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United States v. Williams

March 11, 2009

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
DWAIN WILLIAMS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sylvia H. Rambo United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

I. Background

By indictment filed January 14, 2009, Defendant Dwain Williams was charged, along with a co-defendant, Andrew Booker, with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(iii), and 18 U.S.C. § 2; and with distribution and possession with intent to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(iii), and 18 U.S.C. § 2. The basis for the indictment was as follows.

On December 4, 2008, law enforcement, using an informant, conducted a controlled heroin purchase from Defendants Dwain Williams and Andrew Booker. Another arranged purchase took place on December 9, 2008. At the arranged place where the drug transaction was to take place, Defendants were arrested. Subsequently, at the Pennsylvania State Police substation in York County, a confession was obtained from Williams. The circumstances of the arrest and the interview of Williams is the subject of a motion to suppress. A hearing on the motion was held on March 10, 2009.

II. Evidence

A. Government Evidence

Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Shawn Wolfe ("Trooper Wolfe") was admitted as a drug recognition expert. Trooper Wolfe presented his training in this area. His training was directed in the recognition of persons under the influence of various drugs: alcohol, cocaine, heroin, depressants, etc.

Trooper Wolfe was in another car about 100 yards from the arrest which took place bout 9:00 p.m. or shortly thereafter. He interviewed Williams at the substation. Prior to taking Williams' statement, Wolfe advised Williams of his Miranda rights and made an assessment that he was not under the influence. The assessment was made by speaking to Williams, examining his demeanor, checking his eyes and facial expressions, his responses and cognitive reasoning. Williams did not complain about being dizzy or high.

Williams agreed to give a statement in which he said he said that he was delivering heroin to another party in Pennsylvania; he drove from Maryland with 100 grams of heroin; he was to receive $10,000.00 for the same -- $7,000.00 was to go to his supplier in Maryland and he was to receive $3,000.00. Trooper Wolfe testified that Williams tried to make a bargain with him that if he would be allowed to go that night, he would be able to get 500 grams of heroin.

On cross-examination, Trooper Wolfe admitted he did not ask Williams if he was using drugs at the time of the interview and that he did not do all the twelve-step process he had been trained to use in determining whether an individual was intoxicated. On redirect, Trooper Wolfe explained he did not feel it was necessary to go through the twelve-step process because there was no question in his mind that Williams was not under the influence of drugs. On cross examination, Trooper Wolfe testified that he did not see officers jump Williams and knock him to the ground.

Trooper Wolfe testified that there was no written waiver of Miranda warnings. The police report filed seven days later is the only written report of the interview. He testified that some indicators of heroin use are sleepiness, inability to pay attention, constricted pupils and itchy skin.

Special Agent Christopher Nawrocki testified that he was one of the officers who performed the arrest of Williams. He stated there was no struggle and that Williams was not tossed to the ground but was placed on the ground and handcuffed. Williams then walked to the vehicle which transported him to the police station.

Agent Nawrocki testified that two small capsules filled with a small amount of a substance were found in Williams' car, but does not remember if there were empty capsules in the car.

B. Defendant's Evidence

Dwain Williams took the stand and testified. He had driven from Baltimore to Pennsylvania, somewhere near Shrewsbury. Once he crossed the Maryland state line, he sniffed three capsules of heroin -- about three grams. He then drove to the meeting place to do the drug transaction. Williams initially testified that it was a twelve minute drive but later said it took him two to five minutes to get to the meeting place.

Williams was out of his car with his back turned when the police arrived. He says he was thrown to the ground and knocked unconscious. He claims for the rest of the evening he was in and out of consciousness, dizzy and had an injured shoulder which hurts to this day. After being knocked to the ground, he did not regain consciousness until he awoke in the van that took him to the police station. He did not remember Wolfe or talking to him. He did not remember Miranda warnings; he was not always conscious and that he remembers waking up in York County Prison the next morning ...


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