United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY ON MOTION TO SUPPRESS
William T. Lawrence, Judge
cause is before the Court on Defendant Ricky Dean Clark's
Motion to Suppress (Dkt. No. 35). Specifically, Clark seeks to
suppress the following: (1) statements he made on June 13,
2016; and (2) evidence obtained as a result of the
statements. The Court held a hearing on the motion on March
29, 2018. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure
12(d), the Court now states its findings and conclusions. For
the reasons explained herein, Clark's Motion to Suppress
Evidence is DENIED.
13, 2016, Detective Kurt Spivey and Detective Ginger Marshall
went to Clark's home to question Clark regarding tips
that they had received relating to illegal online activities
with children that Clark was allegedly engaged
The detectives did not have an arrest warrant for Clark or a
search warrant for Clark's home or any of his
mother, Bonnie, answered the door and told the officers that
Clark was home but sleeping. Clark's roommate was also
inside the residence. Bonnie woke Clark up, and Bonnie and
Clark invited the detectives inside. The detectives told
Clark that the matter they wanted to discuss was sensitive
and asked if he wanted to speak somewhere else or have his
mother present, and Clark indicated that he would speak with
the detectives in the presence of his mother.
detectives then began to question Clark about his online
activities, including his screen name and the social media
platforms he used. While detectives were questioning Clark,
Clark stated that he thought he needed a lawyer and that he
wanted an attorney to talk to. He also twice said that he did
not want to incriminate himself. The detectives continued
questioning Clark. When Spivey asked Clark whether images of
girls were still on his phone, Clark acknowledged that some
images that he had received from underage girls remained on
his phone in the deleted files. After the detectives told
Clark that they would apply for a search warrant for the
house and the phone if Clark did not agree to let them see
the phone, Clark stood up and walked to the bedroom,
indicating that he would hand over the phone. Spivey followed
the bedroom, Clark produced one phone. Spivey noticed that
Clark had walked past another phone on his way to pick up the
phone that was on the floor. Spivey believed that the second
phone was connected to a computer. When Spivey asked Clark
about the second phone, Clark picked that phone up and
unplugged it. As Spivey reached for that phone, Clark pulled
the phone away and began attempting to destroy it. Spivey
tried to grab the phone, but Clark resisted. Clark broke the
phone into multiple pieces. Clark did not request that the
detectives leave the residence until this physical
confrontation began. Officers then placed Clark under arrest.
Motion to Suppress Statement and Evidence, Clark argues that
the statements he made were obtained in violation of his
Fifth Amendment right to counsel and right against
self-incrimination. Specifically, Clark asserts that his
rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436
(1966), were violated because detectives continued to
question him after he indicated that he wanted an attorney
and that he no longer wanted to talk.
applies only when an individual is subject to custodial
interrogation. See, e.g., California v.
Beheler, 463 U.S. 1121 (1983) (per curiam); United
States v. Shlater, 85 F.3d 1251, 1256 (7th Cir. 1996).
An individual is considered to be in custody when his
movement is restrained to the degree comparable to a formal
arrest. United States v. Yusuff, 96 F.3d 982, 987
(7th Cir. 1996). “[T]he initial determination of
custody depends on the objective circumstances of the
interrogation, not on the subjective views harbored by either
the interrogating officers or the person being
questioned.” United States v. James, 113 F.3d
721, 726 (7th Cir. 1997) (quoting Stansbury v.
California, 511 U.S. 318, 323 (1994)).
determining whether a reasonable person in the suspect's
shoes would have felt free to leave, the Court considers
“all of the circumstances surrounding the
interrogation.” Howes v. Fields, 565 U.S. 499,
509 (2012) (citation omitted and internal quotation marks
omitted). Relevant factors include the location of the
questioning, its duration, statements made during the
interrogation, the presence or absence of physical restraints
during the questioning, and the release of the interviewee at
the end of questioning. Id.; see also United
States v. Ambrose, 668 F.3d 943, 956 (7th Cir. 2012) (in
determining whether a person is in custody, a court should
consider, among other things, whether the encounter occurred
in a public place, whether the suspect consented to speak
with officers, whether the officers informed the suspect that
he was not under arrest, whether the interviewee was moved to
another area, whether there was a threatening presence of
several officers and a display of weapons or physical force,
whether the officers deprived the suspect of documents needed
to depart and whether the officers' tone was such that
their requests were likely to be obeyed).
the questioning took place in Clark's home. Clark and his
mother invited the detectives in. Clark was given the option
to have a private conversation with the detectives or to
speak with them in front of his mother, and he made the
decision to have his mother present. Clark's roommate was
also in the home. Only two detectives questioned Clark.
Neither wore a uniform, and their guns were not visible.
Neither detective took handcuffs into the residence, and
Clark was not physically restrained during the questioning.
The interview lasted well under an hour. The tone of the
questioning never became hostile or combative.
the Court finds that the circumstances surrounding the
interrogation strongly support a finding that Clark was not
in custody. As such, his Miranda rights had not
attached, and the statements were not obtained in violation
of his Fifth Amendment rights.
also argues that the evidence seized should be suppressed.
Only two items-the cell phones-were seized prior to the
signing of the warrant. Clark turned over one cell phone to
detectives, and detectives seized the other cell phone after
Clark attempted to destroy it. The Court finds that the
exigent circumstances exception to the warrant requirement
applied to the seizure of the phone that Clark was attempting
to destroy. See Missouri v. McNeely,569 U.S. 141,
149 (2013) (“[W]e have also recognized that in some
circumstances law enforcement officers may conduct a ...