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UNITED STATES v. SATTERFIELD

July 8, 1976

United States of America,
v.
Reginald Satterfield, Ronald Weston and James Arnold Byrd, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: KNAPP

KNAPP, D.J.

 Defendant Satterfield brings this motion to suppress certain statements made to the Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Attorney. The chronology of events is as follows:

 On April 14, 1976 a superseding indictment was returned charging Satterfield with complicity in a conspiracy to sell heroin (one of his co-defendants having been indicted some 3 months previously), and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Two days later, on Friday, April 16, the warrant was executed at approximately 10:00 A.M. in front of the Fifth Avenue Armory, where the agents had arranged to have Satterfield, a tennis instructor, appear on the pretext of making an appointment for a tennis lesson.

 The agents, after advising him of his Miranda rights and telling him that he had been indicted, took Satterfield to DEA headquarters where he gave a statement substantially admitting his involvement in the criminal conspiracy. During much of this time he was crying and whimpering. Immediately after that statement, Satterfield was taken to the United States Attorney's Office where he was again advised of his rights, the indictment against him was explained in detail, and he gave a statement virtually identical to the first one. He was then arraigned before the Magistrate, and was released on a personal recognizance bond to be co-signed by his brother. The brother was given until the following Monday to affix his signature.

 Although the agents had indicated to Satterfield that the Magistrate would provide an attorney and one of them had helped him fill out the necessary form, the Magistrate ruled that he was financially ineligible and declined to appoint an attorney.

 As Satterfield was leaving the courthouse, one of the agents suggested that if he wished to continue his cooperation he should come to DEA Headquarters on the following Monday and make a further statement. He agreed to do so. Satterfield kept his Monday appointment at Headquarters and made a third statement repeating the first two -- this time on tape.

 We find the following determinative facts:

 
(1) Although the Miranda warnings were given on Friday, April 16 by the DEA agents, Satterfield was in no emotional state to be able to comprehend or intelligently waive his rights.
 
(2) Although the agents on April 16 advised Satterfield of his indictment he was then unable to comprehend its significance.
 
(3) By the time Satterfield reached the United States Attorney's Office he was sufficiently composed to understand the warnings and the significance of the indictment. However, the events at the United States Attorney's Office followed so closely on the heels of those at DEA Headquarters that Satterfield had no realistic opportunity to decide whether or not a change of course would be advisable.
 
(4) Satterfield was subject to no compulsion whatever to return to DEA Headquarters on Monday. On the contrary, he had ample opportunity to discuss his situation with his brother or anyone else.
 
(5) Satterfield was at no time subject to threats or abuse by any agent or officer of the United States.

 The foregoing findings require the suppression of the two Friday statements, and with respect to the Monday statement, with crystal clarity present the question of the admissibility of a post-indictment statement given without advice of ...


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