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United States v. Zapien

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

July 3, 2017

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Brigido Luna Zapien, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and Submitted May 9, 2016 San Francisco, California

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Arizona David C. Bury, Senior District Judge, Presiding D.C. No. 4:12-cr-00583-DCB-CRP-4

          Francisco León (argued), Law Office of Francisco León, Tucson, Arizona, for Defendant-Appellant.

          Christina Cabanillas (argued), Assistant United States Attorney; Robert L. Miskell, Appellate Chief; John S.

          Leonardo, United States Attorney; United States Attorney's Office, Tucson, Arizona, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

          Before: M. Margaret McKeown and Michelle T. Friedland, Circuit Judges, and Richard F. Boulware, [*] District Judge.

          SUMMARY[**]

         Criminal Law

         The panel affirmed the district court's denial of the defendant's motion to suppress his confession volunteered after he was arrested for alleged involvement in an illegal drug sale, Mirandized, and accused by DEA agents of being a drug dealer.

         The panel disagreed with the defendant's argument that the agents' questioning following the invocation of his right to counsel constituted interrogation, and concluded that the questioning was covered by the booking exception, which is an exemption from Miranda's coverage for questions posed to secure the biographical data necessary to complete booking or pretrial services. The panel agreed with the district court that the questions asked of the defendant were biographical questions and were not reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response.

          OPINION

          PER CURIAM:

         Brigido Luna Zapien was arrested for his alleged involvement in an illegal drug sale. After being Mirandized, Luna Zapien invoked his right to counsel after Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents accused him of being a drug dealer. Following his invocation, the agents began asking him biographical questions. Luna Zapien then said he wanted to provide further information. Again, the agents advised him of his rights under Miranda, but he explicitly said he wanted to talk without counsel and then told the agents that he had been involved in drug trafficking. The district court concluded that Luna Zapien's incriminating statements were admissible because the biographical questions did not constitute interrogation. We agree and affirm the district court's denial of the motion to suppress Luna Zapien's confession.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The DEA's investigation of Luna Zapien began in January 2012 with an informant's tip that Luna Zapien was a drug dealer. Over the course of a few days, agents observed Luna Zapien interacting with a confidential informant. These interactions culminated in a drug transaction involving Luna Zapien. After this transaction, on February 10, 2012 at approximately 7:30pm, Luna Zapien was stopped while driving his truck by Sahuarita Police Department (SPD) Officer Carl Navarette. Luna Zapien was detained for twenty to thirty ...


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