U.S. v. Alexander, No. 95-10401

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtFERGUSON; Walker; Conti; Judge Conti denied the government's second motion to reconsider the suppression order after hearing Wilburn's and Hughes's testimony for the purpose of establishing that Alexander had a drug habit. At that time; Walker's; Wal
Citation106 F.3d 874
Parties97 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 784, 97 Daily Journal D.A.R. 1151 UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Leaburn ALEXANDER, Jr., Defendant-Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 95-10401
Decision Date03 February 1997

Page 874

106 F.3d 874
97 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 784, 97 Daily Journal
D.A.R. 1151
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Leaburn ALEXANDER, Jr., Defendant-Appellant.
No. 95-10401.
United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.
Argued and Submitted Oct. 7, 1996.
Decided Feb. 3, 1997.

Page 875

Mark L. Tuft, Cooper, White & Cooper, San Francisco, California, for defendant-appellant.

Adam Bialosky, Assistant United States Attorney, San Francisco, California, for plaintiff-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Samuel Conti, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. CR-94-00331-SC.

Before: FLETCHER and FERGUSON, Circuit Judges, and KING, * District Judge.

FERGUSON, Circuit Judge:

Alexander appeals from his conviction on five counts of unarmed bank robbery under 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a). He contends that the district court abused its discretion by departing from the law of the case and admitting a previously suppressed confession. We agree and reverse.

I. FACTS

On May 19, 1994, Alexander made a call to emergency 911 to report that someone was trying to enter his girlfriend's apartment by drilling through the bathroom wall. San Francisco Police Department ("SFPD") Officers Robert Red and Charles Anzore came to the address Alexander had specified in the 911 call. Officer Red searched for signs of attempted entry and found none. The officers then arrested Alexander on a felony warrant for failure to appear on a previous cocaine possession charge. The officers took Alexander into custody around 9:30 p.m. and transported Alexander to the SFPD's Richmond station.

Recognizing Alexander as a bank robbery suspect, the officers notified the FBI. One SFPD officer and two FBI agents interrogated Alexander at the Richmond station at about 12:30 a.m. They later testified that Alexander orally waived his Miranda rights before giving them a detailed confession of several bank robberies, that Alexander appeared rational and coherent, and that he appeared to understand the rights being read to him before he agreed to speak to the officers. The interview lasted about one and a half hours. The agents did not ask Alexander to sign a confession or a written waiver of his Miranda rights, and they did not record the interrogation.

Alexander was indicted in the Northern District of California on seven counts of bank robbery and one count of attempted bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a).

Judge Walker, after a hearing, granted defendant's motion to suppress his confession. Evidence presented in support of defendant's motion included a recording of the 911 call Alexander made on the night of his arrest and declarations given by witnesses to Alexander's drug and alcohol intake and intoxicated behavior prior to his arrest. In his order, Judge Walker stated that he had reservations about the accuracy of the declarations submitted in support of the motion to suppress, but granted the motion on the basis of the tape or transcript of the 911 call Alexander made about three hours before he confessed.

On October 27, 1994, the government filed a Notice of Appeal from Judge Walker's suppression order. However, on January 24, 1995, the government withdrew its appeal. This court granted the government's motion for voluntary dismissal of the appeal on February 3, 1995.

When it was returned to the district court, the case was reassigned to Judge Samuel Conti. The government dropped three counts from the indictment, leaving five for trial, and filed a motion to reconsider the suppression order, requesting an evidentiary

Page 876

hearing. Judge Conti denied the motion because he did not wish to disturb the "law of the case."

Alexander filed a motion to exclude evidence relating to his arrest for possession of crack cocaine. The government was allowed to introduce evidence of the drug arrest to show motive for the bank robberies; it produced witnesses Brenda Wilburn and Norman Hughes to testify that Alexander had a drug habit. Hughes's and Wilburn's testimony contradicted aspects of their declarations made in support of Alexander's motion to suppress his confession. In particular, they were confused as to when they had observed Alexander heavily smoking crack and acting "wild."

