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United States v. Peeples

United States District Court, W.D. New York

January 22, 2018



          HON. FRANK P. GERACI, JR Chief Judge .


         On January 6, 2017, the United States of America filed a Criminal Complaint alleging that Defendant Joseph W. Peeples, III, robbed a bank in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a). ECF No. 1. On February 23, 2017, the Grand Jury returned an Indictment charging Peeples with one count of bank robbery, one count of entering a bank with intent to commit larceny, and one count of bank larceny in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2113(a), (b). ECF No. 7. The next day, the case was referred to Magistrate Judge Jonathan W. Feldman for pre-trial matters and dispositive motions. ECF No. 8.

         At his arraignment, Peeples moved to proceed pro se and Judge Feldman granted the motion. ECF No. 10.

         On March 30, 2017, Peeples moved to suppress evidence obtained from his hotel room after his warrantless arrest and statements after his arrest, and he moved to dismiss the criminal complaint and the arrest warrant based on a number of alleged violations of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. ECF Nos. 14, 48. Judge Feldman then held a suppression hearing and issued a report and recommendation (“R&R”), ECF No. 48, to which Peeples objected. ECF No. 51. The Government responded to Peeples's objections. ECF No. 55. For the reasons that follow, the Court adopts Judge Feldman's R&R and Peeples's motions are DENIED.


         On January 5, 2017, at approximately 8:25 a.m., a male suspect robbed the Chase Bank located at 1 South Clinton Avenue in Rochester, New York. ECF No. 1, ¶ 3. The suspect entered the bank, robbed it, and left with approximately $109, 500. Id., ¶ 4. Video surveillance from outside the Bank showed the suspect fleeing north on Stone Street by foot toward East Main Street. See id., ¶ 5. He then entered a taxi in front of the Hyatt Hotel. Id. No other individuals appear on the video surveillance during the time the bank was robbed. Id.

         The taxi driver dropped off the suspect at the Trailways Bus Station. Id. The suspect left sunglasses and a jacket with bundles of cash totaling approximately $9, 990 inside the taxi. Id. Video surveillance from the bus station showed the taxi dropping off the suspect, who then entered the bus station with a bag. Id., ¶ 6. The suspect entered a bathroom in the bus station and exited in different clothes several minutes later. Id. Police later found $43, 500 in the trash can inside the bathroom. Id.

         After exiting the bus station bathroom, the suspect took another taxi to the Quality Inn at 1273 Chili Avenue in Rochester. Id., ¶ 7. Video surveillance from inside the Quality Inn showed the suspect entering the hotel in the same clothes he had on when he left the bus station. Id., ¶ 9. The manager of the Quality Inn said that the suspect provided his name, Joseph W. Peeples, III, and his address and driver's license number when he rented a room. Id. The taxi driver reviewed the surveillance video from the Quality Inn and confirmed that Peeples was the individual he transported in his taxi. Id., ¶ 8.

         The taxi driver picked him up an hour later and drove him back to the bus station at approximately 10:05 a.m. Id., ¶ 7. Peeples entered the bus station again at 10:14 a.m. and purchased a bus ticket to New York City. Id., ¶ 8. The bus left Rochester at 10:55 a.m. and made several stops. Id., ¶ 10. Peeples exited the bus in Binghamton, New York, and hailed a taxi. Id. The taxi driver took Peeples to four or five different hotels, none of which would accept cash without a credit card. See Id. Eventually, the driver dropped Peeples off at the Grand Royale Hotel in Binghamton. Id.

         The same day, FBI Special Agent John Bokal, Jr., learned of the robbery and Peeples's travels. ECF No. 33, at 13-14.[1] Based on this information, Agent Bokal believed he had probable cause to locate and arrest him. Id.

         Through an investigator with the Binghamton Police Department, Agent Bokal discovered that Peeples's last known location was the Grand Royale Hotel in Binghamton. Id. at 15. Agent Bokal went to the Grand Royale Hotel the same day. Id. at 16. He entered the main entrance of the hotel, which included a set of unlocked doors leading to a set of locked doors. Id. After reviewing signs to the side of the locked doors, Agent Bokal contacted the hotel manager, Salim Khan, and identified himself. Id. Khan then appeared and let Agent Bokal into the hotel. Id. at 19-20.

         Agent Bokal showed Khan a picture of Peeples, and Khan confirmed that a taxi had dropped Peeples off at the hotel earlier that afternoon. Id. at 20. Khan then retrieved a copy of the bill with Peeples's name and a copy of his identification. Id.

         Agent Bokal then asked Khan if Peeples was currently inside the hotel. Id. Khan responded that Peeples had left the hotel and Khan assumed Peeples was still gone. Id. at 20-21. Agent Bokal then requested that Khan show Agent Bokal to Peeples's room. Id. at 21. Khan led Agent Bokal and three members of the Binghamton Police Department to a set of stairs leading to the third floor of the hotel. Id. at 21-22. As they were making their way up the staircase to the third floor, Khan pointed to an individual on a landing on the stairway and said, “that's him.” Id. at 22. Peeples was sitting on the ...

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