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United States v. Williams-Bey

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

January 10, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Randy Lawrence Williams-Bey, Defendant.

          ORDER ADOPTING REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          Wilhelmina M. Wright United States District Judge

         Before the Court are the November 19, 2019 and November 21, 2019 Reports and Recommendations (R&Rs) of United States Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer, (Dkts. 49, 51), which recommend denying Defendant Randy Lawrence Williams-Bey's motions to suppress statements and evidence respectively. Williams-Bey filed timely objections to the November 19, 2019 R&R, and Plaintiff United States of America responded. For the reasons addressed below, the Court overrules Williams-Bey's objections and adopts the R&Rs.

         BACKGROUND[1]

         An individual robbed a bank in Woodbury, Minnesota, on February 12, 2019. After receiving descriptions of the perpetrator and his vehicle, law enforcement officers of the Saint Paul Police Department identified Williams-Bey as the perpetrator and arrested him near his home on the day of the robbery.

         Detective Sack and Officer Roddy of the Woodbury Police Department arrived at the scene of Williams-Bey's arrest after he had been handcuffed. These Woodbury Police officers were taking over the custody of Williams-Bey from the Saint Paul Police officers. Before putting Williams-Bey in their squad car, the Woodbury Police officers decided to conduct a protective search of Williams-Bey's body.[2] Detective Sack asked Williams-Bey whether he physically possessed a weapon. Williams-Bey responded: “No. Wasn't no weapon used in the bank robbery.” At this point, Williams-Bey had not received a Miranda warning.

         Officer Roddy drove Williams-Bey to the police station. While in the back of the squad car, Williams-Bey initiated a conversation with Officer Roddy by asking, “Can I ask a question?” When Officer Roddy responded, “yes, ” Williams-Bey asked, “How did they catch me?”

         At the police station later that same day, Detectives Jeffrey Gort and Lynn Lund of the Woodbury Police Department questioned Williams-Bey about whether he was involved in the robbery. Prior to questioning him, Detective Lund read Williams-Bey the Miranda warnings, and Williams-Bey stated that he understood his rights. Williams-Bey then confessed to committing the robbery.

         Williams-Bey now moves to suppress the statements that he provided to the law enforcement officers on February 12, 2019, and to suppress the evidence seized pursuant to the warrants to search his home and car. Following an October 1, 2019 evidentiary hearing, the magistrate judge issued two R&Rs recommending the denial of Williams-Bey's motions to suppress. Williams-Bey filed a timely objection to the November 19, 2019 R&R, which addresses the motion to suppress his February 12, 2019 statements. And the United States filed a timely response.

         ANALYSIS

         I. Williams-Bey's Objections to the November 19, 2019 R&R

         This Court reviews de novo any aspect of the November 19, 2019 R&R to which Williams-Bey objects. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Fed. R. Crim. P. 59(b)(3); LR 72.2(b)(3); accord Grinder v. Gammon, 73 F.3d 793, 795 (8th Cir. 1996) (per curiam). Williams-Bey objects to the R&R's recommendations not to suppress his three statements made to the police.

         “No person shall . . . be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” U.S. Const. amend. V. A district court may not admit in evidence any statement of a suspect made during custodial interrogation unless the prosecution “demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination.” Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444 (1966). Prior to a custodial interrogation, a law enforcement officer must obtain the voluntary, knowing, and intelligently granted waiver of a suspect's Miranda rights. Id. The Court addresses each of Williams-Bey's statements and objections in turn.

         A. Williams-Bey's Statement During the Transfer of Custody

         During the transfer of custody, Detective Sack asked Williams-Bey whether he physically possessed any weapon. In response, Williams-Bey said: “No. Wasn't no weapon used in the bank robbery.” Although Williams-Bey was in custody when ...


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