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United States v. Jackson

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

April 2, 2018

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Lawrence Emmanuel Jackson, Defendant.

          Nathan Hoye Nelson, United States Attorney counsel for plaintiff.

          Lisa M. Lopez, Office of the Federal Defender, counsel for defendant.

          ORDER

          David S. Doty, Judge

         This matter is before the court upon the objections by the parties to the February 27, 2018, report and recommendation (R&R) of United States Magistrate Judge Franklin L. Noel. Based on a review of the file, record, and proceedings herein, and for the following reasons, the court sustains the government's objection and overrules defendant Lawrence Emmanuel Jackson's objection.

         BACKGROUND

         The background of this matter is fully set forth in the R&R, and the court incorporates those facts by reference.[1] The magistrate judge recommended that the court deny Jackson's first motion to suppress evidence relating to the April 25, 2017, search of his home. Neither party objects to that recommendation. The magistrate judge also recommended that the court grant in part Jackson's second motion to suppress as follows: (1) deny Jackson's request to suppress statements made to police officers on October 14, 2016; (2) grant Jackson's request to suppress statements made to police officers on April 25, 2017, after he invoked his right to counsel; and (3) deny Jackson's request to suppress evidence obtained as a result of statements, admissions, or answers made during the April 25, 2017, interview. The government objects to the second recommendation and Jackson objects only to the third recommendation.

         DISCUSSION

         The court reviews the report and recommendation of the magistrate judge de novo. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Fed. R. Crim. P. 59(b); D. Minn. LR 72.2(b).

         I. Government's Objection

         The government objects to the R&R insofar as it recommends suppression of Jackson's April 25, 2017, statements made after he allegedly invoked his right to counsel.

         A suspect subject to custodial interrogation has a right to the presence of counsel unless that right is knowingly and intelligently waived. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 479 (1966). Once a suspect unequivocally invokes his right to counsel, interrogation must cease until counsel is present unless the defendant “initiates further communication, exchanges, or conversations with the police.” Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 485 (1981). In other words, not all direct questioning by law enforcement officials constitutes interrogation. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals “generally do[es] not find a mere factual statement to be an interrogation where it serves to inform the suspect as to the status of his case or the investigation into his activities.” United States v. Hull, 419 F.3d 762, 767 (8th Cir. 2005); see also United States v. Wipf, 397 F.3d 677, 685 (8th Cir. 2005) (holding that the officer's statement that he wanted to tell defendant “the situation, and explain the charges against him, ” does not amount to custodial interrogation). Rather, direct questioning is interrogation only if it is “reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response from the suspect.” Rhode Island v. Innis, 446 U.S. 291, 301 (1980). Whether an officer sought an incriminating response is determined “from the perspective of the suspect” and not by the officer's actual intent. United States v. Richardson, 427 F.3d 1128, 1132 (8th Cir. 2005) (rev'd on other grounds).

         Here, there is no dispute that Jackson was given a Miranda warning, as required under the circumstances. Rather, the parties contest whether (1) Jackson unequivocally invoked his right to counsel, and (2) officers reinitiated interrogation after he did so.

         The relevant exchange between Jackson and the officers was as follows:

Jackson: Ah, well, if I could get the lawyer, it would be cool because I'm not familiar with, you know the whole process and all that so I'd just rather be ... I mean, is there a way I could, cause I could afford one, but I just got to get prepared. Is there a way we ...

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