United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Richard Caputo United States District Judge
Jessie Con-ui is charged by indictment with two capital
offenses and one non-capital offense. (Doc. 1). Counts one
and two of the indictment allege that, on February 25, 2013,
Mr. Con-ui, while an inmate at the United States Penitentiary
Canaan Federal Correctional Complex ("USP Canaan"),
committed a first-degree murder of federal corrections
officer Eric Williams ("Officer Williams"), in
violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1111 and 1114(1). Count
three alleges that Mr. Con-ui knowingly possessed a
prohibited object, namely, a sharpened weapon, in violation
of §§ 1791(a)(2), (d)(1)(B), and (b)(3).
March 17, 2017, shortly before the commencement of his
capital trial on April 24, 2017, Mr. Con-ui moved to suppress
several un-Mirandized incriminatory statements he made to
prison staff following the murder of Officer Williams on
February 25, 2013. (Doc. 998, at 2).
hearing on the motion was held on May 25, 2017. The motion
has been fully briefed and is now ripe for disposition. I
will address each statement identified by Mr. Con-ui as
violative of his Fifth Amendment rights in turn.
criminal defendant brings motions to suppress evidence under
Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12(b)(3)(C). A defendant
may move to suppress evidence obtained in violation of the
Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution's
privilege against self-incrimination.
Fifth Amendment provides that "[n]o person ... shall be
compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against
himself." U.S. Const. amend. V. To protect that right,
the Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona ruled that
police may not conduct a custodial interrogation without
first administering the now-familiar Miranda
warnings, which include the right to remain silent and the
right to the presence of an attorney. 384 U.S. 436, 479
(1966); accord Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S.
428, 443-44 (2000) (revisiting and reaffirming
Miranda ). In general, if a suspect is not so
warned, and does not thereafter make a knowing and voluntary
waiver of those rights, the prosecution is barred from using
statements obtained during the interrogation to establish its
case in chief. See Michigan v. Harvey, 494 U.S. 344,
350 (1990); cf. Harris v. New York, 401 U.S. 222,
224-26 (1971) (holding that statements obtained in violation
of Miranda may be admitted for impeachment
purposes). Both inculpatory and exculpatory statements fall
within the ambit of Miranda, 384 U.S. at 444.
"A defendant's statements made in the course of a
custodial interrogation are not admissible as evidence unless
the defendant received appropriate warnings, or an exception
applies." United States v. Leese, 176 F.3d 740,
743 (3d Cir. 1999).
safeguards are required when a suspect is "(1) 'in
custody' and (2) subject to 'interrogation' by
the Government." 384 U.S. at 444; see also
Leese, 176 F.3d at 743. A suspect is in custody when
"there is a 'formal arrest or restraint on freedom
of movement' of the degree associated with a formal
arrest." California v. Beheler, 463 U.S. 1121,
1125 (1983) (quoting Oregon v. Mathiason, 429 U.S.
492, 495 (1977) (per curiam)). An "interrogation"
has been defined as "(a) conduct intentionally designed
to evoke a confession, as well as (b) any conduct an officer
should reasonably have foreseen would elicit an inculpatory
response." United States v. Bonner, 469
Fed.Appx. 119, 126 (3d Cir. 2012) (citing Rhode Island v.
Innis, 446 U.S. 291, 301 (1980)). The term
"interrogation" includes express questioning and
any words or actions on the part of the police "that the
police should know are reasonably likely to elicit an
incriminating response." Innis, 446 U.S. at
301. Consequently, an officer cannot be held responsible for
an unforeseeable statement by the suspect. Id. at
statement is involuntary when the suspect's "will
[is] overborne in such a way as to render his confession the
product of coercion." Arizona v. Fulimante, 499
U.S. 279, 288 (1991). Whether a statement is voluntarily made
is determined from "'the totality of all the
surrounding circumstances-both the characteristics of the
accused and the details of the interrogation.'"
Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428, 434 (2000)
(quoting Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218,
general rule, the burden of proof is on a defendant who seeks
to suppress evidence. Unites States v. Johnson, 63
F.3d 242, 245 (3d Cir. 1995). However, once the defendant has
established a basis for his motion, the government is
required to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the
defendant's statements were not the product of custodial
interrogation. See United States v. DeSumma, 44
F.Supp.2d 700, 703 (E.D. Pa. 1999); see also United
States v. Barnes, 2005 WL 1899502, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Aug.
8, 2005); United States v. Prince, 157 F.Supp.2d
316, 324 (D. Del. 2001).
1. Mr. Con-ui's Statements during an Exchange
with Officer Boynton
after 10:00 p.m. on February 25, 2013 at USP Canaan,
correctional officer Jeremy Bennett discovered Officer
Williams on the floor of prison Unit C-1 (the
“Unit”), unconscious and bleeding from wounds on
his face, head, and neck. (T.R. 11-13, 31, 67, 107, Doc.
1152). No inmates were in sight; it appeared that all inmates
had retreated to their cells, which encircled the unit. (T.R.
13). The doors to their cells, however, were unlocked. (T.R.
32-33, 89-90, 107, 123). Officer Bennett immediately summoned
other officers who quickly descended on the unit. (T.R. 13).
entering the unit and learning of Officer Williams's
condition, Lieutenant Brian Sudul yelled out: "I'm
going to kill one of you motherfuckers." (T.R. 34). All
one hundred seventeen (117) inmates housed in the Unit at the
time remained in their cells. (T.R. 13, 132). Lt. Sudul then
armed himself with a pepper ball gun and ordered officers to
lock all cells. (T.R. 33-34, 35). Over the course of
approximately ten minutes, all sixty-four (64) cell doors
were individually locked without incident. (T.R. 33-35, 68,
107-08; Doc. 998-4, at 2). After all of the inmates were
secured, Lt. Sudul left the Unit to assess Officer
Williams's condition in the medical unit. (T.R. 37).
standard procedure, the officers began conducting visual
upper body searches of each inmate. (T.R. 36). Shortly
afterwards, following the discovery of blood on the stairs
leading to Mr. Con-ui's cell, Officer Ryan Boynton, along
with other officers, approached Mr. Con-ui's cell. (T.R.
70, 92, 110, 124).
Boynton performed a visual upper body check and noticed a cut
on the palm of Mr. Con-ui's hand. (T.R. 93). Officer
Boynton said, "Did you do this?" Mr. Con-ui nodded
his head in the affirmative. (T.R. 93). Officer Boynton then
said, "You did this? You killed him? Over what?"
Mr. Con-ui responded, "Yes, disrespect issue."
(T.R. 93-94). Officer Boynton noticed that Mr. Con-ui was
holding a clear plastic knife. (T.R. 94). Officer Boynton
ordered Mr. Con-ui to slide the knife under the door, but Mr.
Con-ui said, "No, I'll keep it." (T.R. 94).
Officer Boynton ordered him again to slide the knife under
the door and Mr. Con-ui said, "No, you'll kill
me." (T.R. 94).
Con-ui now seeks to suppress the above-cited statements,
which, as is undisputed, were un-Mirandized. (See, e.g., T.R.
100). Specifically, Mr. Con-ui argues that he was subjected
to "custodial interrogation" within the meaning of
the Fifth Amendment when he made those statements. (Doc. 998,
Supreme Court has held, an inmate is not automatically in
"custody" within the meaning of Miranda.
Howes v. Fields, 565 U.S. 499 (2012); Burkholder
v. Newton, 116 Fed.Appx. 358, 361 (3d Cir. 2004);
United States v. Chamberlain, 163 F.3d 499, 503 (8th
Cir. 1999). Miranda warnings are required in prison
interrogations only when there is a "change in the
surroundings of the prisoner which results in an added
imposition on his freedom of movement."
Burkholder, 116 Fed.Appx. at 361 (quoting United
States v. Conley, 779 F.2d 970, 973 (4th Cir. 1985)).
