U.S. v. Hall, CR-03-910 CPS.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
Citation419 F.Supp.2d 279
Docket NumberNo. CR-03-910 CPS.,CR-03-910 CPS.
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, v. Julian HALL, Defendant.
Decision Date17 August 2005
419 F.Supp.2d 279
Julian HALL, Defendant.
No. CR-03-910 CPS.
United States District Court, E.D. New York.
August 17, 2005.

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John David Buretta, Lee Joshua Freedman, Samantha Lauren Fine Schreiber, United States Attorney's Office, Brooklyn, NY, for United States of America.

Kevin McNally, McNally & O'Donnell, P.S.C., Frankfort, KY, Martin J. Siegel, New York City, for Julian Hall.


SIFTON, Senior District Judge.

Julian Hall was first indicted in August 2003, and charged with conspiring to distribute cocaine base and marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. The latest superseding indictment charges Hall with the following offenses: (1) conspiring to distribute cocaine base and marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 and 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1); (2) two counts of distributing and possessing with intent to distribute marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1); (3) three counts of using a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c); (4) causing the death of Darnell Myers through use of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(j)(1); (5) the drug-related murder of Darnell Myers in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); (6) two counts of firearms trafficking in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(3); (7) one count of cocaine base distribution in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1); and (8) one count of cocaine base distribution near a playground in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 & 860.

Presently before the Court are Hall's motions to suppress marijuana seized from a car in which he was traveling when he was arrested on the grounds that it was obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and to suppress post-arrest statements, on the grounds that they were obtained in violation of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. A hearing was held in connection with these motions during which F.B.I. Agent Jed Salter testified. For the reasons and upon the factual findings and legal conclusions that follow, both motions are denied.


The following facts are drawn from the testimony at the suppression hearing, a declaration by Julian Hall, and the exhibits submitted in connection with these motions. Disputes are noted.

On August 8, 2003, Hall was charged in an indictment with conspiring to distribute cocaine base and marijuana. A warrant was issued for Hall's arrest in connection with these charges. At the time of his arrest, Hall was residing in North Carolina. At the suppression hearing, F.B.I. Agent Jed Salter testified that at the time of the arrest, he was working in conjunction with North Carolina police to apprehend Hall. He provided them with an arrest warrant, photographs, and Hall's pedigree information.

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Salter testified that Hall was apprehended as a result of a tip by a friend of Hall, named Melissa. On February 22, 2004, Melissa phoned Salter and stated that she would be driving in her car with Hall and that the car contained marijuana. She provided Salter with their location, and Salter relayed this information to the local North Carolina police. Hall was arrested while riding in Melissa's automobile later that day. During the arrest, the police searched the car and recovered marijuana.

Agent Salter testified that Hall was first interviewed following his arrest on February 23, 2004, by F.B.I. Special Agent Rambaud. During that interview, Hall signed an "Advice of Rights" form that informed Hall that he had the right to remain silent and to have an attorney appointed and present during questioning. According to Rambaud's report, Hall told him that he had purchased the marijuana from an unidentified male in Goldsboro, North Carolina and that he had sold a few ounces of marijuana since arriving in North Carolina.

On February 24, 2004, Hall was taken before a magistrate judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina and informed that there was a federal warrant for his arrest. The magistrate judge advised Hall of his constitutional rights, including his right to remain silent and that a new attorney would be appointed to represent him upon his transfer to Brooklyn. Hall's North Carolina attorney informed the court that Hall was a citizen of Guyana. The Court informed Hall of his right under the. Vienna Convention to have the Guyanese Consulate notified and asked him if he would like that done. Hall said that he would. The Government acknowledged that it was responsible for notifying the consulate and that it would see that it happened. The Government has since conceded that this notification did not occur.

On February 27, 2004, Salter interviewed Hall concerning the murder of Darnell Myers, an offense for which Hall had not yet been indicted. During that interview, Hall confessed to the murder. Hall states that he was not advised of his constitutional rights until after he had confessed. According to Hall, Salter said, "Okay, you want to play hard ball, we have something for you," that Hall would be "locked away for a long time," and that Hall would not see his children because he would be placed in a prison far away "like in Alaska." If, however, Hall would "make a deal," Salter would "write a letter to the judge." Hall states that he understood this to mean that the judge would be lenient. Hall then told Salter that he had killed Myers. It was only at that point, according to Hall, that Salter produced a form for Hall to sign that informed him of his constitutional rights.

