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United States of America v. Quartavious Davis

January 9, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joan A. Lenard United States District Judge


THIS CAUSE is before the Court on Defendant Quartavious Davis's Motion to Suppress Statements (D.E. 125) and Motion to Suppress Physical Evidence (D.E. 126), both filed on June 1, 2011. The Government filed its Responses in Opposition to Defendant's Motions (D.E. 142, 143) on June 24, 2011. No replies were filed. The Court referred Defendant's Motions to Magistrate Judge John J. O'Sullivan (D.E. 130). After holding a suppression hearing on the Motions on August 19, 2011 and August 23, 2011, the Magistrate Judge issued his Report and Recommendation ("Report," D.E. 208) on September 30, 2011, wherein he recommended that Defendant's Motions be denied. Defendant filed his Objections to the Report (D.E. 227) on November 7, 2011, to which the Government filed its Response (D.E. 229) on November 16, 2011. Having considered the Report, the Motions, the Responses, the Objections, the Response to Objections, and the record, the Court finds as follows.

I. Background*fn1

This case involves two robberies and six defendants. On September 25, 2010, four individuals robbed two businesses in a strip mall in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Police located the getaway vehicle and recovered from it a tee-shirt that a victim identified as worn by one of the robbers during the robbery. Police obtained a DNA profile from the tee-shirt. Police located the owner of the vehicle, who stated she lent the vehicle to her boyfriend, Jahmal Martin, a co-defendant in this case, and that Jahmal Martin was in contact with Jamarquis Reid and Willie Smith, who are also co-defendants in this case. Police interviewed Reid and Smith, who stated that they had committed the robberies and Jahmal Martin was the driver of the getaway vehicle. They did not identify the fourth robbery suspect. Police determined that the DNA from the tee-shirt did not match the DNA of Jahmal Martin, Reid, or Smith.

On October 1, 2010, four individuals robbed a jewelry store in Broward County, Florida. A surveillance camera recorded the robbery. Two of the robbers used sledgehammers to break glass casings, and they left bloodstains inside the store. Police also found bloodstains on the backseat of the BMW that the robbers used as a getaway vehicle. Police obtained DNA profiles from the bloodstains in the store and the BMW, and police determined that one of the bloodstains recovered from the BMW may belong to Michael Martin, a co-defendant in this case. The second DNA profile obtained from the bloodstains matched the DNA profile obtained from the tee-shirt from the September 25, 2010 strip mall robberies.

Police interviewed Michael Martin, who stated that he was involved in the jewelry store robbery along with Reid, Sylvester Fisher, and Davis, and he further stated that Davis carried a sledgehammer when he entered the jewelry store. Police showed Michael Martin surveillance video from the jewelry store robbery, and he identified Davis as one of the four individuals on the video. As identified as Michael Martin, the video shows Davis breaking glass casings with the sledgehammer and also shows Michael Martin and Davis getting into the backseat of the BMW.

Based on Michael Martin's statement, Davis was arrested and taken to an interview room at the Broward Sheriff's Office, where Detectives Fred Anderson, Mark Copley, and Jose de la Paz interviewed Davis for three hours and eighteen minutes, including breaks.*fn2 In response to questions from the detectives, Davis told them that he was nineteen years old and that he had not completed high school. (See Transcript, D.E. 183-1, at 2:2-33, 6:2-3, Dec. 23, 2010.) Detective Anderson then asked Davis if he would speak to them without an attorney present, and Davis replied, "Nope."*fn3 (Id. at 13:7-9) Despite Davis's refusal, the detectives proceeded with the interview without an attorney present. During the interview, Detective de la Paz said the following to Davis regarding Davis's possible sentence upon conviction:

That's fine but at the end of the day know that whatever happens if you want to be tough and let's say for example it's 25 years if it's 50 I don't know because I ain't the judge and I don't predict that so I'd be blowing smoke up your ass if I told you it was 25 or 50 but I guarantee you it ain't going to be less than 25. (Id. at 82:15-20.) Later in the interview, Detective Anderson said the following to Davis:

You know that. You knew that Quat come on now keep it 100. Keep it 100 you knew that. Ain't no doubt about it that you knew that. You knew it. Why you trying to protect them? I don't know. Why you trying to be hard? I don't know but man it's going to bust you right across the head man and you going to you know when it's going to hit you? When your sitting in prison ok and your roommate has been to prison 4 times over and he getting ready to punk your ass out. Then you going to be like God dammit it I could have just been sitting at home probably if I would have just laid it all out. Why you trying to protect these guys. (Id. at 91:26-92:3 (emphasis added).) At the suppression hearing, Detective Anderson testified that the phrase "punk your ass out" meant that Davis would have to make certain concessions to his cell mate, such as giving up his lunch or telephone time.*fn4 (Transcript, D.E. 205, at 61:10-22, Aug. 23, 2011.) Davis testified that he thought the phrase meant that if he went to prison, he would be anally raped by his cell mate.*fn5 (Id. at 176:4-13.)

