Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Unpradit

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

July 11, 2018

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Pawinee Unpradit, Defendant.

          ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          DONOVAN W. FRANK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court upon Defendant Pawinee Unpradit's (“Defendant”) objections (Doc. No. 813) to Magistrate Judge Tony N. Leung's May 14, 2018 Report and Recommendation (Doc. No. 800) insofar as it recommends that: (1) Defendant's Motion to Suppress All Identifications of Defendant Obtained through Unconstitutional Identification Procedures be denied; (2) Defendant's Motion to Suppress All Evidence Obtained from Unlawful Searches and Seizures be denied; and (3) Defendant's Motion to Suppress Statements Made by Defendant be denied. The Government filed a response in opposition to Defendant's objections on June 12, 2018. (Doc. No. 820.)

         The Court has conducted a de novo review of the record, including a review of the arguments and submissions of counsel, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Rule 72.2(b). The factual background for the above-entitled matter is clearly and precisely set forth in the Report and Recommendation and is incorporated by reference for purposes of Defendant's objections.

         I. Report and Recommendation

         In the Report and Recommendation, Magistrate Judge Leung addressed three separate issues. First, the Magistrate Judge analyzed two examples of the identification procedure that Defendant contests. (Doc. No. 800 at 19-20.) In each example, law enforcement showed a picture of Defendant to the witness and asked the witness to identify the person in the picture. (Id. at 20.) The witnesses, who were already familiar with Defendant, both identified the person in the picture as Defendant by her alias “FON.” (Id. at 20.) The Magistrate Judge recommended against suppressing the identifications because “when someone already familiar with a suspect is asked to comment on whether a recorded voice or image portrays the suspect, ” concerns of undue suggestiveness in the identification procedures are absent. (Id. (quoting United States v. Dobbs, 449 F.3d 904, 909 (8th Cir. 2006)).) Second, with respect to the May 24, 2017 search, Magistrate Judge Leung concluded that “[t]he Court need not determine whether [Defendant's] consent was valid, because her roommate, Yun, provided valid consent to search [Defendant's] apartment and its belongings.” (Id. at 15.) In support of this conclusion, the Magistrate Judge found that “Yun was listed on the lease, ” Yun understood the consent-to-search form that she signed, and there was “no indication that law enforcement used any untoward tactics to gain Yun's consent.” (Id. at 16.) The Magistrate Judge also found that Defendant consented to the search of the apartment. Third, Magistrate Judge Leung recommended against suppressing evidence collected from, and Defendant's statements made, during two border inspections at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (“DFW”) in April 2017. (Id. at 15.) The Magistrate Judge found that neither encounter involved questioning concerning the sex-trafficking investigation and was limited to routine border questioning. (Id. at 13-15.) The Magistrate Judge further concluded that the searches of Defendant and her personal effects fell within the scope of permissible warrantless searches of individuals crossing the United States' borders. (Id. at 12 (citing United States v. Udofot, 711 F.2d 831, 839 (8th Cir. 1983)).)

         II. Defendant's Objections

         Defendant objects to the Report and Recommendation on three main grounds: (1) there is no evidence that the two witnesses who identified Defendant were already familiar with her; (2) Defendant's roommate could not consent to a search of Defendant's room in the apartment; and (3) the border inspections were not routine, but instead secret investigations of the ongoing criminal case.

         A. Identification Evidence

         Regarding the identification evidence, Defendant specifically argues that “neither prospective witness said that she previously had even met the Defendant in person, ” had a personal relationship with Defendant, or said anything to support the notion that the witness was already familiar with the Defendant. (Doc. No. 813 at 8-9.) Defendant therefore contends that the Court should suppress the identification evidence because it was elicited through impermissibly suggestive means. (Id.)

         The Court concludes, as did the Magistrate Judge, that the Government set forth sufficient evidence that the witnesses who identified Defendant were already familiar with her. Both witnesses had been part of the sex-trafficking organization for years before identifying Defendant in February 2017. The identifications therefore did not present concerns about undue suggestiveness, false recollection, or irreparable misidentification. See United States v. Dobbs, 449 F.3d 904, 909 (8th Cir. 2006) (dismissing concerns of undue suggestiveness where a witness is already familiar with a suspect); see also United States v. Williams, 340 F.3d 563, 567 (8th Cir. 2003) (observing that suggestive identification procedures can lead to irreparable misidentification).

         B. Apartment Search

         With respect to the apartment search, Defendant specifically argues that she did not provide consent and that her roommate could not legally provide consent to search Defendant's room. Defendant relies on United States v. Heisman, 503 F.2d 1284, 1288 (8th Cir. 1974), for the proposition that Defendant's roommate did not have the requisite “joint access or control for most purposes” over the property. Defendant further argues that the Government failed to provide sufficient evidence to show that Defendant voluntarily consented to the search. Defendant therefore contends that the Court should suppress the evidence collected from the search of Defendant's apartment.

         The Court disagrees. Since Heisman, numerous courts have held that consent from a person with authority over a place is sufficient to conduct a warrantless search. See United States v. Matlock, 415 U.S. 164, 171 (1974); United States v. Kelley, 594 F.3d 1010, 1013 (8th Cir. 2010); United States v. Williams, 346 F.3d 796, 798-99 (8th Cir. 2003). The voluntary consent given by Defendant's roommate was sufficient to allow law enforcement to search the apartment. Moreover, the Court concludes, as did the Magistrate Judge, that law enforcement did not need the roommate's consent because they obtained Defendant's voluntary consent. Even if Defendant's roommate could not provide the requisite consent, therefore, the consent exception applies to the warrantless search of Defendant's apartment. See Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218, 222 (1973).

         C. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.