United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
TERRENCE F. McVERRY, District Judge.
Pending before the Court is DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS AND/OR PRECLUDE POST-ARREST STATEMENT (WITH CITATION TO AUTHORITY) (ECF No. 697) filed by Allan Williams. The government, with leave of Court, filed a RESPONSE TO DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO SUPPRESS AND/OR EXCLUDE (ECF No. 815). On May 7, 2014, the Court ordered an evidentiary hearing to consider Williams' motion, and the hearing was conducted on May 21, 2014. The motion is now ripe for disposition.
Williams moves to suppress the statement(s) allegedly made by him while he was being transported by FBI agents Thomas Welsh and Scott Meyers from Warren, Ohio to Pittsburgh following his arrest on June 28, 2012. Williams raises two arguments in support of his motion. First, he contends that the statement(s) was not disclosed in a timely fashion and must, therefore, be suppressed under Fed. R. Crim. P. 16. Second, he contends that he was never advised of his Miranda rights prior to allegedly making the statement(s).
I. Findings of Facts
This case arises from of a lengthy investigation of alleged cocaine and heroin trafficking in and around Washington, Pennsylvania. Williams is charged in Count I of the Superseding Indictment with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five (5) kilograms or more of cocaine. Of the 20 Defendants named in either the Original or Superseding Indictment (or both), 12 have entered guilty pleas. Eight, including Williams, remain for trial.
During the evidentiary hearing, the Court heard testimony from FBI agents Welsh and Meyers, along with agent Melissa Fortunato, a crisis negotiator based out of the FBI's Cleveland field office who assisted in Williams' arrest. None of the agents were involved in the underlying investigation of the conspiracy alleged in the Superseding Indictment; however, each was involved in Williams' arrest and/or subsequent transport from Warren, Ohio to Pittsburgh, as part of a large-scale, coordinated "take-down" plan. The Court also admitted one document into evidence during the hearing: a copy of the FD-395 Advice of Rights form, which has been marked as government exhibit 1. In accordance with Fed. R. Crim. P. 12(d), the Court makes the following findings of fact, which are relevant to deciding this motion:
1. Defendant was arrested on the morning of June 28, 2012, when members of the FBI SWAT team based in Cleveland, with the assistance of FBI agents based out of Pittsburgh and local police, executed an arrest warrant at his apartment in Warren, Ohio.
2. Members of the FBI's Cleveland SWAT team went into the apartment first and took Williams into custody.
3. Agents Welsh and Meyers stood outside the apartment during the actual arrest, entering only after Williams had already been taken into custody by the SWAT team.
4. Agents Welsh and Meyers escorted Williams to a SWAT van parked in front of his apartment building.
5. Thereafter, agents Welsh and Fortunato (and possibly one other agent) joined Williams in the back of the SWAT van.
6. Meanwhile, Meyers left to get the vehicle that the agents would use to transport Williams to Pittsburgh for processing and his initial appearance.
7. While in the back of the SWAT van, agent Welsh read Williams his Miranda rights from the standard FBI Advice of Rights form (the FD-395 form).
8. After receiving the warnings, Williams advised agents Welsh and Fortunato that he understood his rights, and each agent signed the Advice of Rights form and indicated that the Miranda ...