U.S. v. Streifel

Citation781 F.2d 953
Decision Date17 January 1986
Docket NumberNo. 84-1932,84-1932
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff, Appellant, v. Thomas STREIFEL, and Daniel J. Quinn, Defendants, Appellees.
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)

Margaret D. McGaughey, Asst. U.S. Atty., with whom Stephen L. Diamond, William H. Browder, Jr., Asst. U.S. Attys., and Richard S. Cohen, U.S. Atty., were on brief for plaintiff, appellant.

David C. Pomeroy with whom Wheeler, Pomeroy & Snitger, Richard S. Emerson, Jr., and Childs, Emerson, Rundlett, Fifield & Childs were on brief for defendants, appellees.

Before CAMPBELL, Chief Judge and BOWNES and TORRUELLA, Circuit Judges.


The government appeals from an order of the United States District Court for the District of Maine suppressing certain statements and physical evidence seized in connection with the arrests of defendants-appellees Thomas Streifel and Daniel Quinn on the night of March 22, 1984, in Naples, Maine. The district court's opinion is reported as United States v. Rule, 594 F.Supp. 1223 (D.Me.1984). We vacate and remand.

A. Background

In mid-1983, agents of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA") and the Maine State Police ("MSP") began an investigation of John D. Rule and others for suspected marijuana trafficking. On March 22, 1984, an informant named James King, who had been referred to the DEA by the Boston Police Department after having assisted the Boston police in a cocaine investigation, told investigators that Rule was using a chalet-style house off Route 302 in Naples, Maine, as a "stash house" to store marijuana. King provided directions to the chalet and further informed investigators that a man called "Craig" was planning to remove approximately 300 pounds of marijuana from the house in a rented red Mercury Marquis automobile. 1 King reported that he had seen Craig's rental car parked on Congress Street in Portland, Maine, and that he had left a note on it for Craig to meet him at a nearby restaurant called "The Bag."

Acting on King's information, DEA Agent Michael Cunniff found a red Mercury Marquis parked on Congress Street a short distance away from "The Bag." Agent Cunniff observed a man who was later identified as Craig Sterner climb into the red Marquis and drive to King's apartment on North Street, where Sterner stopped for ten minutes. With the aid of a surveillance aircraft, the red Marquis was then followed as it proceeded on Route 302 to Naples, following generally the directions King had provided, until it stopped at the chalet-style house. After a 15-minute stop at the chalet, the red Marquis proceeded to another house in Naples that investigators later learned was occupied by Dennis and Nancy Beckwith. 2

The red Marquis left the Beckwith house after about half an hour and, following Route 302, went back to the Portland area, where it entered the southbound lane of the Maine Turnpike. At the direction of Agent Cunniff, the Marquis was stopped on the turnpike by an MSP cruiser. Upon request, the driver of the red Marquis produced a driver's license in the name of Craig Sterner. Believing the trunk of the Marquis contained contraband, Agent Cunniff opened it and discovered five bales of marijuana.

B. The Interrogation and Search of Streifel and Quinn at the Chalet

We come now to the events that pertain directly to the subject of this appeal. These are best reported as the district court described them in making its findings and rulings:

"After the discovery of marijuana in Sterner's car and his arrest, the DEA began the process of preparing to seek warrants to search both the houses in Naples at which Sterner had stopped on the afternoon of March 22. Police officers were sent to each of the houses in the early evening to 'secure' them for the arrival of the warrants. Four officers 3 arrived at the Cushner house 4 at 7:30 p.m. and determined that only a dog was in the house. Four officers staked out the house to await issuance of a warrant. Shortly after 10:30 p.m., while two of the officers [DEA Agent Steadman and MSP Corporal Holmes] were out making a phone call, two cars drove into the Cushner driveway. The first car, driven by Defendant Thomas Streifel, pulled up in back of one of the agent's cars. The other car, driven by Defendant Daniel Quinn, drove up in back of the Streifel car. The Defendants were asked by a uniformed officer for identification and to explain why they were at the cottage. Quinn produced a car registration in his name and Streifel produced his license and the rental agreement for his car. The identification was not returned to them during the succeeding course of events. Both Defendants were told by the officers [MSP Corporal Hutto and MSP Trooper Gallagher] when they arrived to put their cars in park and turn off the motors. They were told that they could not leave until Agent Steadman, the head of the operation, returned. When Quinn was asked if the officers could search his car, he refused, saying that they would have to get a warrant.

"Upon hearing by radio transmission of Quinn's and Streifel's approach, the two absent officers returned moments after Quinn and Streifel drove in. They parked their cruiser in back of Quinn's car in such a manner that neither Quinn's nor Streifel's car could be moved from the driveway. Agent Steadman testified that Quinn and Streifel had been told to get out of their cars and that they were deliberately kept apart. At that point they were clearly in custody. The officers who had blocked them in had no intention of letting them leave. Agent Steadman testified, in fact, that from the time Quinn and Streifel arrived he hoped and intended that they would stay. Also, he refused to allow Streifel to make a phone call. He explained this by saying that phone calls are only allowed after a person has been processed. Moreover, it is clear that a reasonable person in Defendants' position would have believed that he was not free to leave.... Initially Defendants had been told by C[orporal] Hutto that they could not leave. Later they were blocked in by a police car and confronted by four armed officers and a police dog. Their identification was retained by the officers.

