U.S. v. Medearis, No. CR. 02-30026.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. District of South Dakota
Writing for the CourtMoreno
Citation236 F.Supp.2d 977
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff, v. Cody Cheyenne MEDEARIS, Defendant.
Decision Date22 November 2002
Docket NumberNo. CR. 02-30026.

Page 977

236 F.Supp.2d 977
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Cody Cheyenne MEDEARIS, Defendant.
No. CR. 02-30026.
United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Central Division.
November 22, 2002.

Page 978

Randolph J. Seiler Asst. U.S. Atty., Pierre, SD, for Plaintiff.

Bruce H. Ellison, Rapid City, SD, for Defendant.

ORDER

Defendant filed a motion (Doc. 33) to dismiss the indictment and a motion to suppress evidence (Doc. 31). United States Magistrate Judge Moreno conducted an evidentiary hearing. A transcript (Doc. 84) has been prepared. I have read the transcript and all other applicable files and records herein. Judge Moreno served and filed a report and recommendations (Doc. 83). No objections have been filed and the time to object has expired. The report and recommendations should be adopted. The motion to dismiss should be

Page 979

denied and the motion to suppress evidence should be granted. Now, therefore, based on a de novo review,

IT IS ORDERED, as follows:

1) The report and recommendations (Doc. 83) are adopted.

2) The motion to dismiss (Doc. 33) is denied.

3) The motion to suppress evidence (Doc. 31) is granted as to the government's case in chief.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR DISPOSITION OF DEFENDANT'S MOTIONS TO DISMISS AND TO SUPPRESS

MORENO, United States Magistrate Judge.


[¶ 1] Defendant, Cody Cheyenne Medearis (Medearis), filed Motions to Dismiss the Indictment and to Suppress Evidence on July 2, 2002. An evidentiary hearing concerning the Motions was later held on September 26, 2002. Because Medearis' Motions are dispositive ones, this Court is only authorized to determine the same on a report and recommendation basis. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), the Court does now make and propose the following Report and Recommendations for disposition of Medearis' Motions.

I.

[¶ 2] Medearis, a 23-year-old college student (dob 12-25-78), is charged by Indictment with kidnapping (two counts) and aggravated sexual abuse (four counts).1 The Indictment alleges that Medearis kidnapped and sexually assaulted Sherri Lynn Whiting, on or about January 13, 2002, in Todd County, South Dakota, in Indian country.2

[¶ 3] Following his arrest on the federal charges, Medearis made his initial appearance and was released on a third party custody basis. He was subsequently arraigned and pled not guilty to all six offenses.

[¶ 4] Thereafter, Medearis sought to dismiss the Indictment on the ground that his January 13, 2002 arrest by tribal officers was illegal. He also sought to suppress the evidence obtained by officers as the "fruit" of his illegal arrest. The Court scheduled and held a hearing on Medearis' dismissal and suppression Motions. At the hearing, four witnesses testified and five exhibits were received into evidence. After the hearing, Plaintiff, United States of America (Government) submitted supplemental authorities, which the Court has read and considered.

II.

[¶ 5] Both of Medearis' Motions revolve around the propriety of his arrest on January 13, 2002, at the D & E Food and Fuel Convenience Store near Wood, South Dakota. That day Medearis was arrested by tribal officers from the Rosebud Police Department on a tribal charge. The Convenience Store, including the parking lot adjacent thereto where the arrest took place, is located on land owned by David and Eileen Larson. It is not clear, at this point, whether Medearis is an Indian or not; what is clear, however, is that if Medearis is an Indian, he is not an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux

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Tribe.3 The questions to be decided, when boiled down, are essentially two-fold:

1. Was Medearis' arrest illegal?

2. If so, does it require dismissal of the Indictment or suppression of the "fruits" obtained therefrom?

III.

[¶ 6] Sometime during the early morning hours of January 13, 2002, Whiting was sexually assaulted. Grace Her Many Horses, a criminal investigator for the Rosebud Police Department, interviewed Whiting at the Indian Health Service (IHS) Hospital in Rosebud, South Dakota, shortly after the assault incident. There, Whiting disclosed that Medearis was the one who had assaulted her. After obtaining this and other information, Her Many Horses directed that a bulletin be put out for Medearis and that he be picked up for the assault.

[¶ 7] While driving around the housing area near Wood, South Dakota, Frank Vanderwalker, a Rosebud police officer, saw a vehicle parked at the D & E Convenience Store, which matched the description of the one Medearis was believed to be driving. Vanderwalker radioed Her Many Horses who told him to wait. When Her Many Horses arrived, Vanderwalker pointed out the vehicle to her. Her Many Horses then proceeded to the Convenience Store, followed by Vanderwalker, and stopped Medearis in the southeast portion of the Store parking lot. Her Many Horses identified herself to Medearis and arrested him on a tribal sexual assault charge. After being arrested, Medearis indicated, on two separate occasions, that he wanted a lawyer and twice asked if Whiting was all right (or used words to that effect). At this same time, Her Many Horses saw a rifle in the front seat of the vehicle, which she eventually removed, and took photographs of the interior and exterior of the vehicle. In the meantime, Medearis was handcuffed and transported by Vanderwalker to the Rosebud Jail. Upon completing her work at the parking lot, Her Many Horses called and had a wrecker tow Medearis' vehicle to the impound lot behind the Rosebud Police Department.

