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UNITED STATES v. CONLEY

June 30, 1994

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
JOHN F. "Duffy" CONLEY, WILLIAM C. CURTIN, SHEILA F. SMITH, JOHN FRANCIS "Jack" CONLEY, THOMAS "Bud" McGRATH, MARK A. ABBOTT, THOMAS ROSSI, WILLIAM STEINHART, ROBERTA FLEAGLE, ROBIN SPRATT, MONICA C. KAIL, WILLIAM J. REED, JOANNE T. SMITH, KENNETH "Ron" GOODWIN, LAWRENCE N. "Neudy" DEMINO, SR., CHRISTOPHER "Chris" KAIL, JOSEPH A. DEVITA, FRANK GAROFALO, THOMAS D. CIOCCO, MICHAEL SUKALY, PHILLIP M. "Mike" FERRELL, ANESTOS "Naz" RODITES, and WILLIAM E. RUSIN, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LEE

 Before the Court is Defendant John F. "Duffy" Conley's Motion to Suppress Evidence (Document No. 832). In prior proceedings, the Court suppressed evidence of statements made by John F. "Duffy" Conley ("Duffy Conley") on October 30, 1989. The Court concluded that, under the applicable law, the statements were unconstitutionally coerced statements in violation of the Fifth Amendment. United States v. Conley, 1994 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10663, Crim. No. 91-178, slip op. (W.D. Pa. January 7, 1994) (Document No. 800). The Court also issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order denying the Government's Motion for Reconsideration of Order Suppressing Statement. Docket No. 919). In the motion presently before the Court, Duffy Conley seeks to suppress all the Government's evidence because, in summary, the evidence of gambling activities gathered by federal officials after Duffy Conley's October 30, 1989 statement is tainted by the statement in that the statement motivated and was the cause of the subsequent investigation into gambling activities.

 Findings of Fact

 1. On July 20, 1989, the late Honorable Gerald J. Weber, United States District Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania, granted partial summary judgment in favor of the Government in an in rem civil forfeiture action brought against a variety of video poker machines. United States v. 294 Various Gambling Devices, 718 F. Supp. 1236 (W.D. Pa. 1989).

 2. Notwithstanding the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in Commonwealth v. Two Elec. Poker Game Mach., 502 Pa. 186, 465 A.2d 973 (1983), which held that video poker machines are not per se illegal if they are not actually equipped with knock-off switches and meters, Judge Weber held that "all . . . video poker machines with knock off switches and meters, or the provision in wiring, circuitry or programming to accommodate the addition of knock off switches and meters" are per se illegal under federal law. 294 Various Gambling Devices, 718 F. Supp. at 1246 (emphasis in original).

 4. One of those meetings occurred in the United States Attorney's Office, then occupied by Acting United States Attorney Charles Sheehy. Mr. Sheehy, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig McKay, Former FBI Supervising Agent Robert Garrity ("Garrity"), FBI Special Agent Charles Duffy, ("S.A. Duffy"), FBI Special Agent John Donnelly ("S.A. Donnelly") and Pennsylvania State Troopers Cunningham and Aaronson were present. (N.T. April 4, 1994, at 116).

 5. The meeting was called to introduce the members of the law enforcement groups to each other and to the Acting United States Attorney's plan to implement Judge Weber's decision. (N.T. April 4, 1994, at 116-17).

 6. Targets of the joint task force were identified by name. (N.T. April 4, 1994, at 117). Duffy Conley, Three Rivers Coin, his company, and several of his associates were targeted for prosecution at this meeting. Also targeted were Haubelt Vending and the Arnold Coin Company. (N.T. April 4, 1994, at 117-19).

 7. As a result of the early meetings, where federal, state and local officials shared information on video poker gambling operations conducted the City of Pittsburgh and surrounding areas, federal officials, including Garrity, S.A. Duffy and S.A. Donnelly, concluded that Duffy Conley was involved in the largest video poker machine gambling operation in the Pittsburgh area.

 8. Though the FBI agents were convinced that Duffy Conley was involved in the largest video poler machine gambling operations, they did not know the exact parameters of his involvement.

 9. The FBI had reason to believe that Duffy Conley and his company were under the direction of Ninny Lagatutta, a suspected member associate of organized crime. (N.T. April 14, 1994, at 11). The FBI had reason to believe that Ninny Lagatutta had a hidden interest in Haubelt Vending Co.

 10. In a related investigation being conducted out of an already opened FBI RICO case file (the "RICO file"), S.A. Donnelly was investigating an individual named Sonny Ciancutti. Sonny Ciancutti was believed to have a hidden interest in Arnold Coin Company.

 11. From the records of Arnold Coin, S.A. Donnelly had identified Duffy Conley as a potential informant and/or defendant in the RICO case. As a member of the joint task force on video poker gambling, S.A. Donnelly was also aware that Duffy Conley and his company had been targeted by the task force in its early meetings.

 12. In mid-October of 1989, S.A. Donnelly paid a visit to Duffy Conley at Duffy Conley's Windgap Avenue Warehouse. (See Document Nos. 800 & 919).

 13. S.A. Donnelly was surprised at the relatively cooperative attitude displayed by Duffy Conley. S.A. Donnelly was excited and informally reported the conversation to his supervising agent, Garrity, on the day of or day after the Windgap encounter. (N.T. April 14, 1994, at 25-29). S.A. Donnelly did so notwithstanding his promise to Duffy Conley that they could speak "off the record" and his assurance to Duffy Conley that he was not a target of investigation.

 14. S.A. Donnelly went to the Main Hotel on Monday, October 30, 1989 in an effort to re-contact Duffy Conley, which he did. Duffy Conley's statements that day are the statements which have been suppressed by the Court and from which the ...


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