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United States v. Walker

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Albany Division

September 8, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
ELBERT WALKER, JR., DARRYL BURK, and SHIRLEY DENISE BURK, Defendants.

ORDER

W. LOUIS SANDS, District Judge.

Before the Court are several motions from Defendants. Defendant Elbert Walker has filed a Motion to Suppress Evidence Seized. (Doc. 93.) Defendant Darryl Burk has filed a Motion to Suppress Statements (Doc. 92) and a Motion to Dismiss Indictment for Violation of Statute of Limitations (Doc. 96). Each of the Defendants has filed a Motion for a Pretrial James Hearing. (Docs. 91, 95, 98.) Based upon the reasons and the findings set forth below, Defendants' Motions are DENIED.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Defendant Walker filed a Motion to Suppress Evidence (Doc. 93) on September 9, 2013. The Government filed a response on September 20, 2013 (Doc. 103). On September 9, 2013 Defendants Walker and Darryl Burk, filed Motions in Limine for a Pretrial James Hearing (Docs. 91, 95) and on September 16, 2013 Defendant Shirley Denise Burk filed her Motion for a Pretrial James Hearing (Doc. 98). The Government filed a response to each on September 20, 2014. On September 9, 2013 Darryl Burk also filed a Motion to Suppress Statements (Doc. 92) and a Motion to Dismiss Indictment for Violation of Statute of Limitations (Doc. 96). The Government filed responses to each on September 30, 2013.

On August 27, 2014 the Court held a hearing on the above-listed motions. At the hearing, the Court heard testimony and arguments as to Darryl Burk's Motion to Suppress. The Parties agreed to forego oral argument on Walker's Motion to Suppress, the Motions for a Pretrial James Hearing, and Darryl Burk's Motion to Dismiss Indictment.

DISCUSSION

I. Defendant Walker's Motion to Suppress Evidence Seized

Defendant Walker filed a Motion to Suppress Evidence (Doc. 93.) The Fourth Amendment protects "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." U.S. Const. amend. IV. Evidence seized as the result of an illegal search may not be used by the government in a subsequent criminal prosecution. Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154, 171 (1978). The exclusionary rule, as it is known, is "a judicially created remedy designed to safeguard Fourth Amendment rights generally through its deterrent effect." United States v. Calandra, 414 U.S. 338, 348 (1974).

Defendant Walker's Motion seeks to suppress evidence seized during a search that allegedly occurred on June 4, 2012, the date of his arrest.[1] (Docs. 93 at 1; 103 at 1.) However, Defendant Walker's Motion does not assert that any evidence which might be excluded was actually seized during the alleged search of his home. ( See Doc. 93.) Further, at the August 27, 2014 hearing Defendant Walker stipulated that no evidence was seized during the alleged search. Since there was no evidence seized during the alleged search, Defendant Walker's Motion to Suppress (Doc. 93) is DENIED as moot.

II. Defendant Darryl Burk's Motion to Suppress Statements

Defendant Darryl Burk moved to suppress statements allegedly made on four separate occasions that he further alleges were obtained in violation of his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. (Doc. 92 at 1.) Defendant D. Burk's Motion to Suppress only discusses two occasions on which he made statements to law enforcement officials. ( Id. at 1-2.) Further, at the August 27, 2014 hearing, Defendant D. Burk's counsel noted that the Government only intends to introduce two statements made by Burk. Given that Defendant D. Burk has alleged no facts about two of the four statements, the Court will consider the Motion to Suppress as encompassing only the two statements discussed therein, specifically the statements made on June 21, 2002 at the Grady County Sheriff's Office and on February 15, 2007 at Defendant's residence.

At the August 27, 2014 hearing the Government identified four witnesses, Special Agents Stanley Burruss, Eric Van Ellison, and Bahan Rich and Officer Don Allen. The Government called Special Agents Van Ellison and Buruss and Officer Allen to testify, and Defendant D. Burk's counsel was given an opportunity to cross-examine each witness. The Government did not call Special Agent Rich because Defendant D. Burk stipulated that Rich's testimony would be substantially similar to that of the other witnesses'. Defendant, acknowledging his right to testify, chose not to testify at the hearing.

A. Factual Findings

On June 21, 2002 Defendant D. Burk was approached by United States Secret Service Special Agent Stanley Burruss and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Special Agent Bahan Rich at his place of employment, a salvage yard. The Agents explained that they were conducting an investigation and invited Defendant to follow them to a more appropriate place to talk, specifically the Grady County Sheriff's Department. In a separate car, Defendant followed the Agents to the Grady County Sheriff's Department. The Agents questioned Defendant for less than thirty minutes about a rubber stamp that was purchased by someone of Defendant's name. Defendant was not read his Miranda rights or ...


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