It is true that taking a prisoner aside for questioning may
necessitate some additional limitations on his freedom of
movement. A prisoner may, for example, be removed from an
exercise yard and taken, under close guard, to the room where
the interview is to be held. But such procedures are an
ordinary and familiar attribute of life behind bars. Escorts
and special security precautions may be standard procedures
regardless of the purpose for which an inmate is removed from
his regular routine and taken to a special location.
Howes, 565 U.S. at 513. "Because restraint on
freedom is the status quo of a prisoner, the courts examine
the totality of the circumstances surrounding the
interrogation to ascertain whether the defendant should be
deemed 'in custody' for purposes of
Miranda." Bruce v. United States, 439
F.Supp.2d 364, 371 (M.D. Pa. 2006). The relevant factors
include "the language or means used to summon the
prisoner to the interrogation, the prisoner's freedom to
leave the scene of the interrogation, the purpose, place and
length of the interrogation, any added imposition on the
prisoner's freedom of movement and whether circumstances
suggest any measure of compulsion above and beyond
confinement." Id. (quoting United States v.
Caro, 2006 WL 1594185 at *1 n.1 (W.D. Va. June 2,
2006)); see also Howes, 565 U.S. at 514 ("When
a prisoner is questioned, the determination of custody should
focus on all of the features of the interrogation, "
including the language used in summoning the prisoner to the
interview, and the manner in which the interrogation is
Supreme Court has explained, Miranda applies to
situations when an arrestee is subject to a "sharp and
ominous change" in environment when arrested and then
"whisked to a police station for questioning, "
because the shock of such a change "may give rise to
coercive pressures." Howes, 565 U.S. at 511.
"By contrast, when a person who is already serving a
term of imprisonment is questioned, there is usually no such
change" in environment. Id. "Interrogated
suspects who have previously been convicted of crime live in
prison, " and "[f]or a person serving a term of
incarceration . . . the ordinary restrictions of prison life
. . . are expected and familiar and thus do not involve the
same 'inherently compelling pressures' that are often
present when a suspect is yanked from familiar surroundings
in the outside world and subjected to interrogation in a
police station." Id. (citing Maryland v.
Shatzer, 559 U.S. 98, 103 (2010)).
find that the totality of the facts and circumstances
attendant to the exchange with Officer Boynton did not amount
to custody for purposes of Miranda. Nothing suggests
that any additional burden was imposed on Mr. Con-ui's
otherwise constrained freedom of movement.
Con-ui was not free to leave his cell because he was an
inmate and being confined to a locked cell was the normal and
expected restraint on freedom he, along with hundreds of
other inmates, experienced on a daily basis prior to the
incident as a natural consequence of incarceration. (T.R.
11). Confinement inside a locked cell, at the time Mr. Con-ui
made the statements at issue, was Mr. Con-ui's usual
Mr. Con-ui was isolated from other inmates at the time he was
approached by the officers, Mr. Con-ui was not removed from
the prison population for the purposes of the questioning,
and his isolation was again a result of the ordinary
procedures requiring inmates to be locked in their cells in
the evening. (T.R. 11). As the Supreme Court has held,
"[i]solation from the general prison population . . .
does not suggest on its own the atmosphere of coercion that
concerned the Court in Miranda."
Howes, 565 U.S. at 513. In no way was Mr. Con-ui
"cut off from his normal life[.]" Shatzer,
559 U.S. at 106.
manner in which the questioning was conducted also does not
suggest a coercive environment with which Miranda
was concerned. Mr. Con-ui was interviewed in a non-coercive
area - his own cell - and was not pressured to disclose any
information. (T.R. 94, 95 (describing Mr. Con-ui as
"relaxed, very calm")). There is nothing to suggest
that a coercive tone or manner was employed by the officers,
nor is there any evidence of deception or compulsion. (T.R.
94, 95). See Shatzer, 559 U.S. at 112 (stating that
courts must assess "whether the relevant environment
presents the same inherently coercive pressures as the type
of station house questioning at issue in
Miranda"). In fact, Mr. Con-ui felt free to
exercise his right not to speak when he declined to answer
Officer Ryan Swartzfager questions about the origin of the
cuts on Mr. Con-ui's hand, which suggests an awareness on
Mr. Con-ui's part that he could freely terminate the
exchange under these circumstances. (T.R. 71).
officer present during the exchange was armed; even if Mr.
