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United States v. Assante

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

September 25, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF
v.
RENZO RAUL ASSANTE, a/k/a FELIPE BERCKEMEYER, DEFENDANT

Page 757

For Renzo Raul Assante, also known as Felipe Berckemeyer, Defendant: Rob Eggert, LEAD ATTORNEY, Louisville, KY.

For USA, Plaintiff: A. Spencer McKiness, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. Attorney Office - Louisville, Louisville, KY.

OPINION

Page 758

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Joseph H. McKinley, Jr., Chief United States District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on a motion by Defendant, Renzo Raul Assante, to suppress all statements made to federal agents and evidence seized from his residence [DN 28]. On August 21, 2013, a evidentiary hearing was held. Fully briefed, this matter is now ripe for decision.

I. BACKGROUND

Defendant, Renzo Raul Assante, is charged in a five count Indictment with passport fraud; aggravated identity theft; possession of firearm by illegal alien; and two counts of making a false statement in connection with the purchase of the firearms.

On January 9, 2013, agents with the Department of Diplomatic Security Service (" DSS" ) placed Defendant under surveillance. The agents observed the Defendant leave his home and followed him to his place of employment, the Fiat dealership on Shelbyville Road in Louisville, Kentucky. Lead DSS Agent Lena Lee and Agent Greg Schultz entered Defendant's place of employment and asked the manager of the dealership if he recognized an individual in a photograph. The manager stated that the man in the picture was Felipe Berckemeyer, and the agents requested to speak with him. The manager directed the agents to an open break room where they interviewed Breckemeyer, later identified as Renzo Raul Assante, about his identity. At no time during the interview was Defendant advised of his Miranda rights. Agent Lee described the questions as background questions to establish the identity of the person who applied for the passport. During the interview, Defendant claimed his true identity was Berckemeyer.

At the conclusion of the agent's questioning, Agent Lee asked if Assante would follow her downtime to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (" ICE" ) building for fingerprinting to help validate his identity. Defendant agreed, but asked to ride with Agent Lee because his license was suspended. Three DSS agents drove Defendant downtown to the ICE facility for fingerprinting. The DSS agents followed an ICE agent who was in a second car. While Defendant was being fingerprinted, Agent Lee went to a small interview room to wait for the results. She testified that she waited in the room approximately ten minutes before Defendant

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entered. While in the room, the door was propped open and two other DSS agents were in and out of the room. During this time, Defendant was texting on his cell phone and chatting with the agents about his hobbies. Defendant testified that while he remembered the door to the room being open at times, he did not feel that he was free to leave. Five minutes passed before the fingerprinting results arrived.

After the fingerprinting results came back, Agent Lee began to question Defendant about his identity. Initially, Defendant repeated the story he had given at his work. Shortly after the interrogation began, Agent Lee testified that Defendant began crying and admitted that he got papers from Peru, that he did not want to go to jail, and that he couldn't go back to Peru. Defendant then requested a lawyer. Once Defendant asked to speak with a lawyer, Agent Lee testified that she read Defendant his Miranda rights and placed him under arrest. At this ...


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