United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
MEMORANDUM AND RECOMMENDATION
CARLETON METCALF, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Suppress (Doc. 16), which has been referred to the
undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). The
issues have been fully briefed, and the matter is ripe for
ruling. Having carefully reviewed the evidence, the
arguments, and applicable authority, the undersigned
respectfully recommends that the Motion be denied.
Relevant Procedural Background
four-count Bill of Indictment was filed on January 16, 2019
charging Defendant with violations of 18 U.S.C. §§
2241(c), 2244(a)(5) and 1153 (Doc. 1).
January 28, 2019, Defendant made an initial appearance during
which counsel was appointed for him.
and detention hearings were conducted on January 30, 2019.
Defendant entered a plea of not guilty and waived his right
to a detention hearing.
3, 2019, Defendant filed the instant Motion to Suppress (Doc.
16) and a supporting brief (Doc. 17). The Government filed a
response (Doc. 19) on May 31, 2019 and Defendant replied
(Doc. 23) on July 8, 2019.
August 6, 2019, the undersigned conducted an evidentiary
hearing on the Motion. Special Assistant United States
Attorney Justin Eason appeared for the Government. Assistant
Federal Defenders Fredilyn Sison and Jared Martin appeared
with Defendant. The Government called Jason Cable, Daniel
Iadonisi, and Mary Lambert, all of whom are detectives with
the Cherokee Indian Police Department (“CIPD”).
The Government also submitted, without objection, a video
recording of the subject interrogation,  a transcript of
the interrogation, and a CIPD Rights Form. Defendant called
Dr. Richard Leo, a professor of law and social psychology at
the School of Law at the University of San Francisco.
Factual Background and Findings
Law Enforcement's Initial Contact with Defendant
August 29, 2018, Detective Lambert, who was then the Acting
Interim Lieutenant of the Investigations Division of the
CIPD, learned of allegations of criminal conduct concerning
Defendant from other CIPD personnel. Detective Lambert
dispatched Detective Cable and Detective Iadonisi to locate
and question Defendant.
Defendant was expected to be on a portion of the Cherokee
Indian Reservation with which Detectives Cable and Iadonisi
were unfamiliar, other CIPD officers helped with the search.
One of those officers took Detectives Cable and Iadonisi to
Defendant's home in the Snowbird community near
Robbinsville, North Carolina.
was not at home when they arrived but was found at a nearby
residence. Detectives Cable and Iadonisi advised Defendant
that allegations involving him had been made and asked if he
would accompany them to the police station for questioning.
Defendant agreed. He was not placed under arrest or in
handcuffs at the time.
evidence indicates that an arrest warrant and a criminal
complaint were issued for Defendant that day, though the
extent of the detectives' knowledge of those documents at
the time they contacted Defendant is unclear. It is
undisputed, however, that Defendant was not advised of the
existence of the warrant and complaint until after his
Cable and Iadonisi then transported Defendant in a law
enforcement vehicle to the CIPD in Cherokee, North Carolina,
approximately one hour away. Detective Cable drove, Defendant
rode in the front seat, and Detective Iadonisi sat in the
backseat. Some amount of “small talk” may have
occurred during the trip, but the detectives did not ask
Defendant any questions regarding the allegations against
reaching the police station, which was located in the same
building as the tribal courthouse, Defendant was placed in a
relatively small interrogation room that contained a table
and three chairs. Defendant was seated at the end of the
table closest to the door, which remained unlocked throughout
the interrogation. The room was equipped with audio and
visual recording capabilities and a recording was initiated
upon Defendant's entrance into the room. Defendant was
allowed to keep his cell phone and was not prohibited from
accessing the public Wi-Fi network that was available in the
approximately fifteen minutes,  Detectives Cable and Iadonisi
entered the room and Detective Cable advised Defendant they
wanted to speak with him regarding an issue pertaining to his
girlfriend and her daughter. Detective Iadonisi provided
Miranda warnings to Defendant using the Rights Form,
which Defendant initialed and executed. Defendant did not
appear to have difficulty understanding the form or the
waiver of his rights.
portions of the next three hours, Defendant was questioned by
Detectives Cable, Iadonisi, and Lambert. The questioning was
not continuous, however; Defendant was left alone in the room
at times and on one occasion is seen on the video using his
phone. No more than two detectives were in the
room with Defendant at any given time, and on some occasions
only one detective was with him.
was offered water and rest room breaks. The detectives were
armed with sidearms, but they did not unholster their weapons
or refer to them in any manner. Voices were not raised, and
the questioning remained calm throughout its duration.
than leaving once to use the restroom, Defendant remained in
the room and seated during the interrogation. Defendant was
coherent and alert and answered the detectives' questions
clearly. Defendant did not ask that ...