Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Mansfield

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Rome Division

November 14, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
MICHAEL MANSFIELD, Defendant.

NON-FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

WALTER E. JOHNSON, Magistrate judge.

This matter is before the Court on defendant Michael Mansfield's Motion to Suppress Statements [15]. On August 13, 2014, the Court conducted an evidentiary hearing [18] regarding the instant Motion, which has been transcribed [19]. The parties have briefed the matter. (See Def.'s Post-Hr'g Br. Supp. Mot. Suppress [20] ("Def.'s Br."); Gov't Resp. [22].) On the basis of the testimony and documentary evidence produced at that hearing and the briefs of counsel, the undersigned REPORTS that Mr. Mansfield waived his Sixth Amendment right to counsel and therefore RECOMMENDS that defendant's Motion to Suppress Statements be DENIED.

I. RELEVANT FACTS

Federal agents first encountered defendant Mansfield on February 15, 2014, while executing a search warrant at a Rome, Georgia residence. (Tr. 6, 21-22.) The search warrant related to an investigation of crimes allegedly committed by other occupants of the home (i.e., possession of explosives) which are unrelated to the child pornography charge in this case. (Id. at 6, 31-32.) During the search, agents seized defendant's computer. (Id. at 7-8.)

Because of his possible connection to the other crime under investigation, an Assistant United States Attorney sent a target letter to Mr. Mansfield on February 24, 2014. (See Def.'s Ex. 1, "Re: Conspiracy to Possess Explosive Devices"; see also Tr. 22-23, 30.) In response to that target letter, Mr. Mansfield immediately sought counsel. The undersigned appointed William Sparks, Esq. to represent Mr. Mansfield on February 25, 2014. (See Def.'s Ex. 2, CJA 20 Appointment Order.)[1] At that time, the government did not suspect that Mr. Mansfield was in possession of child pornography, and the appointment of counsel did not relate to that issue. (Tr. 6-7, 31-32, 36.) Mr. Mansfield has never been charged with the crime referenced in the target letter. (Id. at 7, 35-36.)

On or about March 7, 2014, the government analyzed the hard drive of Mr. Mansfield's computer and reportedly discovered some evidence of child pornography. (Tr. 7-8, 36.) In April 2014, the government sought and obtained a search warrant for his computer. (Id. at 8.) The subsequent search reportedly located images constituting child pornography. (Id.) The grand jury returned the instant Indictment [3] on May 29, 2014. (Tr. 8.)

In early June 2014, Agent Childers arranged for the return of a large number of computers and electronic devices that had been seized in the search on February 15, 2014, to the occupants of the aforementioned residence. (Tr. 9, 23, 32.) In so doing, Agent Childers spoke to Natasha Peace, an occupant of that residence, and asked whether she had contact information for Mr. Mansfield. (Id. at 23-24, 33.) Agent Childers was interested in obtaining that information because defendant had been indicted on the child pornography charge and was the subject of an arrest warrant. (Id. at 25, 32-33.) Ms. Peace responded that she had an email address for Mr. Mansfield, which was the same one found on his computer. (Id. at 33.)

Apparently after learning that the government had returned computers to other occupants of the residence, Mr. Mansfield contacted Sylvia Payne of the FBI's Asset Forfeiture Division to inquire about the return of his computer. (Tr. 9, 24, 33-34.) Ms. Payne notified Agent Childers of Mr. Mansfield's overture. (Id. at 24.) Agent Childers then sent an email to Mr. Mansfield, asking for his contact information in the event that the FBI elected to return his computer. (Id. at 9.)

Agent Childers subsequently arranged a meeting with Mr. Mansfield at the FBI's office in Austin, Texas, the city where defendant was then residing. (Tr. 9-10, 25, 34.) He did not inform Mr. Mansfield of the pending Indictment. (Id. at 25.) Agent Childers was aware that an Assistant United States Attorney had been in touch with Mr. Mansfield's attorney (Mr. Sparks) in an effort to set up a meeting with defendant. (Id.)

Mr. Mansfield, Agent Childers, and Task Force Officer Mark Mayton met on June 11, 2014, in an interview room at the Austin FBI office. (Tr. 10-11, 13.) At the outset of that meeting, Agent Childers advised Mr. Mansfield of his Miranda rights using an FBI "advice of rights" form. (Id. at 11; see also Gov't Ex. 1.) Agent Childers filled in the blanks at the top of the form, explained the rights listed thereon to Mr. Mansfield, and then allowed him to read those rights for himself. (Tr. 12.) Agent Childers then read aloud the form's consent statement, asked Mr. Mansfield to read it, and asked that he sign the form if he agreed to speak with the agents. (Id.) Mr. Mansfield reviewed the form, asked no questions, and signed it. (Id.) At no point did Mr. Mansfield invoke his right to remain silent or his right to an attorney. (Id. at 17.)[2]

At the beginning of the interview, Agent Childers discussed the other investigation with Mr. Mansfield; they did not discuss child pornography. (Tr. 29.)[3] Agent Childers did not remind Mr. Mansfield that an attorney had been appointed to represent him in that other investigation. (Id. at 29-30.) Agent Childers was also aware that Mr. Mansfield's counsel had requested to be notified if agents located his client. (Id. at 30.) However, Agent Childers did not feel that it was appropriate to contact Mr. Sparks to request the right to talk to Mr. Mansfield. (Id.) Agent Childers considered the instant case and the other investigation unrelated, although he concedes that this case arose out of the seizure and search of defendant's computer in the other investigation. (Id. at 29-30.)

About halfway through the two and one-half hour interview, agents advised defendant that child pornography had been found on his computer. (Tr. 18-19, 28.) At the conclusion of the interview, agents placed the defendant under arrest for possession of child pornography. (Id. at 26.)

II. THE INDICTMENT

On May 29, 2014, the grand jury returned a one-count Indictment against defendant, alleging that, beginning on a date unknown but at least by February 15, 2014, in the Northern District of Georgia, Mr. Mansfield did knowingly possess at least one matter, including a computer, which contained one or more visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, as defined in 18 U.S.C. ยง 2256(2), said depictions (a) having been produced using minors engaging in sexually-explicit conduct, (b) involving at least one prepubescent minor and at least one minor who had not attained twelve years of age, and (c) having been ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.