United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Alexander D. Chiquoine and Manda M. Sertich, Assistant United
States Attorneys, (for the Government);
K. Atwal, Assistant Federal Defender, (for Defendant).
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
E. RAU, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Suppress Statements, Admissions and Answers, (ECF No. 33),
and Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence Obtained as a
Result of Search and Seizure, (ECF No. 34). These motions
have been referred to the undersigned for a report and
recommendation under 28 U.S.C. § 636 and D. Minn. LR
hearing was held on January 3, 2019. (ECF No. 45). For
Defendant's challenge to two search warrants, the Court
received into evidence: an August 2, 2018 search warrant for
a residence, truck, and email account, No. 18-mj-679-HB,
(Gov't Ex. A); and a September 28, 2018 search warrant
for a residence in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, No.
18-mj-817-BRT, (Gov't Ex. B). No. testimony or further
argument was presented on this motion and it was submitted on
the briefing. (ECF Nos. 34, 35). With respect to
Defendant's motion to suppress statements, the Court
received into evidence: photographs taken during an August
10, 2018 search, (Gov't Exs. 1-7); an audio recording of
Defendant's questioning by law enforcement, (Gov't
Ex. 8); and a completed FD-1086 Form from the FBI, (Gov't
Ex. 9). The Court heard testimony from one witness, FBI
Special Agent Robert Blackmore. (January 3, 2019 Motion
Hearing Tr. 8:1-49:19, ECF No. 44).
briefing is complete, (ECF Nos. 47, 48), and these motions
are ripe for a determination by the Court. Based upon all the
files, records, and proceedings herein, the undersigned
recommends that Defendant's motions be denied.
MOTION TO SUPPRESS
Findings of Fact
2017, the website chatango contacted the FBI in San
Francisco, reporting that users were opening chat rooms where
they shared images and videos of child pornography or links
thereto. (Tr. 8:20-9:4, 35:14-18). Investigation showed the
moderator of one of the suspected chat rooms was a user
called “kummer22.” (Tr. 9:6- 20). Responding to
administrative subpoenas, chatango provided the IP address
for “kummer22, ” which ultimately traced back to
a residence in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. (Tr. 9:6-20). The
FBI learned that Defendant Justin Thomas Chapman and his
parents lived at the Brooklyn Center home. (Tr. 9:21-10:1).
On August 2, 2018, law enforcement obtained a warrant to
search the Brooklyn Center home. (Tr. 10:2-8; Gov't Ex.
The Entry and Search of Chapman's Residence
a.m. on August 10, 2018, law enforcement executed the search
warrant. (Tr. 10:9-12). The law enforcement team comprised of
eight FBI agents, a uniformed Brooklyn Center Police
Department sergeant,  and four or five FBI administrative
personnel. (Tr. 12:21-14:14, 36:20-37:3, 37:23-38:2). SA
Blackmore was wearing body armor underneath a shirt, with a
vest over top that had law enforcement markings. (Tr.
19:19-20:4). The accompanying sworn agents were similarly
dressed in bulletproof vests with law enforcement markings
and badges. (Tr. 37:4-22).
enforcement approached the front entrance of the Chapman
residence and opened the screen door. (Tr. 11:1-16;
see Gov't Ex. 1). Law enforcement then knocked
on the front door “several times for approximately two
to three minutes, ” announcing their presence. (Tr.
11:1-16). There was no answer. (Tr. 11:1-16). SA Blackmore
ordered the front door breached. (Tr. 11:1-16). A law
enforcement member used a ram to hit the front door. (Tr.
11:1-16, 36:4-15). One of the door panels gave way, revealing
a person's arm holding the door shut. (Tr. 11:1-16). Law
enforcement continued to announce their presence. (Tr.
11:1-16). The person inside “backed off” and law
enforcement gained entry into the home. (Tr. 11:1-16).
inside, law enforcement encountered Chapman's mother.
(Tr. 11:17-12:4, 36:4-15). SA Blackmore asked her if Chapman
was present. (Tr. 11:17-12:4, 36:4-15). She indicated Chapman
was downstairs in his bedroom. (Tr. 11:17-12:4). Law
enforcement conducted a security sweep of the residence, with
SA Blackmore and several other officers going downstairs for
Chapman. (Tr. 11:17-12:4; see Gov't Ex. 2). Once
downstairs, law enforcement called for Chapman to exit his
room. (Tr. 11:17-12:4, 15:11-16; see Gov't Ex.
3). Law enforcement directed Chapman to exit his bedroom,
walk backwards towards them, and put his hands behind his
back. (Tr. 39:20-40:15). Chapman complied and was handcuffed.
(Tr. 11:17-12:4, 15:17-16:2, 39:20-40:15).
the time approaching the residence through completing the
security sweep, law enforcement's weapons were drawn.