Con-ui was not aware of that, no weapons were drawn or
displayed. (T.R. 51). There is no evidence that Mr.
Con-ui was formally placed under arrest or that he was bound
or physically restrained by the officers. The visual body
check conducted by the officers on Mr. Con-ui was also
"an ordinary and familiar attribute of life behind bars,
" Howes, 565 U.S. at 513, as it was conducted
on all inmates in the Unit as a result of the earlier
incident. (T.R. 36-37, 69).
is no evidence that the officers tricked or baited Mr. Con-ui
or that aggressive questioning tactics were employed.
Moreover, the questioning lasted no more than a few seconds.
(T.R. 94-95). Cf. Howes, 565 U.S. at 515
(five-to-seven-hour prison interview that "continued
well past the hour when respondent generally went to
bed" was non-custodial).
Con-ui was also never told that he was considered a suspect.
See Stansbury v. California, 511 U.S. 318, 325
(1994) (although officers' statements to suspects are
relevant to custody analysis, "[e]ven a clear statement
from an officer that the person under interrogation is a
prime suspect is not, in itself, dispositive of the custody
issue"). Thus, a reasonable person in Mr.
Con-ui's position would have understood himself not to be
"in custody" but, rather, to be free to discontinue
the brief conversation.
the circumstances discussed above did not create a custodial
environment for purposes of Miranda. There was no
"change in the surroundings of the prisoner which
result[ed] in an added imposition on his freedom of
movement." Cervantes, 589 F.2d at 428. Mr.
Con-ui was already locked in his cell at the time of the
exchange at issue, and there were no changes in his
circumstances which would signify the "inherently
coercive pressures" contemplated by the Miranda
Court. Fields, 565 U.S. at 509. It is thus clear
that the statements were not elicited in a custodial setting.
See Wilson v. Cain, 641 F.3d 96, 100-04 (5th Cir.
2011); United States v. Armstrong, 2010 WL 3981005,
at *10 (W.D. Pa. Oct. 8, 2010), aff'd sub nom.
United States v. Diehl-Armstrong, 504 Fed.Appx. 152
(3d Cir. 2012); United States v. Melancon, 2010 WL
324007, at *7 (E.D. La. Jan. 21, 2010), aff'd,
662 F.3d 708 (5th Cir. 2011); see also United States v.
Conley, 779 F.2d 970, 974 (4th Cir. 1985).
whether or not Mr. Con-ui was subjected to an interrogation
does not affect the conclusion of the foregoing inquiry. As I
have found, Mr. Con-ui was not "in custody, " and
thus, not under "custodial interrogation."
Therefore, Miranda warnings were not warranted.
Accordingly, the statements will not be suppressed.
Mr. Con-ui's Statement to Officer Celuck
Con-ui's second challenge concerns a statement he made to
Officer William Celuck shortly after Mr. Con-ui's
exchange with Officer Boynton. At that time, Officers Celuck
and Mark Turner were ordered to stay by Mr. Con-ui's cell
while the extraction team geared up in case Mr. Con-ui
refused to leave his cell. (T.R. 112, 125). As Officer Celuck
was standing in front of Mr. Con-ui's cell door, he heard
Mr. Con-ui say, "He disrespected me, CO, he disrespected
me, CO." (T.R. 111, 126).
to Mr. Con-ui's statements to Officer Boynton, I find
that Mr. Con-ui was not in custody for the purposes of the
Fifth Amendment when he made the above-cited statements to
Officer Celuck. Thus, the analysis of Mr. Con-ui's
custodial status in the preceding section is fully applicable
under the totality of the circumstances, as established
through the credible testimony at the hearing, I find that
Mr. Con-ui was not subject to interrogation because he
volunteered his statements to Officer Celuck. The statement
was made by Mr. Con-ui without any prompting by Officer
Celuck, or any other officer, and was not made in response to
any questioning. (T.R. 125-26). "Voluntary confessions
are not merely a proper element in law enforcement, they are
an unmitigated good, essential to society's compelling
interest in finding, convicting, and punishing those who
violate the law." Shatzer, 559 U.S. at 108
(internal quotation marks and citations omitted). As such,
Mr. Con-ui's voluntarily statement to Officer Celuck will
not be suppressed.