During the interview, Davis was asked numerous times to provide a DNA sample, and Davis refused each time. (Transcript, D.E. 183-1, at 30:28-30, 33:3-4, 34:32-35:1, 39:15-16, 79:17-19, 87:27-28, 88:12-16.) Detective Copley told Davis that if he did not consent to providing a DNA sample, the detectives would get a search warrant for his DNA.*fn6 (See id. at 35:2-5.) At one point during the interview, Davis revealed that his mother called him the nickname, "Boobi," and then Detective Anderson told Davis that if his mother was present, "She would say Boobi if you weren't in that car what do you have to hide with giving your DNA if it's going to eliminate you from the case?" (Id. at 36:18-37:1.) Davis again refused to provide a DNA sample. (See id. at 37:2.) The detectives also asked Davis multiple times whether they could photograph his hand, and Davis refused each time. (See id. at 68:9-15, 79:17-19, 87:9-28.) Toward the end of the interview, Davis indicated that he did not wish to talk to the detectives and asked to be taken to the jail. (See id. at 92:20-93:1.) The detectives agreed to take Davis to jail while they obtained a search warrant for his DNA and ended the interview. (See id. at 93:8-21.)

After the conclusion of the interview, Davis was taken to a large open area of the robbery unit, where he was sat in a chair near the desk of Sergeant Edward McCardle. The detectives told Sergeant McCardle that Davis had not submitted his DNA, and the detectives returned to their desks to prepare the paperwork to transfer Davis to the Broward County Jail. Sergeant McCardle told Davis that if he provided a DNA sample, it could clear his name, but Davis did not respond. Approximately twenty-five to thirty minutes later, Sergeant McCardle again asked Davis if he would provide a DNA sample, and Davis agreed to provide a DNA sample. After Sergeant McCardle told Detectives Copley and Anderson that Davis agreed to provide a DNA sample, one of the detectives obtained an audio recording device and then read the Consent to Provide DNA Sample for Lab Analysis form to Davis. Davis, Detective Anderson, and Detective Copley all signed the consent form. After Davis provided his consent, Detective Anderson took a DNA sample from Davis and asked Davis if he could photograph his hand. After Davis consented to having his hand photographed, Detective Anderson took a photograph of Davis's hand. At the suppression hearing, Davis testified that he did not want to consent to giving his DNA or allowing the detectives to photograph his hand, but he consented because he "was tired," and giving his consent "was the only way to get away from all of the questions."*fn7 (Transcript, D.E. 205, 180: 1-12.)

II. Report and Objections

Davis moved to suppress the statements he gave to law enforcement officers during his post-arrest interview, the DNA sample, and the photograph of his hand. The Government conceded that the statements were taken in violation of Davis's Miranda rights, but argued that the statements were made voluntarily. After finding that Davis's testimony was not credible, and considering other factors including Davis's education, mental abilities, and his allegations of fatigue and marijuana use prior to the interview, the Magistrate Judge concluded that Davis's statements were made voluntarily, and recommended that the Court deny Davis's Motion to Suppress Statements. (Report 12-15.) The Magistrate Judge also found that Davis voluntarily consented to providing the DNA sample and having his hand photographed, and further found that even if Davis had not consented, the evidence should not be suppressed under the inevitable discovery doctrine. (Id. at 15-20.)

Davis filed the following six objections to the Report: (1) Davis disputes the identification of him from the surveillance videos from the Broward jewelry store robbery made by Michael Martin; (2) the detectives gave differing reasons for violating Davis's Miranda rights; (3) Davis was threatened by the detectives during the interview; (4) the detectives used psychological coercion against Davis during the interview; (5) Davis consented to providing his DNA only because he believed the detectives would continue to interview him rather than take him ...

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