Law School Case Brief
United States v. Carter - 910 F.2d 1524 (7th Cir. 1990)
Time spent in state custody does not count toward the six-hour limitation prescribed in 18 U.S.C.S. § 3501(c) unless a working arrangement between federal agents and state or local officials can be clearly shown. The defendant has the burden of showing that state custody was "designingly utilized" by state and federal officials to circumvent Fed. R. Crim. P. 5(a).
On two separate days, Acme Continental Credit Union was robbed in a similar manner - the robber gained access to the area behind the teller counter through an unlocked security door separating that area from the lobby. During the second robbery, a man was able to follow the robber and saw the latter get into a car; the witness was able to note the car’s license number. A trace on the license number established that the car belonged to defendant Steven Carter. It was further established that Carter had purchased the car with cash a few days after the first robbery. Both the Chicago Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted investigations into the robberies. Because Carter was on parole from a prior conviction, he was required to report to his parole officer on February 16, 1989. On the same date, the Chicago police arrested Carter at the parole office, and was subsequently, brought to the police station about an hour after his arrest at the parole office. Upon arriving at the station, Carter was questioned briefly by Chicago Police Detective Steve Glynn and denied any involvement in either robbery. Thereafter, Glynn and the Assistant State Attorney Kathryn Gallanis question Carter and had told the latter that he had been identified, after which, Carter confessed to both robberies. Carter read through written statements that Gallanis had prepared, made some corrections, and then signed them. Approximately nine hours elapsed between Carter’s arrest and his decision to confess. Prior to trial, Carter filed a motion to suppress the confessions on the ground that they were involuntary because of the length of time he had been held in custody before being brought to a magistrate, thereby violating his rights under McNabb v. United States. Carter also argued that the confessions were inadmissible because he was coerced by the threat that his fiancé, Lashan Riggins, who was with him during his arrest, would be charged with robbery if he did not confess. The district court denied defendant's motion to suppress the confessions. It ruled that the delay in bringing defendant before a magistrate was a factor to be considered in determining the voluntariness of the confessions, but that it was not decisive for two reasons. First, the delay was justified by the need to complete the investigation: to determine whether the witnesses could make an identification, and, if so, to allow a period for interrogation of defendant. Second, assuming the delay was unnecessary, it had no measurable influence on defendant's decision to make the statements. As regards the fate of Riggins, the court found that in Riggins's initial contact with Glynn, she was informed that a woman may have been involved in the second robbery, but that the statement was offered as information, not as a threat, and that it was made before Glynn reached his conclusion that Riggins was not involved. Carter was thereafter convicted of two counts of robbing a credit union; he consequently appealed the convictions and the sentences.
Were Carter’s confessions inadmissible because: (i) they were involuntarily made after he was in custody for more than six hours, but before his presentment to a magistrate, in violation of his rights under McNabb v. United States; and, (ii) because they were induced by threats to have his fiancé charged if he did not cooperate?
In McNabb v. United States and Mallory v. United States, it was ruled that once a defendant is arrested, he must be taken before a judicial officer without unnecessary delay for the purpose of having him advised of his rights and for a prompt determination of probable cause, and that failure to do so would result in suppression of any statements the defendant made while in custody. In an effort to limit the effect of the McNabb-Mallory rule, Congress enacted 18 U.S.C. § 3501. Subsection (a) provides that confessions given voluntarily are admissible, and subsection (b) lists several factors that are to be considered in determining voluntariness, including length of time in custody before presentment. Subsection (c) provides that delay in presentment alone shall not render inadmissible a confession made within six hours of arrest. In order to be appreciated, it must be determined whether the protections afforded by § 3501(c) or the McNabb-Mallory rule are available. Time spent in state custody does not count toward the six-hour limitation prescribed in § 3501(c) unless a working arrangement between federal agents and state or local officials can be "clearly shown." In the case at bar, the appellate court established that FBI agent Doorley was working in conjunction with the Chicago police on the robbery investigation and knew that Carter would be arrested at the parole office on February 16, 1989. Although it is clear from the record that the federal authorities were working with the Chicago police on the robbery investigation, Carter adduced no facts to suggest that the federal and local authorities had agreed to use local custody in order to circumvent the presentment requirements of § 3501(c) and McNabb-Mallory. Carter did not show that Doorley refrained from participating in the arrest and subsequent interrogation so that a confession could be obtained without having to comply with federal presentment requirements. In the absence of a showing of this kind of collusion, § 3501(c) and McNabb-Mallory do not apply. As to Carter’s second contention that his confessions were induced by the threats made to his fiancé, the district court’s actual findings were not clearly erroneous. Carter could produce only his own testimony to support his allegations that the detective threatened to charge his fiancé if Carter did not confess. The trial judge did not believe defendant; rather, he accepted the detective's testimony that no such threats were made. The sentencing judge was under no obligation to examine the facts associated with a predicate offense and, therefore, the district judge did not commit reversible error by not considering the circumstances surrounding defendant's two prior robbery convictions.
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