Mr. Con-ui's Statement While Being Escorted by Lieutenant
Con-ui next seeks to suppress a statement he made to Lt.
Sudul while being escorted to a holding cell in Lt.
after Mr. Con-ui's statements to Officer Celuck, Lt.
Sudul returned to the Unit (T.R. 39) and, after reassuring
Mr. Con-ui that he would not be harmed, (T.R. 39, 52), he
ordered the extraction team to stand down, placed Mr. Con-ui
in restraints, removed him from his cell, and locked him in a
holding cage in his office. (T.R. 40-42). While being
escorted to the holding cage, Mr. Con-ui said, "Hey man,
I am sorry but I had to do what I had to do. I am sick of all
your people's disrespect." (T.R. 55, 115).
Mr. Con-ui's custodial status, I find that he was
subjected to a restraint on freedom of movement "of the
degree associated with a formal arrest" when he was
being moved to the holding cage. Conley, 779 F.3d at
973. Given that Mr. Con-ui was placed in restraints, removed
from the cell, and escorted by a squadron of officers to an
isolated holding cell (T.R. 54, 56), I find that there was a
"change in the surroundings of [Mr. Con-ui] which
result[ed] in an added imposition on his freedom of
movement." Burkholder, 116 Fed.Appx. at 361
(quoting United States v. Conley, 779 F.2d 970, 973
(4th Cir. 1985)). Thus, he was in custody for the purposes of
the Fifth Amendment.
well-settled law, however, that statements made by a person
spontaneously or without prompting after being placed in
custody are not subject to exclusion at trial. Rhode
Island v. Innis, 446 U.S. 291, 300 (1980).
Interrogation, for the purposes of the Fifth Amendment, is
defined as express questioning or "any words or actions
on the part of police (other than those normally attendant to
arrest and custody) that the police should know are
reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response from
the suspect." United States v. Browlee, 454
F.3d 131, 146 (3d Cir. 2006) (quoting Innis, 446
U.S. at 300-01).
both Lt. Sudul (T.R. 41) and Officer Turner (T.R. 115)
credibly testified that the statement at issue was made by
Mr. Con-ui without any prompting or questioning. There is
nothing to suggest that the officers engaged Mr. Con-ui in
any way; in fact, the officers were specifically ordered
"not to speak to [Mr.] Con-ui." (T.R. 73). No
conduct on the part of the escorting officers was intended
to, or was reasonably likely to, elicit an incriminating
response. Notably, after Mr. Con-ui made the statement at
issue, Lt. Sudul responded, "Listen, man,
Miranda doesn't apply to me. I suggest you
remain silent." (T.R. 42; Doc. 998-2, at 3). Thus, I
find that Mr. Con-ui's statement was voluntary,
unsolicited, and not made in response to any questions. As
such, Mr. Con-ui's statement is outside of
Miranda's protections and will not be
Mr. Con-ui's Response to Officer Bennett's
Con-ui next seeks to suppress a nonverbal response to Officer
Bennett's question. According to the government, after
Mr. Con-ui was placed in the holding cell in Lt. Sudul's
office, Officer Bennett, who had just learned that Officer
Williams died, opened the door to Lt. Sudul's office and
asked Mr. Con-ui, "Why?" (T.R. 15-16). In response,
according to Officer Bennett, Mr. Con-ui smiled and laughed.
suppression hearing, Officer Bennett testified:
When I walked past the lieutenant's office, I saw Con-ui
in there. And I asked . . . Lieutenant Sudul, that night, I
said, is that him, and he said, yes. And I opened up the
lieutenant's office door, peeked my head in, and I just
yelled why. . . . I was not expecting an answer. When I asked
why, he just smiled at me and let out a little laugh.
