U.S. v. Ellison, 85-1158

Decision Date27 May 1986
Docket NumberNo. 85-1158,85-1158
Citation791 F.2d 821
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Ricky Lee ELLISON, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit

M.E. McCollam of Tulsa, Okl., for defendant-appellant.

Keith Ward, Asst. U.S. Atty. (Layne R. Phillips, U.S. Atty., with him on the brief), Tulsa, Okl., for plaintiff-appellee.

Before HOLLOWAY, Chief Judge, SEYMOUR, Circuit Judge, and SAFFELS, District Judge *.

SAFFELS, District Judge.

Defendant Ricky Lee Ellison was convicted on Count I of a six-count indictment charging conspiracy to manufacture, possess and distribute a Schedule II controlled substance, methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. Sec. 846. He was sentenced to four (4) years imprisonment on the condition that he be confined for a period of six (6) months. The remainder of the sentence was suspended and defendant Ellison was placed on probation for a period of forty-two (42) months to commence upon his release from confinement.

On appeal, defendant claims that the trial court erred by failing to supress evidence of his testimony given during an interview in the United States Attorney's office on September 29, 1983. At trial, Martin Weber, Special Agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation [hereinafter FBI] testified regarding statements defendant Ellison made during this interview. The essence of Agent Weber's testimony established that defendant Ellison picked up chemicals for co-defendant Larry Thompson to be used for Bob Thompson's coal company, although defendant Ellison himself did not believe the truth of this assertion. Agent Weber further testified that defendant Ellison stated that: "he did not feel that at that point he could be fully truthful because of loyalty to his friends and because of a fear of his own personal safety and the safety of his family." R.Vol. XII at 1300.

Defendant Ellison moved to supress the statements on the grounds that he was not advised of his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966) and further that at the time of the interview, he was under the influence of a drug, Stadol, taken for pain. We have carefully reviewed the record and find that the judgment of the district court should be affirmed. When reviewing the denial of a motion to suppress, the trial court's findings of fact must be accepted unless they are clearly erroneous. United States v. Leach, 749 F.2d 592 (10th Cir.1984). Evidence deduced at the suppression hearing and the trial must be viewed in the light most favorable to the Government. Id.

The relevant facts surrounding the September 29, 1983, interview are as follows. Sargeant John Hickey of the Tulsa Police Department picked defendant Ellison up at his doctor's office pursuant to arrangements made on September 28, 1983, to escort him to the United States Attorney's office for an interview. The interview was attended by defendant Ellison, Sargeant Hickey, Assistant United States Attorney Gerald Hilsher, Special Agent Martin Weber of the FBI, and Special Agent Gary Magrini of the Internal Revenue Service. Defendant Ellison was not placed under arrest, was told that he had the right to have an attorney present, and was told that he did not have to answer any questions. The interview lasted approximately 15 minutes. Defendant Ellison at trial initially testified he had been advised that anything he said would not be used against him, but later stated that at some point near the end of the interview he was informed that a record of the conversation would be made. Agent Weber, Agent Magrini, and Mr. Hilsher testified at trial that they had no recollection of anyone telling defendant Ellison his statements would not be used against him. Sargeant Hickey testified at trial that he did not inform defendant Ellison that his statements would not be used against him.

The trial court denied defendant Ellison's motion to suppress on the basis that there was no custodial interrogation and that defendant Ellison was advised that he was the target of a drug conspiracy investigation. The trial court further found that during the interview defendant Ellison at times commented "this is off the record" and was accordingly advised that his statements were on the record. The trial court concluded that defendant Ellison was not specifically advised that any statements made would not be used against him. R.Vol. XIII at 1532-33.

The requirements of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966) apply for custodial interrogation which occurs "[w]hen an individual is taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom by the authorities in any significant way and is subjected to questioning ...." 384 U.S. at 478, 86 S.Ct. at 1630. Miranda warnings do not apply during prior investigative processes. ...

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    • United States
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    • November 24, 1993
    ...Cir.) cert. denied 488 U.S. 983, 109 S.Ct. 534, 102 L.Ed.2d 565 (1988) (at an Indian Pueblo Governor's office); United States v. Ellison, 791 F.2d 821 (10th Cir. 1986) (an interview in a United States Attorney's Office); United States v. Leach, 749 F.2d 592 (10th Cir.1984) (at an FBI office......
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