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United States v. Edrington
United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Covington
March 21, 2019
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF
CORNELIUS FABIAN EDRINGTON, DEFENDANT
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. BUNNING UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is currently before the Court upon Defendant
Edrington's Motion to Suppress Statements to Law
Enforcement Officers on May 31, 2018 (Doc. # 65). The Court
conducted an evidentiary hearing on February 13, 2019. (Doc.
# 78). Defendant was present for the hearing and was
represented by Attorney David Dudley. The Government was
represented by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony
Bracke. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Court took the
motion under submission. For the reasons set forth herein,
and because the Court concludes Defendant was not subjected
to a custodial interrogation on May 31, 2018, Defendant's
Motion to Suppress is denied.
FINDINGS OF FACT
the February 13, 2019 evidentiary hearing held, the Court
heard testimony from three witnesses. The Government called
DEA Task Force Agent (TFA) Ken Baker and U.S. Probation
Officer Jennifer Huber (Doc. # 79). Defendant testified on
his own behalf (id.). Weighing the credibility of
the witnesses, the Court makes the following factual
1. During 2018, Defendant was on federal supervised release
from a felony drug conviction he had obtained in the Southern
District of Ohio. U.S. Probation Officer (USPO) Jennifer
Huber was his supervision officer with U.S. Probation in
Cincinnati, Ohio and had been so for several years. As a
condition of his supervised release, Defendant was required
to report as directed by USPO Huber and to truthfully answer
all inquiries by the probation officer.
2. Prior to May 31, 2018, Defendant had regularly reported to
USPO Huber's office as directed by her. On those prior
occasions, USPO Huber would either meet him in the lobby or
in an interior conference room inside the probation office.
Defendant would occasionally have his infant son with him
when he reported to USPO Huber's office.
3. Because Defendant had been identified as a participant in
a conspiracy to distribute marijuana, and information
obtained by law enforcement suggested that he may have
relevant information relating to the distribution of heroin
and fentanyl in the Cincinnati area, TFA Baker asked USPO
Huber to have Defendant report to the probation office for a
meeting. TFA Baker was hoping to speak to Defendant to see if
he would be willing to cooperate regarding opioid
distribution. Because meeting with Defendant in Avondale was
impossible without possible suspects of the opioid
investigation noticing the presence of law enforcement, TFA
Baker asked USPO Huber to have him come into her office for
4. On May 30, 2018, USPO Huber sent Defendant a text message
to see if he could report to turn in monthly supervision
reports that she was missing. Because their regular method of
communication was via text message, receiving a text message
to report the following day was not unusual and raised no red
flags whatsoever. However, USPO Huber did not tell Defendant
that TFA Baker would be present to speak with him on May 31,
5. On May 31, 2018, Defendant reported to USPO Huber's
office as directed. As was the case on previous occasions,
Defendant had his infant son with him. Upon his arrival, USPO
Huber directed him to an interior conference room. Defendant
entered the room and picked his own seat, the one closest to
6. Shortly after Defendant sat down, TFA Baker and Drug
Enforcement Administration ("DEA") Special Agent
("SA") Jeff McKinley entered the room. USPO Huber
also entered the room but did not speak during the meeting.
Both officers were in plain clothes and sat down with the
Defendant. No. one blocked Defendant's access to the door
and no weapons or handcuffs were displayed by either officer.
Defendant was not restrained in any way during the brief
meeting and held his infant son during the entire interview.
7. At the inception of the meeting, TFA Baker introduced
himself and SA McKinley and specifically told Defendant he
was not under arrest and was free to go. TFA Baker asked
him if he was willing to speak to them and Defendant agreed.
However, TFA Baker did not tell him he did not have to
participate in the interview. TFA Baker told Defendant that
his name had come up in an ongoing opioid investigation and
that they wanted to speak to him about possibly obtaining his
cooperation in that investigation. TFA Baker also explained
that they arranged to speak to him at the probation officer
to preserve his privacy since the agents were concerned that
approaching him at his Avondale residence would have tipped
off neighbors and associates. TFA Baker asked if he was
willing to hear them out and Defendant agreed.
8. After Defendant agreed to listen to their proposal, the
officers discussed how the marijuana conspiracy led them to
the Defendant. Defendant briefly discussed his involvement in
that offense. At the conclusion of the interview, TFA Baker
asked Defendant to consider cooperating, gave him his card,
and requested that he let them know by June 4, 2018 one way
or the other. Defendant agreed to do so and exited the
probation office with his son.
9. The entire meeting at the probation office lasted
approximately fifteen (15) to twenty (20) minutes. No. one
told the Defendant that he was going to be indicted in
connection with the marijuana case or threatened him in any
way during the May 31 meeting. Nor was he restrained or blocked
from leaving during the meeting, and no one made any threats
or engaged in any coercive tactics with the Defendant during
the brief meeting.
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