United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. RUSSELL SENIOR JUDGE
2016, Jeffery Desmond Carter was indicted on twenty-five
counts of producing child pornography, one count of receiving
child pornography, and one count of sex trafficking. He now
asks this Court to suppress all statements he made following
the search of his home one year prior. Although he signed a
written waiver of his rights before speaking with
law-enforcement officers, Carter argues that his decision was
not knowing, intelligent, or voluntary. Having considered the
totality of the circumstances, the Court concludes otherwise.
Accordingly, Carter's Motion to Suppress, [R. 24], is
2015, Investigator Mike Robinson of the Murray Police
Department obtained a warrant to search a home in Murray,
Kentucky as part of a child pornography investigation
targeting Jeffrey Desmond Carter. Investigator Robinson,
along with officers from the Calloway County Sheriff's
Department and Kentucky State Police, executed that search
warrant on February 10. The group found Carter inside,
handcuffed him, and escorted him outside where Investigator
Robinson read a copy of the search warrant to
Subsequently, Carter was transported to the Murray Police
attempted to question Carter prior to him arriving at the
stationhouse. Once there, law-enforcement officers removed
Carter's handcuffs and placed him in an interview room.
The resulting interview, which lasted a couple of hours, was
recorded. Before beginning the interview, Investigator
Robinson read Carter his Miranda rights, and Carter
acknowledged that he understood them. Investigator Robinson
then presented Carter with a written document explaining his
Miranda rights and waiving them. Investigator
Robinson allowed Carter to read that form, and Carter signed
it, indicating he understood his Miranda rights and
agreed to waive them.
the course of the interview, Carter made a number of
incriminating admissions. But Carter neither requested an
attorney, nor asked that the questioning stop. No one
promised him leniency or threatened him. He was allowed to
take breaks, go to the bathroom, and request food or drink.
Eventually, Investigator Robinson asked Carter to make a
written statement about his alleged unlawful contact with
various children. Carter agreed, and Investigator Robinson
left the room while Carter wrote a statement. When Carter
finished, he was arrested and taken to the Calloway County
2016, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against
Carter, charging him with twenty-five counts of producing
child pornography (18 U.S.C. § 2251(a)), one count of
receiving child pornography (18 U.S.C. §
2252A(a)(2)(B)), and one count of sex trafficking (18 U.S.C.
§ 1591(a)). [R. 4 at 1-14 (Indictment).] Carter now asks
the Court to suppress all statements he made during the
interview discussed earlier. [R. 24 at 1 (Motion to
Suppress).] The Court held a suppression hearing on July 5,
2017. [See R. 26 at 1 (Scheduling Order); R. 27 at 1
(Order of July 6, 2017).] With the benefit of the testimony
elicited at that hearing, the Court turns to the merits of
Fifth Amendment says that an individual may not be
‘compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against
himself.'” United States v. Panak, 552
F.3d 462, 465 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting U.S. Const. amend. V).
In order to safeguard that right, law-enforcement officers
must inform a suspect of his rights under the Fifth
Amendment- including his right to remain silent in response
to the officers' questions, and his right to the presence
of an attorney-before conducting a custodial interrogation.
Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444 (1966). Absent
the requisite Miranda warning, “any
incriminating responses to questioning may not be introduced
into evidence in the prosecution's case in chief.”
Pennsylvania v. Muniz, 496 U.S. 582, 589 (1990).
course, a person may waive his Fifth Amendment rights,
provided he does so voluntarily and knowingly and
intelligently. Moran v. Burbine, 475 U.S. 412, 421
(1986). A waiver is voluntary if it is “the product of
a free and deliberate choice rather than intimidation,
coercion, or deception.” Berghuis v.
Thompkins, 560 U.S. 370, 382 (2010) (quoting
Moran, 475 U.S. at 421). Put differently,
“coercive police activity” is required to
establish an involuntary waiver. United States v.
Montgomery, 621 F.3d 568, 573 (6th Cir. 2010) (quoting
Colorado v. Connelly, 479 U.S. 157, 167 (1986));
see also United States v. Dunn, 269 F. App'x
567, 572 (6th Cir. 2008). A waiver is “knowing and
intelligent” when “made with a full awareness of
both the nature of the right being abandoned and the
consequences of the decision to abandon it.”
Berghuis, 560 U.S. at 382-83 (quoting
Moran, 475 U.S. at 421). To aid in that inquiry, the
Court looks to factors such as “the suspect's
‘age, experience, education, background, and
intelligence, '” Montgomery, 621 F.3d at
573 (quoting Fare v. Michael C., 442 U.S. 707, 725
(1979)), as well as “the length and nature of the
questioning, the advice [given] regarding Miranda
rights, and the use of physical punishment, such as
deprivation of food or sleep, ” United States v.
Hampton, 572 F. App'x 430, 433 (6th Cir. 2014)
(citing Murphy v. Ohio, 551 F.3d 485, 511 (6th Cir.
2009)). In evaluating both prongs, the Court “must
consider the ‘totality of the circumstances surrounding
the interrogation.'” Id. (quoting
Moran, 475 U.S. at 421).
asks the Court to suppress all statements he made to
law-enforcement officers as taken in violation of his Fifth
Amendment rights. [R. 24 at 1-2.] His motion tasks the
Government with showing that he voluntarily and knowingly and
intelligently waived his Miranda rights prior to the
interview with Investigator Robinson. [I ...