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United States v. Nikparvar-Fard

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

December 6, 2017

UNITED STATES
v.
MEHDI NIKPARVAR-FARD, also known as MEHDI ARMANI

          MEMORANDUM

          DuBois, J.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Defendant was charged in an Indictment with one count of threatening a law enforcement officer with the intent to impede, intimidate, and interfere with the officer while he was engaged in the performance of his official duties, and with the intent to retaliate against the officer on account of the performance of his official duties, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 115(a)(1)(B), and one count of making a false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement and representation in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001.

         Presently before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Suppress Statements. Defendant moves to suppress his alleged false statement and threats on the ground that the Deputy United States Marshals who arrested him did not inform him of his Miranda rights. The Court conducted a Suppression Hearing on November 30, 2017. For the reasons that follow, the Court denies defendant's Motion.

         II. BACKGROUND

         United States District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe issued a civil arrest warrant for defendant on August 28, 2017. Comp. ¶ 5. Carrying out the warrant, three Deputy United States Marshals went to arrest defendant on August 29, 2017, at the Advanced Urgent Care ("AUC") facility at 5058 City Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Comp. ¶ 5.

         Two of the Marshals - Thomas Gabriel and John Grandison - entered the AUC facility and recognized defendant. Comp. ¶ 7. The two Marshals went with defendant to defendant's private office. Suppression Hr'g Tr. 38:22-39:8, Nov. 30, 2017. After the Marshals showed defendant the warrant, which named Mehdi Nikparvar-Fard, defendant pointed to the warrant and said, "That's not me." Hr'g Tr. 40:2-12. Defendant thereafter produced a driver's license bearing the name "Mehdi Armani." Hr'g Tr. 41:19-24; Comp. ¶ 8. The Government charges that when defendant said, "That's not me, " he made a false statement in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001.

         Because the Marshals did not believe defendant's statement that he was not Mehdi Nikparvar-Fard, they handcuffed him and put him in their vehicle. Hr'g Tr. 42:15; Comp. ¶¶ 8- 10. In the vehicle, defendant used profanities directed at the Marshals and made statements that the Government charges were threats in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 115(a)(1)(B). Comp. ¶ 11. Specifically, in the conversation with the Marshals, and without solicitation from the Marshals, defendant said, "[Y]our face will be with me all the time, ok, we will see each other, don't worry about that, we will see each other." Nikparvar-Fard Arrest Transcript 2 at 2[1]; Comp. ¶ 11. In response, Deputy United States Marshal Johannes Jarkowsky, who recorded the incident on his cell phone, asked defendant, "Is that a threat?" Nikparvar-Fard Arrest Transcript 2 at 2; Comp. ¶ 11. After some back and forth between Deputy Marshal Jarkowsky and defendant, defendant said, "[F]or somebody at my scale to come and threaten you. Is that what you think, if I want to do that, I pay a ni-er like this guy five grand to put a fucking bullet in your head if I wanta to do that." Nikparvar-Fard Arrest Transcript 2 at 3; Comp. ¶ 11. According to Deputy Marshals Jarkowsky and Grandison, defendant gestured at Deputy Marshal Grandison, who is African American, when he said, "I pay a ni-er like this guy." Comp. ¶ 12; Hr'g Tr. 47:3-4.

         Defendant filed a Motion to Suppress Statements, arguing that the Court should suppress defendant's alleged false statement and alleged threats. Legal arguments in support of this Motion were set forth in a separate filing, Defendant's Omnibus Response to Pending Legal Issues. The Government filed Government's Response to Defendant's Motion to Suppress Statements. This Motion was presented to the Court at a Suppression Hearing on November 30, 2017. The Motion is thus ripe for review.

         III. APPLICABLE LAW

         A defendant in a custodial interrogation is entitled to the protections of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution as the Supreme Court expounded in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 475 (1966). The government can introduce incriminating statements made by a defendant during a custodial interrogation only if the defendant is warned of his constitutional rights to remain silent and to an attorney and the defendant knowingly and intelligently waives his rights. Id. A defendant is in custody when, given the circumstances, "a reasonable person [would] have felt he or she was not at liberty to terminate the interrogation and leave." Thompson v. Keohane, 516 U.S. 99, 112 (1995). Furthermore, the person in custody must be subject to an interrogation, which occurs when the police use "words or actions that the police should have known were reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response from him." Rhode Island v. Innis, 446 U.S. 291, 303 (1980).

         IV. DISCUSSION

         A. The Fifth Amendment Does Not Protect Statements Which Are Crimes in and of Themselves.

         The Government argues that the exclusionary rule, which precludes the admission of evidence collected in violation of a defendant's constitutional rights, does not apply when the statements themselves constitute charged criminal conduct. ...


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