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United States v. McPherson

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Western Division

October 23, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN CHARLES MCPHERSON, II, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ON REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Leonard T. Strand, Chief Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This case is before me on a Report and Recommendation (R&R) filed on September 19, 2017, by the Honorable Kelly K.E. Mahoney, United States Magistrate Judge. See Doc. No. 57. Judge Mahoney recommends that I grant defendant's motion (Doc. No. 42) to suppress statements he made during a custodial interrogation in violation of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966) . Neither party has filed objections. The time to make such objections has expired.

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural History

         McPherson is charged with possession of a firearm by a felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2). He filed his motion (Doc. No. 42) to suppress on July 28, 2017. The Government filed a resistance (Doc. No. 45) on August 11, 2017. Defendant filed a reply (Doc. No. 52) on August 18, 2017 and the Government filed a second response (Doc. No. 53) on August 23, 2017. Judge Mahoney held a hearing on August 30, 2017. The following exhibits were admitted into evidence:

• Government Exhibit 1 - Video of the interview room at the Sergeant Bluff Police Department
• Government Exhibit 2 - Video of the booking room at the Woodbury County Jail
• Government Exhibit 3 - A Toxicology Report from DCI Crime Lab (Doc. No. 46)
• Defense Exhibit A - A Sergeant Bluff Police Report (Doc. No. 42-2)
• Defense Exhibit B - Video from an Officer's Body Cam (Doc. No. 42-3)
• Defense Exhibit C - Audio recording of McPherson's interview at the Woodbury County Jail (Doc. No. 42-4)
• Defense Exhibit D - Transcript of McPherson's interview at the Woodbury County Jail (Doc. No. 42-5)

         B. Relevant Facts

         Judge Mahoney provided the following background in her R&R:

On the morning of October 20, 2016, McPherson was approached while apparently sleeping inside a vehicle.[1] Def. Ex. B, 02:00. During the encounter, an officer shot at (and missed) McPherson and thereafter found a firearm in his waistband. McPherson was taken to an interview room at the Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, police department by Woodbury County, Iowa, Sheriff's Deputy Todd Peterson. Upon entering the interview room, McPherson told Deputy Peterson, “I want a lawyer first.” Govt. Ex. 1, 9:47:28. Deputy Peterson responded that they were only there to “get [McPherson] more comfortable so [he's] not smashed up in the back of th[e] car.” A few minutes later, Deputy Peterson asked McPherson something further about his attorney, although it is unclear what prompted this question.[2] Govt. Ex. 1, 9:56:10. A few minutes after that, McPherson said that he was not going to answer any questions, and Deputy Peterson responded that he was not going to ask any. Govt. Ex. 1, 9:59:05. The pair then discussed whether Deputy Peterson should read McPherson his Miranda rights, including whether McPherson was detained or under arrest and whether the distinction mattered. When Deputy Peterson remarked that he did not want McPherson to say something he regretted, McPherson said that he was talking to a lawyer first. Govt. Ex. 1, 10:00:00. Shortly thereafter, McPherson ...

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