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United States v. Redmond

United States District Court, D. Nevada

April 13, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
RUDY REDMOND, Defendant.

          ORDER MOTION TO SUPPRESS [ECF NO. 106]

          CAM FERENBACH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Defendant Rudy Redmond's Motion to Suppress. (ECF No. 106). For the reasons discussed below, Defendant's motion is denied.

         BACKGROUND

         Defendant faces charges arising from the robbery of EZ Pawn stores by a group of suspects. (ECF No. 73). Defendant was arrested and interrogated on October 7, 2016. (ECF No. 106 at 2). After being read his Miranda rights, Defendant gave several statements incriminating himself and others in the robberies. (ECF No. 91 at 14-62).

         On March 5, 2018, Defendant filed a motion to suppress the statements he made to detectives on October 7, 2016. (ECF No. 106). Redmond argues that he did not voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently waive his right to remain silent because (1) he “had taken Xanax and an unknown pain killer[1]about an hour before he was arrested and gave this statement, ” (2) he was “feeling dizzy, and light headed because of the officers repeated punching him and pushing his head into the ground during his arrest, ” and (3) “the detectives coerced Redmond into a confession by threats of maximum prison time.” (ECF No. 106 at 2-3, 7). In response, the Government argues that Defendant was not intoxicated or deliberately injured when he waived his Miranda rights and detectives did not coerce Defendant into confessing. (ECF No. 112 at 5-8).

         The Court held an evidentiary hearing on April 10, 2018. (ECF No. 124). Officer Ivins testified that in the process of being taken into custody, Defendant ran from police in a residential area and fell to the ground twice. The second time he fell, officers were able to hold him down and place him in handcuffs, though Defendant was still struggling. Officer Ivins did not see any officers hit, punch, or kick Defendant. Defendant had injuries on his face after his arrest, and officers summoned medical services to treat Defendant.[2] Detectives Beveridge and Condratovich testified about their interrogation of Defendant. They testified that Defendant gave no impression of being intoxicated during the interview, because he was articulate and lucid in answering the detective's questions.

         Defendant testified that he took a Xanax at approximately 11:00 am on October 7, 2016 and he was arrested around noon that day. He was able to clearly remember his arrest. Defendant testified that he fell once while running from police, saw that he was surrounded, and then voluntarily surrendered to police by getting down on the ground, placing his hands behind his back, and crossing his ankles. Defendant stated that four or five officers punched and kicked him 15-20 times and pushed his face into the ground. Defendant was able to remember telling paramedics that that he was in pain and had been beaten by the officers, though there is no report to support this. Defendant was able to remember being at the scene of his arrest for hours before being taken to the interrogation, which took place starting at 6:45 pm. Defendant was not able to remember anything that took place during the interrogation because of the Xanax he had taken earlier that day.

         The parties submitted three items into evidence. The first exhibit was Defendant's booking photograph. (ECF No. 125 at 2). It shows scrapes on Defendant's chin and cheek and bruising on his forehead. (Id.). The second exhibit was an audio recording of Defendant's interrogation. (Id. at 1). It was not played during the hearing, but the Court listened to it prior to issuing this Order. The Court noted that the Detectives' tone throughout the interrogation was not threatening and Defendant's manner during the interrogation was practically identical to his manner while testifying at the April 10, 2018 hearing. The third exhibit was a written transcript of Defendant's interrogation. (ECF No. 126, previously submitted in ECF No. 91). Defendant drew attention to several comments made during the interrogation. Defendant stated, “When I'm barred out, like the night I got arrested. I-I black out. And I don't remember nothing.” (ECF No. 91 at 28). Detectives talked to Defendant about the punishment he could face if convicted and the potential benefits of telling the truth to help the investigation. (Id. at 20, 23-25, 32, 49-50, 68-70). Detective Beveridge stated at one point that if Defendant lied, Detective Beveridge is “ready to throw you to the wolves.” (Id. at 23). Defendant did not mention to the Detectives that any violence took place during his arrest.

         DISCUSSION

         A waiver of Miranda rights must be “made voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently.” Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444 (1966). “A waiver is voluntary if, under the totality of the circumstances, the confession was the product of a free and deliberate choice rather than coercion or improper inducement.” United States v. Doe, 155 F.3d 1070, 1074 (9th Cir. 1998). “There is a presumption against waiver, and the burden of showing a valid waiver is on the prosecutor.” United States v. Bernard S., 795 F.2d 749, 752 (9th Cir. 1986). “Whenever the State bears the burden of proof in a motion to suppress a statement that the defendant claims was obtained in violation of our Miranda doctrine, the State need prove waiver only by a preponderance of the evidence.” Colorado v. Connelly, 479 U.S. 157, 168 (1986).

         I. Defendant's Alleged Intoxication

         An individual's intoxication is relevant to determining whether statements made to police are admissible. Gladden v. Unsworth, 396 F.2d 373, 380 (9th Cir. 1968) (stating that if an individual “was in a drunken stupor approaching mania, ” “the error in admitting the testimony concerning those statements was so gross and so prejudicial as to amount to denial of due process”); United States v. Guaydacan, 470 F.2d 1173, 1174 (9th Cir. 1972). The intoxication must be such that the individual was “incapable of waiving his Miranda rights.” United States v. Alexander, 106 F.3d 874, 877 (9th Cir. 1997).

         The Court finds that Defendant was not intoxicated during the interrogation to a degree that would affect his ability to waive his Miranda rights. Detectives Beveridge and Condratovich testified credibly that Defendant was lucid throughout the interrogation and was able to answer questions in a linear manner. This matches the Court's impression of the interrogation's audio recording. Defendant acted consistently during the interrogation with how he acted during the April 10, 2018 hearing. In addition, the Court finds that Defendant did not communicate to Detectives that he had taken a Xanax that day. Defendant mentioned being addicted to Xanax (ECF No. 91 at 24, 28, 64, 70-71), but not taking one earlier that day. While Defendant referenced blacking out from intoxication “like the night I got arrested” (ECF No. 91 at 28), this comment could not have applied to his October 7, 2016 arrest. Defendant was arrested around noon. The Court finds that Defendant was referencing an earlier arrest. (Id. at 14).

         The Court does not find Defendant's testimony on this issue credible. Defendant stated he took a Xanax before the robbery and was able to remember the events of the day until the interrogation. Defendant was able to recall very specific details regarding his arrest, including the exact position he took to voluntarily surrender to police, the number of officers, and times that the officers allegedly punched and kicked him. Defendant was able to remember speaking to the paramedics and remaining at the crime scene for several hours. Defendant's claimed memory loss only appears to ...


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