United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MALACHY E. MANNION, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the court is the defendant Vincent John Ingino's
(“Ingino”) motion to suppress incriminating
statements he made to the Pennsylvania State Police
(“PSP”) because, as he alleges, he was subjected
to a custodial interrogation without being advised of his
Miranda rights. (Doc. 22; Doc. 23, at 7). Based on
the following, Ingino's motion (Doc. 22) shall be
November 13, 2018, Ingino was indicted on two counts of
distribution and possession with intent to distribute a
controlled substance. (Doc. 1). The charges stem from drug
transactions that resulted in the death of two individuals.
(Doc. 1). Ingino pleaded not guilty to the charges against
him on November 26, 2018. (Doc. 11).
March 25, 2019, Ingino filed the present motion to suppress
statements he made to Pennsylvania State Police
(“PSP”) on September 17, 2018. (Doc. 22). On
April 18, 2019, the government filed its brief in opposition
to Ingino's suppression motion. (Doc. 26). Ingino filed a
reply brief on April 29, 2019. (Doc. 27). On July 15, 2019,
this court held a hearing on the suppression motion. (Doc.
32). The motion is now ripe for disposition.
FINDINGS OF FACT
suppression hearing, the court heard testimony from four
witnesses: Sarah Donald (“Donald”), a probation
officer at the Monroe County Probation and Parole Department,
who was assigned to Ingino; PSP Troopers Jonathan Bailey
(“Trooper Bailey”) and Justin Leri
(“Trooper Leri”), who were investigating Ingino
for drug transactions; and Lindsey Hartman
(“Hartman”), Ingino's girlfriend. The
following facts are taken from their testimony, the evidence
introduced at the hearing, Ingino's motion, and the
parties' briefs and exhibits.
August 11 and 12, 2018, two individuals in Monroe County,
Pennsylvania were found deceased and toxicology testing
indicated that both died with a mixture of heroin, fentanyl,
and, in one case, acetyl fentanyl present in their bodies. On
August 13, 2018, Ingino failed to report to Monroe County
Probation for his appointment with Donald on an unrelated
matter. On August 24, 2018, Ingino reported for his
rescheduled appointment with Donald, but she told him to
return in one week after he had completed his drug and
alcohol assessment. Ingino reported one week later, tested
positive for opiates, and admitted that he had used drugs.
Donald told Ingino to seek treatment and report back to her
once he successfully completed it.
September 6, 2018, Trooper Leri contacted Donald requesting
Ingino's address, which she gave to him. On September 12,
2018, Donald texted Ingino and asked him to contact her by
12:00 p.m. that day. Having failed to hear from Ingino,
Donald contacted her office's field team unit requesting
a visit of Ingino's home. On September 14, 2018, Trooper
Bailey accompanied the field team officers' visit to
Ingino's home. This was the first time that Donald
learned that Ingino was under investigation for the deaths of
the two Monroe County individuals, who died on August 11 and
12, 2018. After the officers and Trooper Bailey searched
Ingino's home, they left a letter with Ingino's
girlfriend, Hartman, indicating that Ingino was to report to
the probation office on September 17, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. for
an appointment with Donald. Donald relayed the appointment
time and location to PSP in the event that PSP wanted to
speak with Ingino, Ingino reported for the meeting and tested
positive for controlled substances. Donald advised Ingino
that she would be filing a violation by the end of the week
and that he would receive a letter in the mail with his court
date for the violation. Donald explained to Ingino that if he
did not show up for his court hearing, a bench warrant would
be issued for his arrest. In her testimony, Donald
acknowledged that she did not have the power to arrest
Ingino. Donald also testified that Ingino did not appear to
be under the influence of drugs or alcohol during their
her office, Donald saw Troopers Bailey and Leri arrive, and
informed Ingino that they were there to speak with him.
Ingino did not ask any questions and replied,
“okay.” Donald testified that Ingino did not
offer any resistance toward speaking with the troopers.
Donald did not provide Ingino with any instruction as to
whether he had to speak with the troopers. Then, Donald and a
co-worker with whom she shared her office left, and Troopers
Bailey and Leri went into Donald's office to speak with
Ingino. Donald did not tell Troopers Bailey and Leri that
Ingino had just tested positive for controlled substances.
officers are not required to administer Miranda
warnings to everyone whom they question.” Oregon v.
Mathiason, 429 U.S. 492, 495, (1977). However, when law
enforcement officers subject someone to a “custodial
interrogation, ” they are required to read the
individual his Miranda rights prior to questioning,
advising him of the Fifth Amendment privilege against
self-incrimination. Miranda, 384 U.S. at 467-68.
When questioning by law enforcement does not rise to the
level of a “custodial interrogation, ” officers
“are not required to administer Miranda
warnings.” Mathiason, 429 U.S. at 495.
suspect is “in custody” when “there is a
‘formal arrest or restraint on freedom of movement'
of the degree associated with a formal arrest.”
United States v. Leese, 176 F.3d 740, 743 (3d Cir.
1999) (quoting California v. Beheler, 463 U.S. 1121,
1125 (1983)). When, as in the present case, a suspect is not
under arrest, the question becomes whether a reasonable
person in the suspect's ...