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United States v. Crawford

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 7, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
HARRY CRAWFORD, et al.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER RE: SUPPRESSION MOTIONS

          Marvin J. Garbis, United States District Judge

         The Court has before it Defendant Crawford's Motion to Suppress Statements and Physical Evidence [ECF No. 150], Defendant Hightower's Motion to Suppress Statements [ECF No. 162], and the materials submitted relating thereto. The Court has held a hearing and had the benefit of the arguments of counsel.

         I. DEFENDANT CRAWFORD [ECF No. 150]

         On both September 23 and October 30, 2013, Defendant Harry Crawford ("Defendant Crawford") voluntarily appeared at police headquarters and was interviewed by Detectives Hinton and Gruss ("the Detectives"). The interviews were recorded (video and audio).

         During the course of the interview of October 30, 2013, Defendant Crawford voluntarily provided access to his cellphone. The police used a device - with consent of Defendant Crawford -to extract information from the cellphone.

         Defendant Crawford was not in custody and was not coerced to provide any statements or access to his cellphone.

         At the hearing, after the completion of testimony, Defendant Crawford's counsel stated that he wished to withdraw the suppression motion. However, to avoid any potential future issues, the Court will rule on the motion.

         The Court finds that, in regard to the interviews, Defendant Crawford was not in custody, was not coerced and voluntarily made statements and provided information from, and access to, his cellphone. Thus, the motion shall be denied.

         II. DEFENDANT HIGHTOWER [ECF NO. 162]

         On October 30, 2013, Detective Hinton spoke with Defendant Hightower by telephone, asking if he would agree to come to police headquarters for an interview. Defendant Hightower agreed to do so and made an appointment. But, the next day, Defendant Hightower called and said he would not be keeping the appointment, saying that he had spoken with Defendant Crawford and that Defendant Crawford had advised him to get an attorney. He further stated that he had spoken with an attorney and was advised to come for an interview only accompanied by counsel. However, Defendant Hightower expressed his willingness to speak with the police because he had done nothing wrong. Detective Hinton advised Defendant Hightower to have the attorney contact him.

         On November 4, 2013, Defendant Hightower called Detective Hinton saying that he thought that the Detectives were following him.

         There was no further contact from Defendant Hightower or his attorney. Although the Detectives knew the attorney's name they made no effort to contact him.

         The Detectives decided, on November 21, 2013, to confront Defendant Hightower without advance warning to try to see if he would speak with them without an attorney present.

         On that evening, the Detectives proceeded to the parking lot of an apartment building associated with Defendant Hightower and waited for him to arrive. About 8 PM Defendant Hightower arrived, driving a truck with passengers, a female and one or two children. The officers confronted Defendant Hightower, showing police IDs and ...


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