Archive | custody

Monday, March 12th, 2018

De Novo Review of Demeanor?

Last week, the Second Circuit reversed a decision suppressing a defendant’s incriminating, videotaped statements to a DEA agent in a case involving Fentanyl distribution resulting in death. See United States v. Haak, No. 16-3876 (Raggi, Hall, Carney) (appeal from WDNY), opinion available here. The substance of the decision is fact-specific and favors the government.  Interestingly, however, the Court’s approach to reviewing the videotaped interview could be advantageous to defendants in future cases.

Of course, when assessing whether a defendant’s statements to a law enforcement agent were voluntary, appellate courts typically defer to the district court’s assessment of the agent’s demeanor. Here, the panel accorded no such deference. Instead, without citing legal authority for the proposition, the panel categorically asserted that: “Because the . . . interview was video-recorded, this case presents no disputes of fact as to the actions taken, words spoken, or demeanor.”  Slip op. …

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Categories: custody, Fifth Amendment, findings

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Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Custody Battle

United Stateds v. FNU LNU, No. 10-419-cr (2d Cir. August 9, 2011)

(Jacobs, Calabresi, Lohier, CJJ)

Defendant, traveling under the name Sandra Calzada, arrived at JFK on a flight from the DR. A border patrol agent noticed that Calzada had an open arrest warrant, and flagged her for secondary inspection. An “armed guard” escorted her to the secondary inspection room, from which she was not free to leave, and the agent questioned her for 90 minutes without first reading the Miranda warnings.

The interrogation included questions about her pedigree, passport and the like. Eventually, the agent found some discrepancies: she did not look like the photograph on the original passport application, gave inconsistent biographic information, and could not recall any of her addresses in Puerto Rico, where she said she was born.

The district court refused to suppress the statements, holding that Miranda warnings were not required during a “routine …

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Categories: custody, Miranda, Uncategorized

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