(T.R. 15). Officer Bennett's testimony, however, is not
corroborated by the staff memorandum he completed on February
25, 2013, which omits any mention of the exchange with Mr.
Con-ui in Lt. Sudul's office. (T.R. 16; Gov't Ex. 5).
His explanation as to the omission, that "[it] was not
on [his] mind doing the report at the time, " (T.R. 17,
20, 22) is unconvincing. Officer Bennett also admitted that
he "never discussed" the interaction he had with
Mr. Con-ui until his interview with the Federal Bureau of
Investigation some three years after the murder of Officer
Williams. (T.R. 22-23; Doc. 998-1). In fact, Lt. Sudul
learned of Officer Bennett's interaction with Mr. Con-ui
for the first time at the suppression hearing, when
questioned by defense counsel. (T.R. 58).
Bennett also stated that he was able to enter the
lieutenant's office because its door was unlocked. (T.R.
19). However, Lt. Sudul testified that he personally locked
the door to the office. (T.R. 59-60). As such, Officer
Bennett's account is not supported by the credible
testimony of Lt. Sudul.
although a camera was set up in front of Mr. Con-ui's
holding cage, (T.R. 26, 27, 57, 58, 62; Doc. 998-1, at 3),
the government presented no evidence that Officer
Bennett's interaction with Mr. Con-ui was captured on
video, even though the camera, which recorded audio as well
as video, would have been recording when Officer Bennett
entered the lieutenant's office. (T.R. 62).
find that the preponderance of the evidence does not
establish that Mr. Con-ui's nonverbal statements at issue
were made. As such, the testimony about those statements will
Mr. Con-ui's Statements to Prison Psychologist John
Mr. Con-ui seeks to suppress certain statements he made
during an evaluation conducted by Dr. John Mitchell, the
chief psychologist at the United States Penitentiary at
Allenwood (“USP Allenwood”), on February 27,
2013. (T.R. 135). During the evaluation, Mr. Con-ui stated,
inter alia, that “disrespect” was the
primary reason that led to the incident at USP Canaan. (T.R.
145; Doc. 998-5; Gov't Ex. 6). Mr. Con-ui further stated
that he had “swallowed a lot” with regards to the
disrespect from Officer Williams and felt like he could not
tolerate such disrespect from him any longer. (T.R. 145; Doc.
998-5; Gov't Ex. 6). Mr. Con-ui also stated that he had
“overreacted.” (T.R. 145; Doc. 998-5; Gov't
Ex. 6) (collectively, the “Mitchell statements”).
Because I find that the Mitchell statements were the product
of a custodial interrogation unaccompanied by a prior
Miranda warning, they will be suppressed.
Con-ui was transferred from USP Canaan to USP Allenwood after
the incident involving Officer Williams occurred on the night
of February 25, 2013. (See T.R. 136). He was placed
in an observation cell in “health services” and
subjected to ambulatory restraints. (T.R. 136, 148-49). The
interview with Dr. Mitchell occurred the next day while Mr.
Con-ui was in the same observation cell. (T.R. 138, 152).
Mr. Con-ui was not provided with any advance notice prior to
Dr. Mitchell's arrival for the evaluation. (T.R. 148).
Dr. Mitchell was accompanied by two officers during the
evaluation: Captain Gabrielson and Lieutenant Stover. (T.R.
148). Throughout the interview, Mr. Con-ui continued to be
restricted by ambulatory restraints, which Dr. Mitchell
described as “a belly chain around [Mr. Con-ui's]
waist that was connected to hand restraints as well.”
(T.R. 149:6-7). Dr. Mitchell testified that the purposes of
the interview were to conduct a mental health evaluation in
connection with a referral to USP, Administrative Maximum
Facility in Colorado (“ADX”), and to assess
whether there was any psychological reason to keep Mr. Con-ui
in restraints. (T.R. 137). Mr. Con-ui initially declined to
answer questions about the attack on Officer Williams, but
subsequently made statements concerning the incident in
response to follow-up questions posed by Dr. Mitchell. (T.R.
