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United States v. Valdez

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

April 3, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff,
Adrian Joseph Valdez, Defendant.

          Deidre Y. Aanstad, Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney's Office, Minneapolis, MN, on behalf of Plaintiff.

          R.J. Zayed, Esq., Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Minneapolis, MN, on behalf of Defendant.




         This matter is before the undersigned United States District Judge for a ruling on Defendant Adrian Joseph Valdez's (“Valdez”) Objections [Docket No. 50] to Magistrate Judge Leo I. Brisbois' February 7, 2019 Report and Recommendation [Docket No. 48] (“R&R”). In the R&R, Judge Brisbois recommends denying Valdez's Motion to Suppress Statements [Docket No. 31] and Motion to Suppress Evidence [Docket No. 32]. After a de novo review of the record and for the reasons stated below, Valdez's Objections are overruled and the R&R is adopted.

         II. BACKGROUND[1]

         A. August 10, 2018 Events

         On August 10, 2018, Red Lake Police Sergeant Kendall Kingbird (“Sgt. Kingbird”) responded to a “911” call reporting a stabbing at Avis Laduke's (“Laduke”) residence (the “Laduke Residence”).

         Sgt. Kingbird pulled into the Laduke driveway where he observed Valdez walking down the driveway towards him. As he approached Sgt. Kingbird, Valdez put his hands up and dropped the beer he was holding. As Sgt. Kingbird parked his patrol vehicle, Valdez dropped to his knees and put his hands behind his back. After Sgt. Kingbird got out of his vehicle and approached Valdez on foot, he saw blood on Valdez and asked Valdez if he was injured. Valdez responded, “no.” Valdez then laid down on the driveway and put his hands behind his back without any instruction from Sgt. Kingbird. Valdez then stated, “I stabbed them, take me to jail.” After hearing this statement, Sgt. Kingbird handcuffed Valdez and advised him of his Miranda[2] rights.

         Sgt. Kingbird and Valdez waited approximately 15 minutes near the patrol vehicle for a transport vehicle to arrive and take Valdez to the Red Lake Detention Center. While they waited, two individuals arrived and identified themselves as relatives of the stabbing victims. Valdez and the individuals engaged in a shouting match. Valdez repeated his request that Sgt. Kingbird take him to jail, shouted at the individuals, complained that the people wanted to “start shit with him, ” and again told Sgt. Kingbird that he had “stabbed them.”

         After another officer took custody of Valdez for transport, Sgt. Kingbird walked to the Laduke Residence. He observed blood smears on the porch, as well as beer cans. Sgt. Kingbird also saw blood on the ground surrounding the porch. He knocked on the door of the house, but no one answered. Sgt. Kingbird took photographs of the porch while he waited for other police officers to arrive. At one point while Sgt. Kingbird was waiting outside, Laduke exited her front door and spoke briefly with Sgt. Kingbird. Laduke appeared to be intoxicated because her speech was slurred and she smelled of alcohol. During their brief discussion, Laduke told Sgt. Kingbird that her son and her nephew had been stabbed, and she said that her son was still inside the house. Sgt. Kingbird asked if he could check on her son and she told him “no.”

         Criminal Investigator Geoff Pierre (“CI Pierre”) of the Red Lake Tribal Police Department arrived after this conversation. After speaking to Sgt. Kingbird, the two officers returned to the Laduke Residence. Laduke was on the porch. There is no evidence Laduke objected to CI Pierre and Sgt. Kingsbird entering her house. The officers found Laduke's son, Robert McGregor, was injured and summoned an ambulance. The officers then asked the other people in the house to gather in the living room to ascertain if there were any other injuries. The house was not searched. Special Agent Mark Meyers (“SA Meyers”) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrived soon after the individuals were gathered in the living room. SA Meyers took charge of processing the crime scene. The officers conducted an unfruitful search outside of the house, looking for the knife used in the stabbing. The officers did not go back in the house.

         B. August 15, 2018 Interview

         Five days after Valdez's arrest, SA Meyers interviewed Valdez. The interview took place in a conference room at the Red Lake Police Department, which is attached to the Red Lake Detention Center where Valdez had been held since his arrest on August 10, 2018. Criminal Investigator Ron Leyba joined the interview. SA Meyers read Valdez his Miranda rights. SA Meyers then asked Valdez to read aloud the consent statement included within the Advice of Rights document. Valdez did so. SA Meyers asked Valdez if he understood the consent form and Valdez responded, “Yeah, I ...

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