United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
E. PAYNE SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
SUPPRESS STATEMENTS (ECF No. 12) . For the following reasons,
the motion will be granted.
case involves the prosecution of Defendant Jerrell Blakey for
possession of heroin and cocaine hydrochloride with intent to
distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1),
841(b)(1)(C). Indictment 1-2. Blakey argues that certain
incriminating statements he made to law enforcement should be
excluded because he was not advised of his rights as required
by Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).
Def.'s Br. 1.
its burden, the Government put on the testimony of Officer
Thomas Kline, a member of the Chester County Police
Department assigned to a DEA task force, and it introduced a
video and audio recording of the encounter
between Blakey and the police officers. The defense also
called a witness. The findings of fact are based on that
October 27, 2017, Kline received a tip about an individual
dealing heroin and cocaine. The tip identified the individual
as Blakey and provided his address, among other information.
After running a criminal history check, Kline found that
Blakey had several narcotics convictions and was on
and another task force officer then drove to the address
provided, which was a boarding house in which Blakey and his
girlfriend, Natasha Robinson, occupied a room. Robinson
permitted the officers to enter and search the room that she
and Blakey shared (to which Robinson had complete access).
The search revealed sandwich bags, brownish-tan powder
packaged in small bags, white powder packaged in small bags,
a scale, and various paper documents in drawers belonging to
Blakey. Kline collected the evidence, gave Robinson his phone
number, and asked her to have Blakey call him once he
returned from work.
later received a call from a phone number he did not
recognize. When he returned the call, Blakey identified
himself. Kline asked if Blakey would like to speak with him.
Blakey agreed, and Kline stated that he would come by the
residence and would call when he was close.
returned to Blakey's boarding house with Officer Timothy
Walker. Kline called Blakey, said that he was parked
downstairs, identified his vehicle (a black, unmarked Ford
Edge), and asked Blakey to come down. Kline was in the
driver's seat and Walker was in the back seat, both in
plain clothes. Blakey entered the car, and Kline recorded the
conversation on his cell phone.
conversation began with Kline telling Blakey that: "we
gonna drive off .... So we'll just go down the street
here real quick so we can talk a little bit aways away."
Def.'s Ex. 1, 1. Kline testified that they drove away
"in case somebody did walk by that knew Mr. Blakey,
" especially given that narcotics are dealt in the area.
Feb. 28, 2018 Hr'g Tr. 14. The officers drove for a short
distance and stopped, and a conversation with Blakey ensued.
officers began the conversation cordially, and they asked if
Blakey had any weapons. Walker inquired if Blakey worked for
the City of Richmond, and Blakey responded, "I just got
on with the City like 30 days ago, so I'm on like a year
probation." Def.'s Ex. 1, 1. Kline then told Blakey
that the officers "got some information that you were
doing a little bit of dealing" and that:
"Obviously, you know what we got out of your place. It
was in the drawer." Def.'s Ex. 1, 2. And, he warned:
All I'm going to ask you at this rate - at this point is
you be straight with me. As long as you're straight with
me, then we can drive back around and drop you right back
off. What I don't want is any - any bulls**t, or anything
like that, because if you do that, like I said, you're -
you're here on your own to talk to me.
Def.'s Ex. 1, 2. After giving this admonition, Kline
noted that "I ain't forcing you to do nothing."
Def.'s Ex. 1, 2.
then repeated, however, that: "we got some dope and we
got some powder in your room. It was in your drawer.
Obviously, you know where it is with the baggies and the
scale, all that kind of stuff. So that's where we're
at right now, okay?" Def.'s Ex. 1, 2. He also said:
"So I got your history. So I know how many times
you've been convicted. . . . You know what you're
looking at, right? .... What do you think - what do you think
you're looking at?" Def.'s Ex. 1, 3.
response, Blakey made several incriminating statements. For
example, he revealed: "I ain't going to sit here and
say I don't do a little something, but I don't - I
don't - it's not like that. . . . What it was is I
f**king caught a -- I f**king caught an opium habit."
Def.'s Ex. 1, 3. He explained, however, that:
"I'm trying to get straight. So once I get straight,
man, this s**t, I'm done with this s**t." Def.'s
Ex. 1, 4.
then asked, "[w]hat you're telling me is the stuff
we found is personal use and you don't deal, is that - is
that your story?" Def.'s Ex. 1, 4. Blakey responded:
"Yeah, some of it is. It's - it'shalf and
half." Def.'s Ex. 1, 4-5. Kline also raised several
additional questions as to Blakey's dealing. After Blakey
answered, Kline said: "With that being said, cool. I
appreciate you being straight with me because if you're
coming in here and just you're going to be like I
don't know nothing about nothing, then I couldn't do
nothing for you." Def.'s Ex. 1, 5. Kline then asked
several specific questions about the drugs found in
Blakey's room, and Blakey shared the requested
information. One of the questions involved who Blakey's
source was, and Blakey told Kline that he got the drugs from
"some Mexican dudes." Def.'s Ex. 1, 7.
inquired of Blakey if he had his phone with him, and Blakey
said that he had no phone. Kline then exclaimed: "Yo,
look at me. You've been straight so far. Don't lie
about your phone number. That ain't the way to go, bro. .
. . [I]f you were going to lie, you should have lied already.
Lying and saying I ain't got a phone don't f**king
work. That don't work." Def.'s Ex. 1, 7. In
response, Blakey provided his phone number.
officers proceeded to raise detailed questions about
Blakey's source, such as the source's name, what
Blakey bought, what Blakey paid, how frequently he purchased
drugs, how long Blakey had been dealing with the source, and
where they met. ...