[¶ 8] While at the Jail, Medearis was directed to remove his clothing and did so. An attempt was made by Her Many Horses to interview him there, but Medearis again invoked his right to counsel and no questions were asked. Later that same day, Medearis was released on a $250 cash bond subject to various conditions.4

[¶ 9] The next day (January 14, 2002), Her Many Horses searched Medearis' vehicle and seized various items that were in the same. She also photographed the vehicle and the items that were found therein. At the time of the arrest, neither Her Many Horses nor Vanderwalker were in "fresh pursuit" of Medearis nor did any exigent circumstances exist. The arrest occurred on deeded land in a non-dependent Indian community off of the Rosebud Reservation.5 The stop and arrest were made for a tribal offense, and not a state or federal one. No warrants were ever issued either for Medearis' arrest or for

Page 981

the search of his vehicle nor were Miranda warnings ever given. Consent for the property and items that were searched and taken from Medearis was never sought or obtained.

[¶ 10] Her Many Horses and/or Vanderwalker admitted that:

(1) The Rosebud Police Department has no jurisdiction outside the Rosebud Reservation and its dependent Indian communities or over non-member Indians;

(2) The jurisdiction of tribal police officers is limited to the exterior boundaries of the Rosebud Reservation;

(3) The sexual assault charge they were looking for Medearis on was a tribal charge;

(4) Rosebud police officers can only arrest a person off of the Rosebud Reservation when they are in fresh pursuit of the person from the Reservation itself; and

(5) Tribal police have no authority to search, impound or seize a vehicle being driven by a non-member Indian on deeded land without fresh pursuit.

[¶ 11] Eventually, the evidence that was obtained from Medearis in connection with his arrest was turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). On March 27, 2002, Medearis was indicted by a federal grand jury on the present kidnapping and sexual abuse charges. These charges stem from and arise out of his custodial arrest and the search and seizure of his vehicle and property on January 13-14, 2002.

IV.

[¶ 12] A basic attribute of sovereignty is the power to enforce laws against all persons who come within the sovereign's territory. Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe, 435 U.S. 191, 98 S.Ct. 1011, 55 L.Ed.2d 209 (1978); United States v. Wheeler, 435 U.S. 313, 98 S.Ct. 1079, 55 L.Ed.2d 303 (1978); Duro v. Reina, 495 U.S. 676, 110 S.Ct. 2053, 109 L.Ed.2d 693 (1990); RSTLOC § 7-IV-B-7(g).6 These authorities provide the analytical framework for determining whether Medearis was lawfully arrested and incarcerated and whether the Rosebud Tribe had criminal jurisdiction over him. Oliphant established that the inherent sovereignty of an Indian tribe does not extend to criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians who commit crimes on the reservation. 435 U.S. at 195-212, 98 S.Ct. 1011. Wheeler reaffirmed the long standing recognition of tribal jurisdiction over crimes committed by nonmembers. 435 U.S. at 316-332, 98 S.Ct. 1079. In Duro, the Supreme Court took the judicial divestiture of sovereignty enunciated in Oliphant one step further by holding that an Indian tribe could not assert jurisdiction over a non-member Indian defendant. 495 U.S. at 684-98, 110 S.Ct. 2053. Section 7-IV-B-7(g) codified the authority of Rosebud police officers to arrest a "person" if they are in "fresh pursuit" for conduct that occurred on the Reservation even if the arrest is made outside of the boundaries of the Reservation and its dependent Indian communities.7

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[¶ 13] If Medearis is a non-Indian, as is alleged in Counts II, IV and VI of the Indictment, Her Many Horses and Vanderwalker had no legal basis to arrest him on a tribal charge or require that he submit to the jurisdiction of the Rosebud Tribe. Oliphant, 435 U.S. at 195, 212, 98 S.Ct. 1011. If, however, it is assumed that Medearis is a non-member Indian, which is apparently what the Government charges in Counts I, III and V of the Indictment, the result is the same. See Duro, 495 U.S. at 684-88, 110 S.Ct. 2053;8 § 7-IV-B-5-7(g).

[¶ 14] Medearis was arrested in Mellette, not Todd County. Although dependent Indian communities exist in Mellette County, Medearis' arrest was not in such a community, but rather on privately owned...

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2 practice notes
  • United States v. Santistevan, 3:19-CR-30017-RAL
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. District of South Dakota
    • April 15, 2019
    ...Tr. 82. 41. See Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471, 487-88 (1963). 42. See Mot. Hrg. Tr. 45. 43. See United States v. Medearis, 236 F.Supp.2d 977, 984 (D.S.D. 2002) (explaining that under the rule in Wong Sun, evidence is not excluded unless knowledge of it is obtained as a result of s......
  • U.S. v. Simon, No. CRIM. 04-387(ESH).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • April 1, 2005
    ...probable cause.... Absent exigent circumstances, such an arrest is presumptively unreasonable." Id. at 1354. See also U.S. v. Medearis, 236 F.Supp.2d 977 (D.S.D.2002) (warrantless arrest executed outside of the arresting officer's jurisdiction violates the Fourth Other courts have held that......
2 cases
  • United States v. Santistevan, 3:19-CR-30017-RAL
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. District of South Dakota
    • April 15, 2019
    ...Tr. 82. 41. See Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471, 487-88 (1963). 42. See Mot. Hrg. Tr. 45. 43. See United States v. Medearis, 236 F.Supp.2d 977, 984 (D.S.D. 2002) (explaining that under the rule in Wong Sun, evidence is not excluded unless knowledge of it is obtained as a result of s......
  • U.S. v. Simon, No. CRIM. 04-387(ESH).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • April 1, 2005
    ...probable cause.... Absent exigent circumstances, such an arrest is presumptively unreasonable." Id. at 1354. See also U.S. v. Medearis, 236 F.Supp.2d 977 (D.S.D.2002) (warrantless arrest executed outside of the arresting officer's jurisdiction violates the Fourth Other courts have held that......

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