United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Covington
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DAVID L. BUNNING, UNITED STATES DISTRICT
matter is currently before the Court upon Defendant Johnny L.
Shelton's Motion to Suppress the recorded statement he
made to law enforcement officers during an interview
conducted on November 2, 2016. (Doc. # 90). The Court
conducted an evidentiary hearing on September 28, 2017. (Doc.
# 95). Defendant was present for the hearing and was
represented by Attorney Dennis Alerding. Plaintiff was
represented by Assistant United States Attorney Elaine
Leonard. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Court took the
Motion under submission. The Motion is fully briefed (Docs. #
90, 92, and 125), and is ripe for the Court's review. For
the reasons set forth herein, Defendant's Motion to
Supress is denied.
Motion, Defendant moves the Court to suppress the recorded
statement he made to law enforcement officers during an
interview at the Boone County Detention Center on November 2,
2016. (Doc. # 90). More specifically, Defendant asserts that
the statement should be suppressed because the officers
threatened him with the prosecution of his wife, who was
eventually charged in Boone County Circuit Court. (Doc. #
125). The Defendant also claims that officers were unduly
coercive when they informed him that he would be facing a
life sentence. Id.
response to Defendant's Motion, the Government argues
that Defendant's Motion is “legally insufficient,
factually unsupported, and borderline frivolous.” (Doc.
# 92 at 1). The Government argues that despite
Defendant's allegation, his statement was voluntarily
given. (Doc. # 92 at 2). The Government asserts that there is
no evidence of trickery, deceit, misrepresentations,
promises, or threats by the interviewing agents. Id.
Instead, the Government argues that “the agents were
nothing but candid with the Defendant-about their
investigation, the evidence that implicated him, and the
potential penalties he faced.” Id.
FINDINGS OF FACT
the evidentiary hearing held on September 28, 2017, the Court
heard the testimony from two witnesses. The Government called
Boone County Detective Dale Shannon Taylor and Defendant
testified on his own behalf. Weighing the credibility of the
witnesses, and considering the exhibits admitted during the
hearing, the Court makes the following factual findings:
1. Defendant Johnny Shelton was interviewed by Boone County
Detectives Dale Shannon Taylor and Mark Stidham in the video
arraignment room at the Boone County Detention Center on
November 2, 2016.
2. Although Defendant was in custody at the time of the
interview, he was not handcuffed during the interview.
3. Defendant was advised of his Miranda rights at
the beginning of the interview, affirmatively stated that he
understood those rights, and agreed to waive those rights by
speaking with the Detectives.
4. Defendant was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol
at the time of the interview and Defendant was capable of
comprehending the Detectives' questions.
5. Defendant was aware that the interview was being recorded,
given that the tape recorder was sitting on top of table in
6. Near the end of the interview that lasted approximately
one hour and twenty minutes, Detective Stidham informed the
Defendant that if he failed to tell the truth, the scope of
the investigation could be expanded to include the
Defendant's family members.
7. Defendant was also told that the Detectives already had
evidence, including recorded jail phone calls and the
Defendant's own admission earlier in the interview, that
his wife had smuggled ...