851 F.3d 166 (2nd Cir. 2017), 15-2516-cr, United States v. Schaffer

Docket Nº:15-2516-cr
Citation:851 F.3d 166
Opinion Judge:José A. Cabranes, Circuit Judge:
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee, v. GREGORY JOHN SCHAFFER, AKA JOHN ARCHAMBEAULT, Defendant-Appellant
Attorney:ALLEGRA GLASHAUSSER, Federal Defenders of New York, Inc., Appeals Bureau, New York, NY, for Defendant-Appellant. PETER W. BALDWIN, Assistant United States Attorney (Amy Busa, Assistant United States Attorney, on the brief) for Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of N...
Judge Panel:Before: WALKER, CABRANES, Circuit Judges, and BERMAN, Judge.[*]
Case Date:March 15, 2017
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
 
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851 F.3d 166 (2nd Cir. 2017)

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee,

v.

GREGORY JOHN SCHAFFER, AKA JOHN ARCHAMBEAULT, Defendant-Appellant

No. 15-2516-cr

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

March 15, 2017

Argued September 27, 2016

Page 167

ALLEGRA GLASHAUSSER, Federal Defenders of New York, Inc., Appeals Bureau, New York, NY, for Defendant-Appellant.

PETER W. BALDWIN, Assistant United States Attorney (Amy Busa, Assistant United States Attorney, on the brief) for Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Brooklyn, NY, for Appellee.

Before: WALKER, CABRANES, Circuit Judges, and BERMAN, Judge.[*]

OPINION

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Gregory John Schaffer appeals from a judgment of conviction entered on July 24, 2015, following a trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Allyne R. Ross, Judge ). A jury convicted Schaffer of, among other crimes, coercing and enticing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b).

Prior to trial, Schaffer moved to suppress incriminating statements he made to law enforcement on the ground that they were made during a custodial interrogation without

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the benefit of a Miranda warning. The District Court denied Schaffer's motion, holding that Schaffer was not in " custody" for purposes of Miranda. Schaffer also opposed the government's introduction at trial of portions of four videos that showed him committing prior sexual assaults on two minor girls. He asserted that the admission of these videos would violate his right to due process. The District Court permitted the government to introduce the videos after concluding that they were admissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 413 and were not unfairly prejudicial under Federal Rule of Evidence 403. On appeal, Schaffer challenges both of the District Court's rulings, arguing, most notably, that Rule 413 violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

We hold that the District Court did not err in denying Schaffer's motion to suppress, because Schaffer was not in custody at the time he made his incriminating statements. We further hold that Rule 413 does not violate the Due Process Clause, and that the District Court did not err by permitting the government to introduce at trial portions of the four videos.

Accordingly, we AFFIRM the District Court's judgment of conviction.

José A. Cabranes, Circuit Judge:

Defendant-Appellant Gregory John Schaffer appeals from a judgment of conviction entered on July 24, 2015, following a trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Allyne R. Ross, Judge ). A jury convicted Schaffer of, among other crimes, coercing and enticing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b).

Prior to trial, Schaffer moved to suppress incriminating statements he made to Homeland Security Investigations (" HSI" ) agents on the ground that they were made during a custodial interrogation without the benefit of a Miranda warning. The District Court denied Schaffer's motion, holding that the interview with Schaffer was not a custodial interrogation.1

Schaffer also opposed the government's introduction at trial of portions of four videos that showed him committing prior sexual assaults on two minor girls. The government asserted that the videos were admissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 4132 and were not unfairly prejudicial under Federal Rule of Evidence 403.3 In opposition, Schaffer argued that Rule 413 violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment and that the videos were unfairly prejudicial. The District Court did not explicitly rule on Schaffer's constitutional challenge, but permitted the government to introduce limited portions of the videos pursuant to Rule 413 after concluding that they were not precluded by Rule 403.

