The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hurd, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
The defendants are charged in a four count indictment with
Conspiracy to interfere with commerce by extortion and threats of
violence, Interference with commerce by extortion and threats of
violence, Attempt to interfere with commerce by extortion and
threats of violence, and Transfer of funds in interstate commerce
in aid of racketeering activity, all in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951
and 1952. The defendants have pled not guilty to all counts
of the indictment.
Defendants Martin D. Filkins ("Filkins") and Karl Dickerson
("Dickerson") moved to suppress all statements made to law
enforcement officials, contending that they were made in the
absence of a knowing and voluntary waiver of their Fifth
Amendment right against self-incrimination. In addition, Filkins
requested reconsideration of a previous denial of his motion,
pursuant to Fed.R.Crim.P. 15, to permit him to take the
deposition of Timothy Droulette ("Droulette"), the civilian
victim in this case. See Docket No. 75. A hearing was held on
September 6, 2000 in Utica, New York. Decision was reserved.
A. Defendants' Statements
If a statement is made which stems from custodial interrogation
without the presence of an attorney, the government bears a
"heavy burden . . . to demonstrate
that the defendant knowingly and intelligently waived his
privilege against self-incrimination and his right to retained or
appointed counsel." Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 475, 86
S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966); see also Dickerson v. United
States, ___ U.S. ___, 120 S.Ct. 2326, 147 L.Ed.2d 405
(2000) (reaffirming Miranda). The United States Supreme Court
later clarified that "[w]henever the State bears the burden of
proof in a motion to suppress a statement that the defendant
claims was obtained in violation of our Miranda doctrine, the
State need prove waiver only by a preponderance of the evidence."
Colorado v. Connelly, 479 U.S. 157, 168, 107 S.Ct. 515, 93
L.Ed.2d 473 (1986); Cf. United States v. Matlock, 415 U.S. 164,
178 n. 14, 94 S.Ct. 988, 39 L.Ed.2d 242 (1974) (stating that "the
controlling burden of proof at suppression hearings should impose
no greater burden than proof by a preponderance of the
To determine whether a defendant knowingly and voluntarily
waived his Miranda rights, the totality of the circumstances
surrounding the interrogation must be considered. See Fare v.
Michael C., 442 U.S. 707, 725, 99 S.Ct. 2560, 61 L.Ed.2d 197
(1979). This approach permits consideration of factors such as
"age, experience, education, background, and intelligence," as
well as "whether [the defendant] has the capacity to understand
the [Miranda] warnings given him, the nature of his Fifth
Amendment rights, and the consequences of waiving those rights."
The government concedes that the defendants were in custody
when they were questioned. However, the government contends that
both defendants knowingly and voluntarily waived their Fifth and
Sixth Amendment rights. Based upon the evidence presented at the
suppression hearing, as discussed below, the government has met
its burden of establishing that the defendants waived their
Before Dickerson was interviewed, FBI Special Agent Thomas
Stewart read a pre-printed Advice of Rights form aloud to
Dickerson. After that, Special Agent Stewart handed Dickerson the
form to read. Dickerson stated that he understood and signed the
Waiver of Rights portion of the form, which was witnessed by
Special Agent Stewart and Investigator Henry Piotrowski of the
New York State Police.
Prior to being arrested and handcuffed, FBI Agent Gregory
Hautau read the Advice of Rights form aloud to Filkins. Filkins
acknowledged that he understood. Filkins then read the Advice of
Rights form aloud and initialed each paragraph on the form. He
then read the Waiver of Rights portion and signed that. This was
witnessed by Agent Hautau and FBI Special Agent Daniel Matthews.
Both defendants were over the age of eighteen at the time of
their arrests and both men spoke English. There was no evidence
presented that either of them did not comprehend their rights or
that they suffered from any mental disability. Therefore, the
defendants' motion to suppress statements made to law enforcement
officers must be denied.
B. Deposition of Timothy Droulette
The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure ...