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United States v. Morgan

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

July 15, 2013

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Shirley Anne Morgan, Defendant-Appellant.

Argued and Submitted March 12, 2013

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Arizona D.C. No. 4:10-cr-02880-JGZ-CRP-1 Jennifer G. Zipps, District Judge, Presiding

Jon M. Sands, Federal Public Defender; Juan L. Rocha (argued), Assistant Federal Public Defender; and Brian I. Rademacher, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Tucson, Arizona, for Defendant-Appellant.

John S. Leonardo, United States Attorney; Christina M. Cabanillas, Appellate Chief; and Robert L. Miskell (argued), Assistant United States Attorney, Tucson, Arizona, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Before: Raymond C. Fisher, Consuelo M. Callahan, and Jacqueline H. Nguyen, Circuit Judges.

SUMMARY [*]

Criminal Law

Affirming the denial of a motion to suppress post-arrest statements, the panel held that a Border Patrol agent's reading of an I-214 Form, which is normally attendant to arrest and custody, did not constitute a re-initiation of interrogation in violation of Miranda v. Arizona, where the agent made no effort to question the defendant or secure a waiver of her rights.

The panel also held that the combination of circumstances – re-advising the defendant of her Miranda rights, processing drugs seized from her vehicle in her presence, and taking her photograph standing behind the seized drugs – did not constitute the "functional equivalent" of interrogation.

AMENDED OPINION

NGUYEN, Circuit Judge

Shirley Anne Morgan ("Morgan") appeals her conviction for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 (count one) and possession with intent to distribute marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(vii) (count 2). Morgan claims that the district court erred in refusing to suppress post-arrest statements allegedly obtained in violation of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). Specifically, Morgan argues that after she had invoked her right to counsel, Border Patrol agent Charles Armour ("Armour") improperly re-initiated interrogation by re-reading the Miranda warnings to her at the detention facility. Alternatively, Morgan contends that the combination of circumstances—re-reading the Miranda warnings, processing the drugs seized from her vehicle in her presence, and taking her photograph with the seized drugs—constituted the "functional equivalent" of interrogation. Because agent Armour's actions were not interrogation or its functional equivalent, we affirm.

I.

A.

On October 9, 2010, Morgan drove a vehicle into the United States through the San Miguel Gate, an unofficial port of entry located south of Sells, Arizona. The gate, situated on the border between the United States and Mexico, is intended to be used only by members of the Tohono O'odham Nation. Border Patrol ...


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