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United States v. D-8 Gerald Deshawn Turner

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

February 18, 2015

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
D-8 Gerald Deshawn Turner, Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS [138] AND DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR A BILL OF PARTICULARS [91]

NANCY G. EDMUNDS, District Judge.

Defendant is charged in a March 5, 2014 indictment with one count of RICO conspiracy, 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d), and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). The charges arise out of Defendant's alleged participation in the Bounty Hunters gang from 2006 through 2009. This matter comes before the Court on Defendant's motion to suppress statements, (Dkt. 138), and Defendant's motion for a bill of particulars. (Dkt. 91.) The Court held an evidentiary hearing on February 17, 2015. For the reasons stated below, Defendant's motion to suppress and motion for a bill of particulars are both DENIED.

I. Facts

On March 20, 2014, two agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) arrested Defendant at his place of work and transported him to the ATF field office in Detroit for interrogation. The interrogation was recorded. Prior to questioning Defendant, the agents presented him with a Miranda waiver form. (Def.'s Mot., Ex. B.) Defendant read out loud and initialed each line and signed the form. During the interrogation, the agents questioned Defendant on his association with the Bounty Hunter gang. Defendant alleges that the agents threatened him with a lengthy prison sentence if he did not cooperate, manipulated his religious beliefs, and implied that he would receive lenient treatment if he cooperated. Specifically, Defendant points to the following statement:

Obviously, you've had a job for a while. My goal was to not have you doing 20 years or something crazy.... You do not have to do nowhere near that if you're cooperative and the judge believes you that you're cooperative. They can decide whatever they want to give you. What I'd like to do is tell the prosecutor that you're willing to get on board and get on top of this before this comes down and you do everything these other guys are gonna do.

(Gov.'s Resp., Ex. 2 at 10:21:05-10:21:35.) After approximately 90 minutes of questioning, the interview ended.

II. Analysis

A. Defendant's Motion to Suppress

Defendant argues that his confession should be suppressed because the Government has not proved that he waived his Miranda rights and because it was made involuntarily.

1. Miranda Waiver

A suspect may waive his Miranda rights "provided the waiver is made knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily." Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444 (1966). The Government bears the burden of establishing a waiver by the preponderance of the evidence. United States v. Adams, 583 F.3d 457, 467 (6th Cir. 2009).

Shortly before the evidentiary hearing held on February 17, 2015, the Government provided the Court with a disc containing the portion of the interview where the agents presented Defendant with a Miranda waiver form and Defendant signed it. (This portion had been omitted from the disc provided as an exhibit to the Government's response brief.) Based on this video, and the testimony provided by Special Agent Joe Nether at the hearing, the Court finds that Defendant waived his Miranda rights prior to his interrogation on March 20, 2014.

2. Involuntary Confession

The Fifth Amendment privilege against compulsory self-incrimination bars the admission of involuntary confessions. Colorado v. Connelly, 479 U.S. 157, 163-64 (1986). A confession is considered involuntary if: (1) the police extorted the confession by means of coercive activity; (2) the coercion in question was sufficient to overbear the will of the accused; and (3) the will of the accused was in fact overborne ...


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