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United States v. Bocharnikov

United States District Court, D. Oregon

March 13, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
NIKOLAY P. BOCHARNIKOV, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          ANNA J. BROWN UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Nikolay P. Bocharnikov's Motion (#28) to Suppress.

         For the following reasons, the Court DENIES Defendant's Motion to Suppress.

         BACKGROUND

         On April 20, 2018, a grand jury indicted Defendant on one count of Aiming a Laser Pointer at an Aircraft in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 39A.

         On February 22, 2019, Defendant filed a Motion to suppress statements he made on March 20, 2018.

         On March 7, 2019, the Court conducted an evidentiary hearing on Defendant's Motion to Suppress, heard oral argument, and directed the parties to file supplemental memoranda.

         On March 11, 2019, the parties filed their supplemental pleadings, and the Court took Defendant's Motion to Suppress under advisement.

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         The Court finds the following facts by a preponderance of the evidence:

         On the evening of July 11, 2017, Portland Police Bureau Tactical Operations were conducting aircraft surveillance over Gresham, Oregon. During this operation the police aircraft was "struck" by a laser light from the ground that temporarily blinded the pilot. The aircraft was able to determine the origin of the laser beam and notified the Gresham Police Department of the address.

         Shortly after midnight Deputy Adam Kraushaar, Sergeant Hakala, and Sergeant Matt Jordan of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Department were dispatched to the address identified. All of the officers were wearing full uniforms. Deputy Hakala initially contacted Defendant's wife at the door of the residence, and she stated Defendant was just getting out of the shower. Defendant came to the door wet and wearing only his underwear. When Deputy Hakala questioned Defendant about the incident, Defendant denied any involvement and stated: "It was the kids." After a brief conversation, Defendant was handcuffed by Sergeant Hakala and was seated on the front porch of his residence. Defendant was advised about the seriousness of the incident and that the officers were there only to recover the laser in question. Defendant then admitted he had shined the laser in the direction of the aircraft, but he stated he did not think the laser beam would reach the aircraft. Defendant apologized for his actions and told his wife where the laser was located. The officers seized the laser as evidence, Defendant was released from the handcuffs, and the officers left the residence. Defendant was not arrested and was not given Miranda warnings at any time.

         In August 2017 Special FBI Agent Adam Hoover was assigned to investigate the July 2017 laser incident. Although Agent Hoover personally has some concern about the legality of the July 2017 interrogation, he does not recall any discussion with Deputy Kraushaar about it when he met with Deputy Kraushaar regarding the incident. Defendant did not offer any evidence to contradict this assertion. The Court concludes Agent Hoover did not discuss the matter with Deputy Kraushaar.

         On March 20, 2018, Agent Hoover went to Defendant's home intending to interview him as part of his investigation. Agent Hoover arrived at Defendant's residence; parked across the street; and while he waited for his partner to arrive, Agent Hoover saw Defendant come out of his house and walk toward his work vehicle. Agent Hoover got out of his car, waved to get Defendant's attention, crossed the street, and greeted Defendant. Agent Hoover then introduced himself as a member of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and showed his ...


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