United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING THE GOVERNMENT'S MOTION IN LIMINE
TO ADMIT DEFENDANT'S STATEMENTS
F. Cox United States District Court Judge.
Defendant Christopher Staton was indicted, he entered into a
proffer agreement with the Government. This agreement
required Staton to provide “truthful and
complete” information about a drug conspiracy that it
believed he had aided. As long as he did, the Government
agreed to not offer any of his proffer statements in its
case-in-chief if it decided to prosecute him.
proffer session, Staton-a police officer-denied performing a
traffic stop at the direction of a drug trafficker. The
Government investigated further and, believing this denial to
be a lie, scheduled a polygraph examination for Staton.
Before the test, however, Staton admitted that he had lied
and that he did, in fact, perform a traffic stop for the drug
Government decided to prosecute Staton. A grand jury indicted
Staton on a drug conspiracy charge and for lying to federal
officers. Trial will begin on September 10, 2019.
Government has filed the only motion in limine in
this case. In its motion, the Government argues that it may
introduce Staton's proffered statements in its
case-in-chief because Staton materially breached the proffer
agreement by lying about the traffic stop and omitting other
details about his participation in the conspiracy. (ECF No.
264). Staton responded. (ECF No. 271). The Court heard
testimony from FBI Special Agent Michael Fitzgerald and
arguments on this issue on September 9, 2019.
reasons below, the Court will grant the Government's
motion to the extent it rules that the Government is not
bound by the proffer agreement.
2017, the Government began wiretapping the phone of Meltwaine
Dukes, a drug trafficker. This wiretap revealed that Dukes
was concerned that one of his runners was lying to him about
having a drug shipment seized by the police during a traffic
stop. Dukes believed that the runner had actually stolen the
shipment and fabricated the traffic-stop story as a cover up.
So he called Staton, an old friend who was an officer with
the Detroit Police Department. With federal agents listening,
Dukes and Staton discussed the details of the alleged traffic
stop, and Staton agreed to look into whether the stop and
seizure had actually occurred.
Government then wiretapped Staton's phone. This wiretap
revealed more communications between Dukes and Staton,
including a text exchange where Dukes sent a license plate
number and Staton provided the owner's name and address.
the Government confronted Staton with the evidence it had
collected. In July 2018, Staton agreed to meet with the
Government for a proffer. Before making any statements,
Staton (and his attorney) signed a proffer agreement.
agreement outlined the purpose of the proffer:
[The Government's] purposes in participating in a proffer
session include: (a) to receive truthful information from
[Staton], including information about possible criminal
activity by [Staton] and others; and (b) to evaluate
[Statons's] credibility as a source of information and
potential witness. In return, this office will consider
[Staton's] proffer statements in deciding how to resolve
this investigation as it relates to [Staton] and any charges
pending against [Staton] being prosecuted by this office.
(ECF No. 264-2, PageID 1094).
agreement required Staton to ...