Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Hughes

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

June 15, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
DAVID HUGHES, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          PATRICIA L. COHEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court[1] on Defendant's motion to suppress statements [ECF No. 21]. The Court held an evidentiary hearing on Defendant's motion and the parties filed post-hearing memoranda [ECF Nos. 37 and 40]. Based upon the arguments of the parties and the evidence adduced at the hearing, the Court recommends denial of Defendant's motion.

         Background

         The Government charged Defendant with three counts of violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 641 (theft of government funds) [ECF No. 1]. The Government alleged that Defendant, who was deemed eligible for the receipt of Social Security disability payments in 1988, concealed from the Social Security Administration: receipt of a $112, 000 insurance settlement; the ability to work five days a week in his clothing store; purchase of a Cadillac Escalade; ownership of a bank account and receipt of a check from the Rebuild North County Fund. The Government further alleged that Defendant fraudulently received three Social Security checks for $733.00 each (Counts 1, 2 and 3).

         Defendant filed a Motion to Suppress Statements on the grounds that: (1) he was subjected to a custodial interrogation without agents advising him of his Miranda[2] rights; and (2) his statements were involuntary as a result of his intellectual disability. In his post-hearing memorandum, although Defendant reiterates that his statements were involuntary because of his “low intelligence, ” he appears to alter his argument with respect to Miranda warnings, contending that because he believed he was in custody, he was entitled to Miranda warnings.

         The Government opposes Defendant's motion on the grounds that Defendant was not in custody and therefore was not entitled to Miranda warnings. The Government also rejects the assertion that Defendant's diminished mental capacity either caused him to believe that he was in custody or independently rendered his statements involuntary.

         Facts

         A. The arresting agents

         1. Christopher Alexander

         Christopher Alexander, a special agent with the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) along with Agent Joel Ferris, also of the Social Security Administration OIG, interviewed Defendant at Defendant's business, King David Fashions, in August 2015. The business was a clothing shop. The agents conducted the interview in midday. The agents did not advise Defendant of his Miranda rights prior to the interview.

         The two agents entered Defendant's business through an open front door. The door remained unlocked throughout the exchange. Both agents were armed but did not display their weapons. Defendant was standing behind a counter as the agents approached, and remained in that area during the interview. The agents identified themselves as special agents with the Social Security Administration. Agent Ferris advised that the agents wished to discuss matters related to SSI (Supplemental Security Income). At the commencement of the discussion, Agent Ferris asked if Defendant would consent to an audio recording of the interview. Defendant declined.

         Initially, Defendant stated “he didn't want to talk about it.” Agent Ferris further explained that “[Defendant] didn't have to answer any questions but he wanted to explain to him the information, evidence SSA had . . . relevant to the investigation.” Next, Agent Ferris explained that the investigation was about Defendant's work.

         Shortly after Agent Ferris started to explain the investigation, Defendant “began to talk.” Immediately, Agent Alexander interrupted Defendant and stated, “This is a voluntary interview, do you want to continue to talk?” After Agent Alexander reiterated that the interview was voluntary, Defendant continued to speak to Agent Ferris, stating, “[y]es, I want to speak to him.”

         Agent Alexander acknowledged that he was aware that Defendant received benefits because of a “mental diagnosis.” Agent Alexander also recalled asking Defendant if he knew right from wrong and Defendant replying, “I knew it was wrong but how am I going to survive.” In addition, Agent Alexander testified that Defendant stated, “Let me make ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.