(Tr. 12:5-20, 37:8-9, 39:14-19). While Chapman was called out
of his bedroom, law enforcement pointed their weapons at him.
(Tr. 12:5-20, 39:14-19). The FBI administrative personnel,
unlike the FBI agents and Brooklyn Center police, were
unarmed. (Tr. 13:10-17). Once the security sweep was
completed, law enforcement holstered their weapons. (Tr.
The Interview of Chapman
the interview began, SA Blackmore told Chapman he was not
under arrest, that law enforcement wanted to speak with him,
and that “as soon as the premises was secure, the
handcuffs would come off.” (Tr. 17:23-18:2). Chapman
appeared nervous, but stated that he understood. (Tr.
18:3-5). This unrecorded portion of the conversation lasted
“a couple of minutes.” (Tr. 18:6-8).
Chapman's handcuffs were removed. (Tr. 19:13-15).
Blackmore, accompanied by FBI Special Agent Amanda Knez,
conducted a recorded interview of Chapman. (Tr. 17:4-22,
18:9-17; Gov't Ex. 8). The interview occurred in the
basement. (Tr. 18:18-23; Gov't Exs. 4-7). Chapman was on
a dark- colored couch next to its left-side armrest, SA
Blackmore was to Chapman's left in a brown chair, and SA
Knez was in a rolling office chair across from Chapman. (Tr.
18:24- 19:9, 41:18-22; Gov't Exs. 4-6). SA Blackmore and
SA Knez were seated such that they did not block
Chapman's access to the stairway leading upstairs from
the basement. (Tr. 19:10-12; see Gov't Exs.
4-7). SA Blackmore was wearing body armor underneath a shirt,
having removed his vest with law enforcement markings. (Tr.
19:19-20:4, 41:23- 42:10). SA Blackmore untucked his shirt to
conceal his weapon. (Tr. 19:19-20:13).
as SA Blackmore turned on the audio recorder, Chapman asked
to grab a drink out of a nearby refrigerator. (Gov't Ex.
8, at 00:06-00:24). There is no audible response to
Chapman's request, but the audio recording contains
sounds of footsteps followed by a door closing, then SA
Blackmore says “there you go” with Chapman
responding “thank you” and a can being opened.
(Gov't Ex. 8, at 00:06-00:24). SA Blackmore testified
Chapman was not permitted to retrieve the drink himself and
someone else grabbed it for him. (Tr. 45:7-46:2; see
Tr. 22:3-6, 34:14-16, 45:7-46:2).
Blackmore identified himself and showed his FBI
identification. (Gov't Ex. 8, at 00:24-00:32). SA
Blackmore stated law enforcement had a search warrant and,
“like [he] said a few minutes ago, ” Chapman was
not under arrest and the handcuffs were for safety purposes.
(Gov't Ex. 8, at 00:28-00:45). Chapman stated he
understood. (Gov't Ex. 8, at 00:28-00:45). SA Blackmore
stated he had no intention to arrest Chapman or anyone in the
residence. (Gov't Ex. 8, at 00:45-00:57).
Blackmore told Chapman he would like to ask some questions
but he did not have to answer if he did not want to, and it
was “completely up to [him].” (Gov't Ex. 8,
at 00:57-01:07; Tr. 20:14-21:7, 33:4-34:24). Chapman
responded that he did not “know what this is
about.” (Gov't Ex. 8, at 00:57-01:07). SA Blackmore
repeated that Chapman was free to leave, noting law
enforcement had a search warrant for the house, a truck, and
Chapman's person. (Gov't Ex. 8, at 01:07-01:35; Tr.
20:14-21:7, 33:4-34:24). Chapman again suggested he did not
understand what was going on, with SA Blackmore saying
“we'll get in to everything.” (Gov't Ex.
8, at 01:23-01:33). SA Blackmore again stated that law
enforcement would like to ask Chapman questions, but that
Chapman did not have to talk. (Gov't Ex. 8, at
01:33-01:35; Tr. 20:14-21:7, 33:4-34:24).
Blackmore asked Chapman if he was willing to answer some
questions, indicating Chapman could pick and choose the
questions he answered. (Gov't Ex. 8, at 01:35-01:45; Tr.
20:14-21:7, 33:4-34:24). Chapman responded that “it
depends on the questions, ” which was
“fine” with SA Blackmore. (Gov't Ex. 8, at
01:35-01:45; Tr. 20:14-21:7, 33:4-34:24). After going through
some biographical information, SA Blackmore told Chapman
“what we're here for has to do with
computers.” (Gov't Ex. 8, at 02:20-02:32). SA
Blackmore asked Chapman to describe who used which computers
or internet devices in the home. (Gov't Ex. 8, at
02:20-02:32). Chapman responded: “I don't want to
say right now.” (Gov't Ex. 8, at 02:20-02:32; Tr.
22:7-13). SA Blackmore asked Chapman what email addresses he
uses, with ...