Salter's testimony concerning the interview was quite different. Salter testified that the interview began shortly after noon. Salter introduced himself and explained that he was investigating events occurring around the Marcus Garvey Village in Brooklyn. Salter testified that he then provided Hall with an "Advice of Rights" form. Hall proceeded to read the form carefully and sign it. The advice of rights form that Salter testified that Hall signed states that the interview began at 12:18 p.m. and that Hall signed the form, six minutes later, at 12:24 p.m. According to Salter, it was only after that time that Hall was questioned or made any incriminating statements.

Hall was subsequently charged in an indictment with causing the death of Darnell Myers through use of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(j)(1) and a

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drug-related murder in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A).


Suppression of Marijuana

Hall moves to suppress the marijuana seized during the search of the car he was riding in when arrested. Hall states that he did not consent to the search, and the search was conducted prior to the arrival of police dogs. Hall states that the marijuana was found in a box in the backseat. The Government challenges Hall's standing to seek suppression of the marijuana seized from the car because he has not claimed that the marijuana was his and because he did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the car.

For evidence to be suppressed, it is not sufficient for a criminal defendant to merely claim prejudice from the introduction of evidence seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The defendant must himself have been a victim of the illegal search. Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128, 133-34, 99 S.Ct. 421, 58 L.Ed.2d 387 (1978); United States v. Haqq, 278 F.3d 44, 47 (2d Cir. 2002); see generally 3 WAYNE R. LAFAVE ET AL., CRIMINAL PROCEDURE § 9.1(a). For the defendant to be a "victim" of the illegal search, it must have intruded on his own reasonable expectation of privacy. See Rakas, 439 U.S. at 143, 99 S.Ct. 421 ("[C]apacity to claim the protection of the Fourth Amendment depends ... upon whether the person who claim the protection of the Amendment has a legitimate expectation of privacy in the invaded place."). The defendant bears the burden of proving that he had a legitimate expectation of privacy. Rawlings v. Kentucky, 448 U.S. 98, 104, 100 S.Ct. 2556, 65 L.Ed.2d 633 (1980).

In Rakas the Supreme Court held that a car passenger could not assert the protection of the Fourth Amendment against the seizure of evidence he did not own from a car in which he was merely a passenger. Id. at 139-40, 99 S.Ct. 421; see also Minnesota v. Carter, 525 U.S. 83, 87-88, 119 S.Ct. 469, 142 L.Ed.2d 373 (1998) (discussing Rakas); 3 LAFAVE, supra at § 9.1(d) (discussing whether passengers have standing to move to suppress evidence seized during a search of the car).

The Supreme Court extended Rakas in Rawlings v. Kentucky, 448 U.S. 98, 100 S.Ct. 2556, 65 L.Ed.2d 633 (1980). In Rawlings, the Court held that even where the defendant owned the property seized, he must demonstrate a reasonable expectation of privacy in the location searched. Id. at 105-06, 100 S.Ct. 2556. Because he was merely passenger in Melissa's vehicle, Hall has not established that any expectation of privacy that he may have had was reasonable. See United States v. Pulliam, 405 F.3d 782, 786 (9th Cir.2005); United States v. Paulin, 850 F.2d 93, 97 (2d Cir.1988).

But even assuming that Hall's privacy interests were invaded by the search, the search did not violate the Fourth Amendment because it was incident to a lawful arrest. In New York v. Belton, 453 U.S. 454, 101 S.Ct. 2860, 69 L.Ed.2d 768 (1981), the Supreme Court held that "when a policeman has made a lawful custodial arrest of the occupant of an automobile, he may, as a contemporaneous incident of that arrest, search the passenger compartment of that automobile. The police may also examine the contents of any containers found within the passenger compartment within reach of the arrestee." Id. at 460, 101 S.Ct. 2860.

The car was in any event properly searched because Melissa, the informant, told Salter that the car contained marijuana, which provided probable cause to search. See California v. Acevedo, 500 U.S. 565, 579-80, 111 S.Ct. 1982, 114

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L.Ed.2d 619...

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