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United States v. Burnett

United States District Court, Third Circuit

July 8, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
ANTHONY BURNETT

MEMORANDUM

EDUARDO C. ROBRENO, J.

Defendants Anthony “Ant” Burnett (Defendant Burnett) and Raheem Hankerson (Defendant Hankerson, collectively, Defendants) were jointly charged by a grand jury as follows: Count I, conspiracy to rob a jewelry store with a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1951(a), (b)(1), and (b)(3); Count II, robbery of a jewelry store with a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1951 and 2; Count III, using and carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1) and (2); and Count IV, possession of a stolen firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(j) and 2. Defendant Burnett was also individually charged in Count VI with possession of a gun by a convicted felon in violation of both 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(e).[1] Before the Court is Defendant Burnett’s motion to suppress his statements given to the police.

On September 29, 2011, Defendant Burnett filed his motion to suppress. Def. Burnett’s Mot. to Suppress, ECF No. 36. On October 3, 2011, the Government filed a response thereto. Gov’t’s Resp. to Def. Burnett’s Mot. to Suppress, ECF No. 38. Following several hearings, on January 20, 2012, the Court requested additional briefing, which was submitted on February 29, 2012. Gov’t’s Supp. Resp. to Def. Burnett’s Mot. to Suppress, ECF No. 61.

Thereafter, on April 11, 2012, the Court heard oral argument. However, on May 2, 2012, Defendant Burnett requested a substitution of counsel, and the Court granted this request. On July 25, 2012, Defendant Burnett—through current counsel— requested that the Court revisit his motion to allow him to present additional evidence, including his medical records and testimony from an expert in pharmacology. The Court granted this request, and on December 10, 2012, held an evidentiary hearing, during which the Court heard testimony from Defendant Burnett’s proffered medical expert, Dr. David M. Benjamin. See Letter from David Benjamin, M.D., to Chambers (Aug. 13, 2012), ECF No. 98, at 1-10 (hereinafter Dr. Benjamin Letter); Curriculum Vitae of David Benjamin, M.D., ECF No. 98, at 11-35 (hereinafter CV). Thereafter, the Court instructed the Government to submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. Gov’t’s Second Supp. Resp. to Def. Burnett’s Mot. to Suppress, ECF No. 112. Defendant Burnett also filed a supplemental memorandum in support of his motion to suppress. Def. Burnett’s Mot. to Supp. Mot. to Suppress, ECF No. 113. Accordingly, Defendant Burnett’s motion to suppress his confession is now ripe for disposition.[2]For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant Defendant Burnett’s motion.[3]

I. FACTS [4]

On March 29, 2011, Defendants allegedly robbed Poland Jewelers at 4347 Main Street in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia.[5] During the robbery, one defendant bound the clerk and storeowner with plastic zip ties and at one point struck the owner across the head with a semiautomatic handgun. Following Defendants’ departure, the victims notified the police. In addition to store merchandise, Defendants also allegedly stole the security tape, a revolver that was kept under the store cash register, and some of the victims’ personal effects.

Following the robbery, Defendants allegedly fled in a black Honda with Defendant Hankerson at the wheel.[6] Unfamiliar with the neighborhood, they became lost and drove down a deadend street—the 200 Block of Kalos Street. After a witness refused to provide a ride, Defendants abandoned the car, leaving the contents behind. A witness then called 911 to report the incident.

The police responded to the Kalos Street report, [7]interviewed the witnesses, who described the Honda’s occupants as African-American males with one wearing a similar coat as described by the robbery victims, and determined that the Honda was registered to 5812 North Lambert Street. Ultimately, the police impounded the vehicle and, pursuant to a warrant, searched the vehicle, uncovering items connected to the robbery as well as various identification documents belonging to Defendant Hankerson.

Thereafter, the police obtained a warrant to search Defendant Hankerson’s residence, 5812 North Lambert Street, and a warrant to arrest Defendant Hankerson. However, on April 5, 2011, Defendant Hankerson surrendered himself to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Defendant Hankerson was transferred to the Philadelphia Police Department, where Detective Ted Wolkiewicz interviewed him.[8] During the interview, Defendant Hankerson implicated Defendant Burnett in the robbery.

The next day, an arrest warrant issued for Defendant Burnett. On April 30, 2011, police encountered Defendant Burnett. After Defendant Burnett brandished a knife, a gun fight ensued between the police officer on the scene and Defendant Burnett, wherein he sustained a gunshot wound to the chest. Defendant Burnett was eventually subdued.

On May 2, 2011, at approximately 9:50 a.m., while in the hospital recovering from the gunshot wound, Defendant Burnett was questioned by Detective Wolkiewicz about the robbery.[9] Prior to speaking with Defendant Burnett, Detective Wolkiewicz testified that he knew little about Defendant Burnett’s condition—other than that he had been shot—and testified that before entering Defendant Burnett’s room, he spoke only with a nurse who said that Defendant Burnett was “fine to talk.”[10]

Detective Wolkiewicz testified that he advised Defendant Burnett of his constitutional rights, which Defendant Burnett waived in writing. Specifically, Detective Wolkiewicz read Defendant Burnett a department-issued card, which described his Miranda rights, and then asked a series of seven follow-up questions designed to assess Defendant Burnett’s understanding of his rights.[11] Defendant Burnett wrote his answers and initials next to each question on the waiver form and then signed and dated the form. Gov’t’s Supp. Resp. to Def. Burnett’s Mot. to Suppress, Ex. 6.

Detective Wolkiewicz then proceeded by first asking several questions regarding basic identifying information. Next, Detective Wolkiewicz asked Defendant Burnett if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Defendant Burnett responded that he had been given morphine but that he was aware of his surroundings.

Regarding Defendant Burnett’s demeanor, Detective Wolkiewicz testified that he appeared alert and that there were no signs that he was confused, having difficulty understanding, slurring his speech, or any other ...


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