendation
that the Court deny her motion to suppress evidence obtained
from the warrantless blood draw. Because Deserly voluntarily
consented to the warrantless blood draw, the Court overrules
Deserly's objection and adopts the R&R.
16, 2015, Red Lake Police Lieutenant Alexandra Dow responded
to a motor vehicle accident on the Red Lake Indian
Reservation. Upon arrival, Lieutenant Dow observed a red
pickup truck and several people surrounding an individual on
the ground, who was later identified as Murphy Thomas.
Lieutenant Dow also saw Deserly crying near Thomas's
feet. Because Thomas was unresponsive and Deserly reported
that “her head hurt, ” both were transported by
ambulance to the hospital. According to Lieutenant Dow,
Deserly “walked . . . on her own” and boarded the
ambulance. Lieutenant Dow directed another officer to escort
the ambulance to the hospital and secure blood draws from
both Thomas and Deserly.
arriving at the hospital and learning that Thomas had died,
Lieutenant Dow located Deserly. She observed Deserly
“fighting with [a] neck brace” as the nurses were
attempting to place it on her. Because Deserly was agitated,
Lieutenant Dow assisted the nurses in their effort to
restrain Deserly, place the neck brace, and calm her. While
rendering assistance, Lieutenant Dow detected that Deserly
smelled of alcohol. Lieutenant Dow subsequently asked Deserly
whether she was “willing to submit to a blood
draw.” Deserly responded “Yeah.” A nurse
reviewed with Deserly a “checklist” and asked
whether Deserly was willing to submit to a blood draw.
Deserly again responded “yes, ” and the nurse
performed the blood draw.
August 23, 2017, Deserly was charged with two counts of
involuntary manslaughter. Deserly now moves to suppress
statements that she made to law enforcement officers during
their investigation and to suppress evidence obtained from
the warrantless blood draw.
objects to the magistrate judge's recommendation to deny
the motion to suppress evidence obtained from the warrantless
blood draw. Deserly argues that her motion should be granted
because the record demonstrates that her consent was not
voluntarily. The Court reviews this objection de novo.
See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); accord
Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees
the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
U.S. Const. Amend. IV; see also United States v.
Schmidt, 403 F.3d 1009, 1013 (8th Cir. 2005) (holding
tribal police operating in Indian country to the same legal
requirements as those imposed by the Fourth Amendment). A
compelled intrusion into the body to obtain blood for
analysis of its contents is a search protected by the Fourth
Amendment. Skinner v. Ry. Labor Execs. Ass'n,
489 U.S. 602, 616 (1989). Although a warrantless search
presumptively violates the Fourth Amendment, voluntary
consent is a well-recognized exception to the warrant
requirement. United States v. Golinveaux, 611 F.3d
956, 959 (8th Cir. 2010).
government must establish, by a preponderance of the
evidence, that consent was freely given. Id. Whether
a suspect's consent was voluntarily given presents a
question of fact that turns on a totality of the
circumstances. Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S.
218, 227 (1973). An analysis of the totality of the
circumstances examines both the characteristics of the
suspect and the environment in which the consent is given.
See United States v. Arciniega, 569 F.3d 394, 398
(8th Cir. 2009) (listing non-exhaustive factors, including a
suspect's age, intelligence, intoxication, prior
experience with the legal system, length of detention, and
custodial status along with whether consent was given in a
public or secluded place, whether the individual objected to
the eventual search, and whether there were
misrepresentations by police). Consent is voluntary when the
person suspected of criminal activity has “a reasonable
appreciation of the nature and significance” of his or
her actions, United States v. Saenz, 474 F.3d 1132,
1136 (8th Cir. 2007) (internal quotation marks omitted), and
a “reasonable person” would believe consent was
given, United States v. Jones, 254 F.3d 692, 695
(8th Cir. 2001).
contends that she did not voluntarily consent to the
warrantless blood draw because she was extremely intoxicated,
was traumatized from the car accident, and had to be
restrained to avoid self-harm. Deserly's argument is
unpersuasive. After the motor vehicle accident, Deserly
responded coherently to inquiries about the circumstances of
the accident, accurately reported her medical condition, and
walked to a nearby ambulance. These actions undermine
Deserly's contention that her degree of intoxication
prevented her from providing voluntary consent. See,
e.g., United States v. Castellanos, 518 F.3d
965, 969 (8th Cir. 2008) (determining that the “fact
that one has taken drugs, or is intoxicated, or mentally
agitated, does not render consent involuntary”
(internal quotation marks omitted)). Deserly was not
detained, threatened, intimidated, or promised anything in
return for her consent. See Saenz, 474 F.3d at 1137
(observing that an officer is not required to provide
Miranda warning prior to requesting consent to
search); United States v. Esquivias, 416 F.3d 696,
701 (8th Cir. 2005) (reasoning that a defendant need not be
aware or informed of right to refuse for consent to be
voluntary). And contrary to her assertion, Deserly did not
consent to a blood draw “[i]n the midst” of her
agitation as to the placement of the neck brace. Instead, the
record reflects that, after she calmed down, Deserly twice
consented to the blood draw without any objection- first to
Lieutenant Dow and a second time to the nurse who performed
the blood draw.
summary, because a preponderance of the evidence establishes
that a reasonable person would believe that Deserly
voluntarily consented to the warrantless blood draw,
Deserly's objection to this aspect of the R&R is
does not object to any other aspect of the R&R.
Accordingly, the Court reviews the remainder of the R&R
for clear error. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C);
Fed. R. Crim. P. 59; United States v. Newton, 259
F.3d 964, 966 (8th Cir. 2001); accord Grinder v.
Gammon, 73 F.3d 793, 795 (8th Cir. 1996) (per curiam).
Having carefully performed this review of those aspects of