"Since both Quinn and Streifel were in custody, they should have been advised of their rights before any questioning of them was begun.... The agent who did the questioning, DEA Agent Steadman, testified that he had no probable cause to arrest Quinn and Streifel when they arrived. According to his testimony, the probable cause began to develop from inconsistencies in their various responses to Steadman's questions concerning their purpose at the cottage, where they had previously met, and how long they had known each other. These theoretically incriminating responses, made as the result of the officer's interrogation of the Defendants while they were in custody, must be suppressed because they were made before Defendants were advised of their constitutional rights per Miranda.

A. Streifel

"In response to C[orporal] Hutto's request, Defendant Streifel consented to a search of his car. The voluntariness of that consent is immaterial here since the search revealed no incriminating evidence. When Cushner arrived 5 he told the officers that he recognized his friend Tom [Streifel] whom he was expecting for a few days of skiing. This information coincided with Streifel's expressed purpose for being at the cottage and was confirmed by skis and a suitcase seen in Streifel's car. The DEA had received no information from King concerning Streifel and, as will become evident infra, nothing revealed in the subsequent search of Cushner's house or in the check on Streifel's license provided any more indication, prior to his arrest, that he was involved in a violation of the law. Therefore, his arrest was premised merely on his late night arrival at a house which the agents suspected to be a stash house and his association with Cushner and Quinn. While such facts might give rise to suspicion, they do not rise to the level of probable cause necessary to arrest an individual for alleged participation in a drug conspiracy....

"Since Streifel's arrest was not based on probable cause, it was unlawful. The fruits of that unlawful arrest, the cocaine found in his pocket during the booking search, his telephone records, and the items found in the inventory search of his car, were 'come at by exploitation of that illegality,' rather than 'by means sufficiently distinguishable to be purged of the primary taint.' ... They are, therefore, inadmissible against him.

B. Quinn

"After Agent Steadman's questioning of Quinn and Streifel, he busied himself with other matters while Trooper Gallagher twice circled Quinn's car with his trained dog. The dog twice 'alerted,' which indicated to the officers the possible presence of marijuana in the trunk of the car. Quinn was asked if the officers could search the trunk and was warned that anything found in such a search could be used against him. Trooper Gallagher also told Quinn that if he did not permit the search, the agent could get a warrant. Quinn opened the trunk and the dog jumped in, signalling the presence of at least the odor of marijuana. The search revealed coffee grounds, marijuana seeds, and a blanket on which Gallagher smelled marijuana. Quinn asked that the dog be removed, which was done, and the trunk was closed. Shortly after these events, Agent Steadman, who had been told of the earlier search, asked Quinn if a subsequent search might be performed. Steadman testified that he made the request because he had concern about the legitimacy of the search of the trunk conducted by Trooper Gallagher. Steadman informed Quinn that the car would be subject to seizure if evidence showed that it had been used to transport drugs. Saying he understood, Quinn opened the trunk again, disclosing the same items plus some traces of baking...

To continue reading

Request your trial
95 cases
  • US v. Whitty, Crim. No. 87-00054-B.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Court (Maine)
    • 19 d4 Maio d4 1988
    ..."not merely that he is not free to go, but that he is actually in custody and `at the mercy of the police.'" United States v. Streifel, 781 F.2d 953, 961 (1st Cir.1986) (quoting Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420, 104 S.Ct. 3138, 3150, 82 L.Ed. 2d 317 (1984)). See also United States v. Masse......
  • U.S. v. Williams, 85-6082
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 7 d2 Julho d2 1987
    ...(quoting Terry v. Ohio, supra note 48, 392 U.S. at 21, 88 S.Ct. at 1879, 20 L.Ed.2d at 905-906); see also United States v. Streifel, 781 F.2d 953, 957 (1st 51 Terry v. Ohio, supra note 48, 392 U.S. at 30, 88 S.Ct. at 1884, 20 L.Ed.2d at 911. 52 Id. 53 463 U.S. 1032, 103 S.Ct. 3469, 77 L.Ed.......
  • People v. Taylor, 01SA333.
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • 25 d1 Fevereiro d1 2002
    ...different analysis of the circumstances" is required under the Fifth Amendment than under the Fourth); United States v. Streifel, 781 F.2d 953, 961 (1st Cir.1986) ("Berkemer indicates that, in a non-stationhouse setting, Miranda is not triggered simply because a person detained by the polic......
  • United States v. Candelario-Santana, s. 13–2139
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • 17 d3 Agosto d3 2016
    ...suggest that the officers conveyed to the suspects that they were under arrest prior to the Miranda warnings. United States v. Streifel, 781 F.2d 953, 959 (1st Cir. 1986) (“[Officers'] intentions were relevant only to the extent that they were communicated to the defendants.”); see alsoTrue......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT