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United States v. Hayes

United States District Court, N.D. California

October 22, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
REUBEN EARL HAYES, Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENSE MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 2 TO SUPPRESS DEFENDANT'S STATEMENTS

JAMES DONATO, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Defendant Reuben Hayes is charged with the illegal possession of firearms and drugs. He moves to suppress certain statements made during a traffic stop by the Martinez Police Department on October 19, 2012. Dkt. No. 77. An evidentiary hearing was held on October 15, 2014 where Mr. Hayes and Martinez Police Officers Jeffrey Boyce and Dirk Miller testified. Dkt. No. 129. The Court grants the motion.

BACKGROUND

At about 7:45 a.m. on October 19, 2012, Officer Boyce and Officer Miller were on patrol in Martinez. Dkt. No. 88, Ex. 1. The officers pulled over a Gold Saturn driving westbound on C Street for driving without a rear license plate. Id. The Saturn pulled into the entrance of a parking lot off C street, next to the Contra Costa County Regional Medical Center ("CCRMC"). Id. According to testimony presented at the hearing, Boyce had been a volunteer officer for about one month and Miller was his Field Training Officer.

Boyce spoke to the driver, Ms. Shavonda Miles, and determined that she was driving on a suspended license. Dkt. No. 88, Ex. 1. The officer also obtained identification from the rear passenger, Ms. Cristy Jones, and determined she was on probation with a search and seizure clause. Id. After exiting the vehicle, marijuana fell out of Jones's purse, so she was arrested and placed in the back of Boyce's patrol car. Id. Because Miles was late for work at CCRMC, the officers issued her a citation for driving on a suspended license and allowed her to walk to the medical center. Id. The officers decided to impound the Saturn and have it towed to a secure location. Id.

Miller approached Hayes, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, and asked for his identification. Dkt. No. 89, Ex. 2. At the hearing, Miller said Hayes gave his California Identification card to Miller, who in turn handed it to Boyce to run through the system for warrants and other checks. The incident reports written by Boyce and Miller near the time of the car stop do not mention this. Dkt. Nos. 88, Ex. 1; 89, Ex. 2.

After being asked whether he had any marijuana or anything illegal on his person, Hayes handed Miller a small amount of marijuana. Dkt. No. 89, Ex. 2. According to Miller's police report, Hayes produced the marijuana from inside the car door and from his pocket. Id. The citation Miller later wrote, however, indicated that Hayes gave him both items from inside the car door.

Hayes was removed from the car and handcuffed. Dkt. No. 89, Ex. 2. Miller was then advised by dispatch that Hayes was on probation and non-revocable parole. Id. A third officer, Officer Busciglio, arrived on scene in a separate police car. Id. Miller testified that he placed Hayes in the back of Busciglio's patrol car, but he did not mention that or Busciglio's arrival in his report. Id. Boyce and Hayes testified that Hayes was instead placed on a curb by the Saturn, not in Busciglio's car.

Miller eventually unhandcuffed Hayes and had him sign a citation for a minor marijuana violation. Dkt. No. 89, Ex. 2. Miller claims that he then gave Hayes his identification and the citation, and told him he was free to leave but could wait for the tow slip for the Saturn if he wished. Id. Hayes testified emphatically that he did not receive either the citation or his identification card, and that he was never told that he was free to leave. Hayes agrees, however, that he was uncuffed and signed the citation with Miller. Dkt. No. 133.

The parties dispute what happened after Hayes signed the citation. Hayes testified that directly after signing the citation, Miller joined Boyce at the trunk and then quickly returned to re-handcuff Hayes. But according to Miller, Hayes was unhandcuffed and sat against a fence near the passenger side of the Saturn to wait for the tow slip while Boyce conducted an inventory search of the Saturn's trunk. Dkt. No. 89, Ex. 2.

The officers' recollections and reports differ on what happened during the trunk search. At the hearing, Miller testified that he stood fifteen feet from Hayes and five feet from Boyce during the trunk search. But his incident report states that he was close enough to the trunk that he personally found marijuana in it. Dkt. No. 89, Ex. 2. Boyce, however, testified that Miller was closer to Hayes during the search. Boyce's testimony and report state that Boyce conducted the trunk search alone. Dkt. No. 88, Ex. 1. Boyce was very clear in testifying at the hearing that he alone was at the trunk and he alone uncovered its contents.

Boyce testified that, after finding marijuana and a gun in the trunk, he held the gun up to show Hayes and asked him three questions. The officers' testimony and reports again conflict about the order and substance of the questions asked. According to Boyce's report, he first asked whether the drugs and gun belonged to Hayes, and Hayes said no. Dkt. No. 88, Ex. 1. There is no mention of this question in Miller's report. Dkt. No. 89, Ex. 2. Boyce also asked whether the clothing in the trunk belonged to Hayes, and Hayes said yes. Dkt. Nos. 88, Ex. 1; 89, Ex. 2. Boyce stated that Hayes then asked for a sweater from the bag of clothing, but, again, there is no mention of this in Miller's report. Dkt. No. 89, Ex. 2. Boyce also asked why Hayes's clothing was in the same bag as the drugs and gun, and Hayes said he did not know. Dkt. Nos. 88, Ex. 1; 89, Ex. 2.

The parties dispute whether Hayes was handcuffed when Boyce questioned him. Hayes testified that Boyce and Miller were at the trunk of the car when Miller came back to where Hayes was standing near the front of the car and handcuffed him for a second time - all before either officer asked him any questions about the items in the trunk. Hayes testified that Miller then walked him by the trunk of the car, where Boyce questioned him. The officers testified that Hayes was unhandcuffed and standing next to a fence on the passenger side of the Saturn when the questioning took place. ...


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