153-55; Gov't Ex. 6). However, Dr. Mitchell was not the
only prison employee who posed questions to Mr. Con-ui.
Captain Gabrielson also asked Mr. Con-ui questions during the
course of the interview. (T.R. 153, 155). Dr. Mitchell
testified that Captain Gabrielson asked Mr. Con-ui questions
about the attack on Officer Williams, although he could not
recall the specific nature of the inquiries. (T.R. 155).
Prior to conducting this evaluation, Dr. Mitchell was
informed of the assault that Mr. Con-ui allegedly perpetrated
upon Officer Williams. (T.R. 140, 149, 156). Mr. Con-ui was
not provided with a Miranda warning before the
evaluation. (T.R. 150). This encounter lasted twenty-five to
thirty minutes (T.R. 147).
prison psychologist may be required to issue a
Miranda warning before conducting an interview of an
inmate. See Burkholder v. Newton, 116 Fed.Appx. 358,
361 (3d Cir. 2004) (citing Estelle v. Smith, 451
U.S. 454, 465 (1981)) (“A prison psychologist is
required to give Miranda warnings before conducting
an interrogation.”). Of course, in order for such a
warning to be required, the prerequisites for
Miranda still must be satisfied: the inmate must be
in “custody” and subject to an
“interrogation.” See Jackson v. Conway,
763 F.3d 115, 136-37, 139 (2d Cir. 2014) (noting that
non-law- enforcement officials may be required to give
Miranda warnings prior to questioning if the person
being questioned is in “custody” and the official
objectively “should have known” that his
questions were “reasonably likely to evoke an
incriminating response” (quoting Rhode Island v.
Innis, 446 U.S. 291, 302 (1980) (emphasis removed))).
as previously explained with regards to the
“custody” inquiry, I must assess whether there
was a “change in the surroundings of [Mr. Con-ui] which
result[ed] in an added imposition on his freedom of
movement.” Burkholder, 116 Fed.Appx. at 361
(quoting United States v. Conley, 779 F.2d 970, 973
(4th Cir. 1985)). As explained by the Third Circuit,
“[s]uch a change in surroundings could include the
imposition of handcuffs or being taken to a locked room to be
questioned by correctional officers.” Id.
(citing Conley, 779 F.2d at 970). Courts employ a
totality of the circumstances approach and consider
“whether the circumstances suggest any measure of
compulsion above and beyond confinement.” Bruce v.
United States, 439 F.Supp.2d 364, 371 (M.D. Pa. 2006)
(citation omitted). At bottom, “[a]n inmate who is
removed from the general prison population for questioning
and is ‘thereafter . . . subjected to treatment' in
connection with the interrogation ‘that renders him
“in custody” for practical purposes . . . will be
entitled to the full panoply of protections prescribed by
Miranda.'” Howes v. Fields, 565
U.S. 499, 514 (2012) (quoting Berkemer v. McCarty,
468 U.S. 420, 440 (1984)).
examining the totality of the circumstances, I find that Mr.
Con-ui was in “custody” for the purposes of
Miranda during the evaluation conducted by Dr.
Mitchell. While “imprisonment alone is not enough to
create a custodial situation within the meaning of
Miranda, ” Howes, 565 U.S. at 511,
the circumstances surrounding Dr. Mitchell's interview of
Mr. Con-ui rendered him in “custody” for
practical purposes in the prison context.
Mr. Con-ui was interviewed in an observation cell at USP
Allenwood where he had been placed less than forty-eight
hours earlier after being transferred from USP Canaan. Thus,
Mr. Con-ui was not merely subjected to the “ordinary
restrictions of prison life, ” but instead was
questioned in a new and unfamiliar environment after having
been “yanked” from his familiar setting at USP
Canaan. See Howes, 565 U.S. at 511.
Mr. Con-ui's movements were restricted by ambulatory
restraints, which Dr. Mitchell described as “a belly
chain around [Mr. Con-ui's] waist that was connected to
hand restraints as well.” (T.R. 149:6-7). Accordingly,
Mr. Con-ui was undoubtedly physically restrained in a manner
greater than ...