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United States v. Pearson

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

April 1, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Jemayl J. Pearson, Jr., Defendant.

          ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         Presently pending before the Court is Defendant Jemayl Pearson, Jr.' s Motion to Suppress. [Filing No. 29.] Mr. Pearson has been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), [Filing No. 1], and is awaiting trial in this matter, [Filing No. 34]. He seeks to suppress: (1) evidence recovered after what he contends was an illegal search and seizure in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights, and (2) admissions and statements he made during an interrogation. For the reasons detailed herein, Mr. Pearson's Motion is DENIED because the Court concludes there have been no constitutional violations.

         I.

         Background

          On June 12, 2018, Mr. Pearson signed a contract (the “Contract”) with Marion County Community Corrections, (“MCCC”) in order to participate in an electronic monitoring program. [Filing No. 29-1 at 1-4.] The Contract provided, in relevant part, as follows:

You waive your right against search and seizure, and shall permit MCCC staff, or any law enforcement officer acting on a MCCC's behalf, to search your person, residence, motor vehicle, or any location where your personal property may be found, to insure compliance with the requirements of community corrections.
You must not use, purchase or possess weapons, firearms, or ammunition. Any weapons, firearms, or ammunition found in the residence where you reside will be confiscated and will result in the immediate filing of a Notice of Violation with the Court. There are to be no weapons in the residence regardless if any residents have a valid weapon permit.

[Filing No. 29-1 at 1.]

         As part of the intake process, Mr. Pearson was required to watch a video of an MCCC employee reading the Contract out loud. [Filing No. 29-2 at 1.] The wording of the Contract varied slightly from the words read in the intake video, which stated as follows:

You must permit MCC (sic) staff and/or law enforcement to enter the residence in which you are residing and to conduct a search of the residence at any time with no prior notice. You must permit a search of your person or property by MCCC staff and/or law enforcement based on a reasonable suspicion that a violation of any part of this Contract has occurred.

[Filing No. 36, Ex. 6 at 2:01-2:24.]

         In late June and early July 2018, Mr. Pearson's MCCC case manager, Doug Langille, gave Mr. Pearson two verbal warnings after evidence showed that Mr. Pearson had traveled to an unauthorized location. [Filing No. 35-1 at 2-3.] On July 10, 2018, MCCC law enforcement liaison Jill Jones requested a compliance check of Mr. Pearson's residence with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (“IMPD”), which occurred nine days later.[1] [Filing No. 35-1 at 3.]

         Ms. Jones conducted the compliance check of Mr. Pearson's residence with IMPD Sergeant Richard Stratman, and Officers Christopher Chapman, Scott Nickels, and Jesus Soria. [Filing No. 29-2 at 1.] During the compliance check, Officer Soria looked underneath the couch and found a pair of sweatpants wrapped around a rifle. [Filing No. 29-2 at 2.] Officer Soria then placed Mr. Pearson in handcuffs and Officer Nickels began recording statements from Mr. Pearson, his mother Lakenya Pearson, and another individual who was present at the scene. [Filing No. 29-2 at 2.] Officer Nickels read Mr. Pearson his Miranda rights and then began questioning him. [Filing No. 29-2 at 2; Filing No. 35-4 at 1.]

         In response to Officer Nickels' questions, Mr. Pearson initially stated that he did not know anything about the rifle under the couch and that it probably belonged to his mother's boyfriend. [Filing No. 35-4 at 2.] Officer Nickels then questioned Ms. Pearson, who stated that the rifle was not hers, that she did not have a boyfriend, and that the only other resident at the address was her son. [Filing No. 35-4 at 4.] Ms. Pearson eventually revealed that she had been convicted of a felony twelve years ago. [Filing No. 35-4 at 7.] Officer Nickels then said to Mr. Pearson

So, the truth is, even if it's 12 years, mom is still in the same situation you are. . . . She's considered a felon too. You know what you're saying there? So someone, you or anybody else, brings a gun into her house, she could potentially be charged with that. You understand that, right? . . . . It doesn't matter if it's been 12 years or 30 years. Do you want to rethink what you're telling me? Are you doing the right thing? . . . Jamayl, do you want to rethink what you're telling me and do the right thing?

[Filing No. 35-4 at 7.] The questioning continued as follows (with “SN” being Officer Nickels, “JP” being Mr. Pearson, and “LP” being Ms. Pearson):

SN: I'm just, just so we're clear though, you understand the position you're putting your mother in, right? You understand that?
JP: How am I putting her in a position?
LP: Because I'm going to go to fucking jail?
SN: She's a serious. She's a serious violent felon j ust like you are, LP: And lose everything I got going on.
SN: She's a serious violent felon just like you are with a dealing case conviction. That qualifies her as a serious violent felon, Any firearm in her residence, she could potentially go to prison for. You're okay with that?
JP: Nah, I ain't.
SN: So do you want to talk me about this or no? Do you want to tell me ...

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