On appeal, Schaffer seeks to overturn his conviction on grounds that the District Court should have: (1) suppressed his incriminating statements to HSI agents because he was in custody during the interview within the meaning of Miranda v. Arizona 4 and its progeny; (2) excluded the four videos showing prior sexual assaults because Rule 413 violates the Due Process Clause; and (3) excluded the four videos because they were unfairly prejudicial.

We hold that the District Court did not err in denying Schaffer's motion to suppress, because Schaffer was not in custody at the time he made his incriminating statements. We further hold that Rule 413 does not violate the Due Process Clause and that the District Court did not err by permitting the government to introduce portions of the four videos at trial.

Accordingly, we AFFIRM the District Court's judgment of conviction.

BACKGROUND

I. Factual Overview

We set forth the facts necessary to decide the claims addressed in this opinion, and we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the government.5

In March 2012, fifteen-year-old Strasia Sierra[6] posted an advertisement on the website Craigslist seeking a weekend or after-school job. Schaffer, then thirty-three years old, responded to Sierra's online ad with an email seeking part-time help at a retail store he owned in Jersey City, New Jersey. After exchanging several emails, including one in which Sierra informed Schaffer that she was fifteen years old, Sierra agreed to travel from Brooklyn, New York to Schaffer's office in New Jersey for an in-person job interview.

At the conclusion of her initial interview, during which Schaffer asked Sierra numerous

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sexually suggestive questions, Schaffer offered Sierra a job and directed her to return alone to his office the following day. Because Sierra needed money to help her family pays its bills, she accepted the position and returned to Schaffer's office as directed. During her second visit, Schaffer sexually assaulted Sierra.

First, Schaffer instructed Sierra to try on several different swimsuits and " adjusted" each new swimsuit she put on. These " adjustments" entailed Schaffer touching the area around her breasts, buttocks, and groin. Then, Schaffer put on his own swimsuit, posed with Sierra for photographs, and placed her hands over his groin. Finally, Schaffer forced Sierra to have sex with him on his desk.

Several days after the sexual assault occurred, a counselor from Sierra's school notified the New York City Police Department about the incident. As part of the ensuing investigation, law enforcement used Sierra's email account to arrange for another meeting between her and Schaffer. On the day that that meeting was scheduled to occur, nine HSI agents arrived at Schaffer's office building to conduct a search of the premises.

When law enforcement first entered the building to serve Schaffer with a warrant, some of the agents held Schaffer inside the doorway while other agents conducted a security sweep of the area. At no point did any of the agents handcuff Schaffer or draw their firearms. When the approximately one-minute-long sweep was over, Schaffer agreed to speak with Special Agents Robert Mancene and Megan Buckley in an area of the building adjacent to his office.

At the outset of the interview, the two agents notified Schaffer that he was not under arrest. They also did not handcuff or otherwise restrain him at any time during the interview. Instead, they permitted Schaffer to drink coffee and smoke cigarettes freely. At one point, Schaffer asked the agents whether he should have an attorney present. Agent Mancene informed Schaffer that he had a right to have an attorney present, but told him that he would have to decide for himself whether or not to exercise that right. At no point thereafter did Schaffer request an attorney.

Schaffer did, however, ask Agent Mancene twice during the interview if he could leave to collect money from an attorney located down the street. Schaffer claimed that he needed the money to purchase medication, but never asserted that there was a medical emergency necessitating his purchase of the medication. He also never claimed that the attorney was his attorney. Agent Mancene denied both of Schaffer's requests on the ground that it would create a " security issue" and threaten the integrity of the search because the agents had placed boxes of evidence " all over the floor by the threshold of the doorway." 7 Ultimately, over the course of an approximately one-hour interview, Schaffer made several incriminating statements to Agents Mancene and Buckley, including admitting that he owned the email account used to communicate with Sierra.

At the conclusion of the interview, and after the agents reviewed the evidence collected during the search, Agent Mancene called the United States...

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