In light of the impeachment of the declarations, the government filed a second motion to reconsider the suppression order on March 8, 1995. Judge Conti denied the motion, finding the inconsistencies not significant enough to warrant reconsideration of Judge Walker's ruling.

On March 15, 1995, after the jury was unable to reach a verdict on any count, the court declared a mistrial.

On March 21, 1995, the government filed a third motion to reconsider the suppression order, requesting an evidentiary hearing. Judge Conti granted this motion, stating that changed circumstances resulting from events that transpired during...

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400 practice notes
  • Matthews v. Ncaa, No. CS-99-0264.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of Washington
    • October 23, 2001
    ...doctrine, which generally precludes a court from reconsidering issues previously decided in the same case. United States v. Alexander, 106 F.3d 874, 876 (9th Cir.1997). The law of the case doctrine does not bind a court as absolutely as res judicata. Moore v. Jas. H. Matthews & Co., 682 F.2......
  • Duval Ranching Co. v. Glickman, No. CV-N-95-38-ECR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Nevada
    • March 14, 1997
    ...from reconsidering an issue that has already been decided by the same court, or a higher court in the identical case. U.S. v. Alexander, 106 F.3d 874, 876 (9th Cir.1997) (citing Thomas v. Bible, 983 F.2d 152, 154 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 508 U.S. 951, 113 S.Ct. 2443, 124 L.Ed.2d 661 (1993)......
  • U.S. v. Real Property Located at Incline Village, No. CV-N-90-0130-ECR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Nevada
    • April 28, 1997
    ...question whether a motion for reconsideration may be granted is governed by the "law of the case" doctrine. United States v. Alexander, 106 F.3d 874 (9th In Alexander, Judge Vaughn Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ordered the defendant's confession s......
  • White v. Sabatino, Civ. No. 04-00500 ACK/LEK.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Hawaii
    • July 20, 2007
    ...from reconsidering an issue that has already been decided by the same court, or a higher court in the identical case." U.S. v. Alexander, 106 F.3d 874, 876 (9th Cir. 1997) (internal quotations and citations omitted). Wright, Miller, and Cooper state the general principle that "a party joine......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
400 cases
  • Matthews v. Ncaa, No. CS-99-0264.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of Washington
    • October 23, 2001
    ...doctrine, which generally precludes a court from reconsidering issues previously decided in the same case. United States v. Alexander, 106 F.3d 874, 876 (9th Cir.1997). The law of the case doctrine does not bind a court as absolutely as res judicata. Moore v. Jas. H. Matthews & Co., 682 F.2......
  • Duval Ranching Co. v. Glickman, No. CV-N-95-38-ECR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Nevada
    • March 14, 1997
    ...from reconsidering an issue that has already been decided by the same court, or a higher court in the identical case. U.S. v. Alexander, 106 F.3d 874, 876 (9th Cir.1997) (citing Thomas v. Bible, 983 F.2d 152, 154 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 508 U.S. 951, 113 S.Ct. 2443, 124 L.Ed.2d 661 (1993)......
  • U.S. v. Real Property Located at Incline Village, No. CV-N-90-0130-ECR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Nevada
    • April 28, 1997
    ...question whether a motion for reconsideration may be granted is governed by the "law of the case" doctrine. United States v. Alexander, 106 F.3d 874 (9th In Alexander, Judge Vaughn Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ordered the defendant's confession s......
  • White v. Sabatino, Civ. No. 04-00500 ACK/LEK.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Hawaii
    • July 20, 2007
    ...from reconsidering an issue that has already been decided by the same court, or a higher court in the identical case." U.S. v. Alexander, 106 F.3d 874, 876 (9th Cir. 1997) (internal quotations and citations omitted). Wright, Miller, and Cooper state the general principle that "a party joine......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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