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United States v. Perales

United States District Court, D. Idaho

June 11, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
RAY PERALES, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          David C. Nye U.S. District Court Judge.

         I. OVERVIEW

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Suppress. Dkt. 41. Ray Perales asserts that his Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated by law enforcement during a parole violation arrest, a home search and subsequent questioning by detectives. Perales seeks to suppress the evidence law enforcement collected during this allegedly unconstitutional search and seizure. The Court held oral argument on the Motion on April 30, 2018. For the reasons outlined below, the Court finds good cause to DENY the Motion.

         II. BACKGROUND

         On April 29, 2013, Ray Perales (hereinafter, Perales) was convicted of the felony crime of attempted strangulation in the Fourth Judicial District, Ada County. He served two years of a fifteen-year sentence and was released on parole on or about September 27, 2016.

         Perales' parole officer (“PO”), Darci Dickinson, received information that Perales may have violated his parole by allegedly making threats to kill or shoot another person on Facebook. After confirming that this message came from Perales' Facebook account, PO Dickinson issued an Agent's Warrant. On July 19, 2017, PO Dickinson requested the assistance of Caldwell police to arrest Perales on the Agent's Warrant for violating his parole.

         When Perales arrived at Recovery 4 Life, a treatment provider located in Caldwell, Idaho, Caldwell Police Officer, Klayton Duin and PO Dickinson were waiting for him. Officer Duin then placed Perales under arrest. PO Dickinson explained to Perales that she was arresting him for violating his parole. During a search of Perales, Officer Duin found a set of keys in Perales' pocket. When he came to the key with the Honda emblem, Duin asked Perales how he “got here.” Perales said he walked, as his house was only a couple blocks away. Officer Duin then said, “so there's not going to be a Honda out here?” Perales then admitted that he drove the Honda to Recovery 4 Life. Officer Duin asked Perales a series of questions about the car and then asked if he could search the car. Perales said, “sure.” As Officer Duin was walking outside to search the car, Perales said his “money is in there.”

         During the search of the Honda, Officer Duin found in the center console a Mexican passport belonging to Perales' co-defendant, Ricardo Renteria and approximately $13, 300 in cash. The money was in various denominations including $100, $50, $20, $10 and $5.

         Because of the discovery of the money and the passport, PO Dickinson asked Caldwell Police officers to assist her with a search of Perales' residence. Prior to searching the house, PO Dickinson told Perales that the officers were going to search his house. Perales replied, “not without a warrant.” Based on his parole condition, PO Dickinson said she already had approval from her supervisor to do a home search. Caldwell Detective Ben Heinrich asked Perales if there was anyone else in the house, and whether there would be any guns, booby-traps, or other things in the house they should be aware of before they conducted the search. Perales said no, but explained that his girlfriend (or ex-girlfriend), Vanessa Whalen, had a key to the residence and kept some personal belongings there. After Detective Heinrich left, Perales told PO Dickinson that there might be a gun at the residence because his ex-girlfriend had left a .380 handgun there, but it should be gone.

         During the search of the residence, Officer Heinrich found a loaded Hi-Point .380 pistol under a pillow on the bed, an ammunition magazine and ten rounds of ammunition.

         After Perales' arrest on the Agent's Warrant, the subsequent search of the Honda and Perales' home, Officer Duin called agents with the Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”). Special Agents Michael Williams and Coy Bruner responded to the Caldwell Police Department's request to interview Perales, which was audio recorded. When the DEA agents first walked in, Perales said he had nothing to say and that he would rather speak to an attorney. Agent Williams explained that Perales was part of a drug investigation and they were offering him a chance to help himself. Perales was provided with a written Miranda form that explained his rights. He was asked to read his rights out loud and then sign the Miranda form. After Perales signed the form, he made several comments and then advised that he wanted to speak with his attorney. The interview then ended.

         On August 7, 2017, Agents Williams and Bruner submitted an Affidavit in support of a search warrant to search a “stash house” in Homedale, Idaho. The Government claims that the Affidavit includes information that Williams had received regarding Perales' distribution of methamphetamine. The Affidavit outlines three different persons that provided information about Perales' drug sales. A confidential source (“CS”), a cooperating defendant (“CD1”), and field agents who observed a vehicle, registered to Perales, parked at the “stash house.”

         Investigators executed the warrant on August 9, 2017. During the search, they found co-defendant Renteria and another individual, Matias Gil, at the stash house. They also found approximately five pounds of methamphetamine, $18, 231 in cash, and a digital scale.

         Perales has been charged with one count of Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance and One Count of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm. Perales seeks to suppress all the statements he made to law enforcement and parole officers, the money and passport that Officer Duin found during the search of the Honda, the firearm, magazine and ammunition found during the apartment search, and the drugs and money discovered at the Homedale trailer.

         III. DISCUSSION

         1. Did Officer Duin violate Perales' Fifth Amendment rights when he was questioned in the absence of Miranda warnings?

         a. Legal Standard

         Miranda warnings are given to an individual who is subjected to custodial police interrogation to assure that the individual is afforded the privilege under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution to not incriminate himself. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444 (1966). In the absence of Miran ...


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