United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
For Nygee Jamal Taylor, Defendant: Melinda C. Ghilardi, LEAD ATTORNEY, Federal Public Defender's Office, Scranton, PA.
For USA, Plaintiff: Amy Phillips, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. Attorney's Office - Criminal Division, Scranton, PA.
A. Richard Caputo, United States District Judge.
Defendant Nygee Jamal Taylor, a felon, seeks to suppress incriminating statements he made to law enforcement concerning the possession of a firearm. Presently before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Suppress Statements (Doc. 19). The Court held a Suppression Hearing on Defendant's motion on May 5, 2014. Because Defendant was subject to a custodial interrogation on December 5, 2012, Defendant's motion will be granted in part and denied in part.
The facts developed at a hearing on the issue are these. The Defendant was shot in the vicinity of the Sherman Hills Apartment Complex in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on November 29, 2012, at about 6:30 in the evening. He was taken to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center with gunshot
wounds to both legs and the groin. The Wilkes-Barre Police investigated the scene, and at the scene discovered ten (10) 45 calibre shell casings, three (3) 22 calibre shell casings, one (1) 22 calibre live bullet, a 22 calibre pistol, a cell phone, and a " pool of blood" in which the 22 calibre pistol was located.
Shortly after these discoveries, two Wilkes-Barre Police Detectives, Elick and Simonetti, went to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center to talk to Defendant. They were dressed in plain clothes, but had their badges and firearms. Detective Elick testified that the medical staff advised him that Defendant was going to undergo surgery; that he could talk to Defendant; but to be brief. Detective Elick testified that he identified himself to Defendant, did not give him a Miranda Warning, and asked him if he knew the identity of the person who shot him. He further testified that Defendant told him the shooter was a man named " Hollywood", and that he was walking in Sherman Hills and a " gun fight ensued" .
Defendant was released from the hospital after surgery on December 4, 2012. He went to 132 South Wells Street in Wilkes-Barre, a home occupied by Millagros Rivera and her two children. On December 5, 2012, Detective Elick, along with a Luzerne County Detective, Christopher Lynch, went to the Wells Street residence to talk further with Defendant. Detectives Elick and Lynch were allowed entry and were taken to Defendant, who was immobile, in bed convalescing. They identified themselves, were in plain clothes, and had badges and firearms. They did not give Defendant a Miranda Warning. Detective Elick testified that he asked again about the identity of the person who shot Defendant, and Defendant said he did not know his name or face, but that he had a pea coat on, a red shirt, and gray sweat pants; that he was black; had a medium build, and was about 5'10" . He also testified that Defendant told him there was a second gunman who appeared at the scene. There was no testimony as to whether the second gunman fired any shots. At this point, Detective Elick told Defendant there was a second gun recovered at the scene; that it was in a pool of blood; and asked whether this gun would have Defendant's prints on it; and that Defendant said it would. Detective Elick further testified that Defendant said the gun was in his coat; he took it out and fired it; that it was a Jennings 22 calibre automatic; and, that he did not believe it was stolen. He also said the person who shot him was " Hollywood", and that he and Hollywood were members of the Bloods; and that a " hit" was ordered on Defendant.
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that no person " shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." U.S. Const., amend. V. In Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966), the Supreme Court held that statements obtained during a custodial interrogation where a person was not informed of his right to counsel or his right to remain silent were obtained in violation of the Fifth Amendment and were, therefore, inadmissible. Id. at 477-79. Statements elicited during a ...