United States District Court, D. Arizona
G. Campbell United States District Judge.
Chanthall Cabrera-Calderon has filed a motion to suppress
statements she made to Special Agents Coles and Schear of the
United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General.
Doc. 15. The government has filed a response. Doc. 17. At a
recent status conference, counsel for the parties stated that
no reply would be filed and no evidentiary hearing is
necessary. No party has requested oral argument. For the
reasons that follow, the Court will deny the motion.
worked for the United States Postal Service and was
interviewed at her place of work on June 3, 2016, by Special
Agents Coles and Schear. During the interview, Defendant
admitted to stealing certain items of mail. Defendant now
seeks to suppress her admissions and any other incriminating
evidence given during the interview.
claims that the interview violated her Sixth Amendment right
to counsel. She bases this claim on the assertion that
criminal charges had been filed against her in state court on
June 2, 2016, relating to the same conduct, and Special
Agents Coles and Schear knew about those state charges.
Specifically, Defendant contends that she was arrested on
June 2, 2016 by Scottsdale Police Department Detective
Brennan after she admitted stealing an item of mail.
Defendant contends that criminal charges were filed against
her by Detective Brennan on the same day, and that the filing
of those charges triggered her right to counsel under the
Sixth Amendment. Defendant's motion is not ambiguous. It
specifically claims that she was “criminally
charged” on June 2, 2016, and that the charges
initiated “formal proceedings” against her. Doc.
15 at 5, 7. Defendant also contends that her due process
rights were violated when Special Agents Coles and Schear
knowingly interviewed her while criminal charges were
government's response notes, the factual predicate for
Defendant's motion is simply incorrect. Defendant was not
charged with a crime on June 2, 2016. She was interviewed and
arrested by Detective Brennan on that day, but no criminal
charge was filed. The report relied on by Defendant does
state that Detective Brennan “charged her with larceny,
” but the report makes clear that Detective Brennan
“referred” her case “to the Maricopa County
State's Attorney's Office for prosecution.”
Doc. 15-1 at 5. And the actual docket of her criminal case,
which presumably was available to defense counsel, shows that
a complaint was not filed against Defendant until June 30,
2016, more than four weeks after her interview by Special
Agents Coles and Schear. Doc. 17-3.
Supreme Court has made clear that a person's Sixth
Amendment right to counsel attaches only at or after the time
that adversary judicial proceedings are initiated. United
States v. Gouveia, 467 U.S. 180, 187 (1984) (citing
cases). The Supreme Court cases establishing this rule
“‘have involved points in time at or after the
initiation of adversary judicial criminal proceedings -
whether by way of formal charge, preliminary hearing,
indictment, information, or arraignment.'”
Id. at 188 (quoting Kirby v. Illinois, 406
U.S. 682, 688-89 (1972)). The Ninth Circuit has also
recognized this rule. See United States v. Hayes,
231 F.3d 663, 669-675 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc).
record in this case clearly shows that criminal charges were
not brought against Defendant until June 30, 2016, at the
earliest. Doc. 17-3. Because charges had not been asserted
against her on June 3, 2016, Defendant's argument that
her Sixth Amendment right to counsel had attached is simply
also argues that the right to counsel can apply to government
conduct that occurs before a charge is filed. Doc. 15 at 4.
But the language quoted by defense counsel in this argument,
and attributed to the Ninth Circuit decision in
Hayes, in fact comes from the dissent in
Hayes, something not noted in Defendant's
motion. See Hayes, 231 F.3d at 680 (Reinhardt, J.,
dissenting). The dissent does cite to a statement in In
re Grand Jury Proceedings, 33 F.3d 1060, 1062 (9th Cir.
1994), suggesting that the government's deliberate
interference with an attorney-client relationship can raise
Sixth Amendment concerns even before a charge is filed, but
Defendant makes no such allegation here. She does not claim
to have had an attorney on June 3, 2016, much less that
Special Agents Coles and Schear deliberately interfered with
also argues that the June 3, 2016 interview violated her
right to due process. This is the argument:
Here, SA Coles was informed that Ms. Cabrera-Calderon was
arrested and criminal charges were brought against her.
Despite this knowledge, and knowing that Ms. Cabrera-Calderon
had the right to counsel in light of the charges against her,
SA Coles proceeded to deliberately elicit incriminating
questions from Ms. Cabrera-Calderon.
Doc. 15 at 8. The Court need not decide whether such conduct
would constitute a due process violation if it actually
occurred, because it did not occur here. Charges had not been
filed, and the agents did not elicit incriminating
information with knowledge that charges had been filed. The
factual premise for the due process argument does not exist.
IS ORDERED that Defendant's motion to suppress
(Doc. 15) is denied. Excludable delay
pursuant to U.S.C. § ...