The Narcotics Hot Line in Dallas, Texas allows persons to call in with tips for the Dallas Police as to where and when to find illegal drug activity. One day, the police got a tip on the Hot Line that Apartment #101 at 333 Turrell Drive was being used for narcotics trafficking. The caller did not identify himself other than as a “concerned neighbor.” The caller told the police that he sees people going in and out of the apartment all day and night, that about four or five black men in their 30s seem to live or stay there most of the time, and that “drugs are definitely changing hands.” A team of four undercover officers set up surveillance of the apartment and quickly determined that the apartment with all of the activity was actually Apartment #102, right next to #101. The police note that Apartment #101 is abandoned and #101 and #102 share the same entryway.
Over a four-day period, the officers observed over thirty people come and go out of the apartment at all hours of the day and night. By using a high-powered telescope, one of the officers was able to see into the window of the apartment from the street. His view was partially obstructed by a doorframe, so he was unable to see the activity clearly. However, he did observe several black men in their 20s and 30s inside the apartment at most times. He also sometimes observed small objects being handed between people, but he could not make out their shape or color, and he occasionally observed money being handed between people.
On the fifth day, two of the officers knocked on the door. A voice from within said, “Who is it?” and one of the officers responded, “Police, open up.” The voice said, “Just a minute!” After 30 seconds, the officers thought they heard some scuffling inside and became concerned about what was happening in the apartment. So, they broke in the door and entered the apartment. Once inside the apartment, the officers yelled, “Freeze!” and both pointed their weapons at the two occupants of the house who were in the front room. One officer, Officer Hinkel, held those two at gunpoint while the second officer, Officer Fritz, continued through the house. Officer Hinkel saw a gun on the table and seized it. He asked the two men, both black and in their 20s, “Who’s gun is this?” One of the men, Freddie, said, “That’s my gun; he did not have anything to do with it,” gesturing at the second man, Irvin.
Meanwhile, Officer Fritz entered the bedroom upstairs. He looked under the mattress and found large quantities of packaged heroin. He then heard noise coming from the bathroom. He went into the bathroom and grabbed a man trying to leave out of the window. This man was named Reggie, who was also black and in his 20s. He patted Reggie down and felt a round small cylinder-shaped item. Officer Fritz had made a few arrests in the past where drugs were stashed in film canisters, so he thought that may be what this was. He reached into Reggie’s pocket and pulled out a film cannister. Officer Fritz opened it and found pills inside, which later turned out to be dilaudid, an illegal drug. Reggie, Freddie and Irvin were placed in handcuffs and taken to the police station.
Once at the station, while Officer Hinkel and Officer Fritz were transporting Irvin to a holding cell, Irvin appeared very quiet and nervous. Officer Hinkel said, “Kids today, why are they so stubborn? Why do they have to get all wrapped up in drugs? I just don’t understand it.” Irvin then said, “For the money.”
The two officers next went into Freddie’s cell. Officer Hinkel told him that Irvin has given him up, that they have several witnesses who can testify that they witnessed drug transactions by Freddie, and that the officers themselves saw him selling dope. Of course, none of this was true. Hinkel told him, “It is all over, pal, you might as well come clean and tell us about it. If you do, we can probably cut you a deal with the district attorney’s office.” Hinkel then read him the Miranda rights. Freddie signed a waiver card saying he understood his rights and was willing to speak with the police without a lawyer present. Freddie then said, “I got involved with all of this because of Reggie. He is the mastermind.” Then Freddie said, “I should probably talk to a lawyer, don’t you think?” Hinkel responded, “No, I don’t think, but it is not what I think that matters. So what do you say?” Freddie shrugged and said, “Well, I guess no one can help me now. After all, I am caught red-handed since you saw me with those drugs I dealt.”
Finally, the two officers went to Reggie, read him the Miranda rights, and asked him if he wanted to talk. Reggie said, “Piss off!” The officers came back 15 minutes later and asked him if he was ready to talk, and he said, “Piss off!” After that, Reggie sat in the holding cell for about 20 minutes when another man appeared in the cell with him. The man told Reggie his name was Paulo. Paulo told Reggie that he was just arrested for drug dealing and that it was a bum rap. Paulo then asked Reggie, “What is your story?” Reggie responded, “Man, I am screwed. I got caught with all of these drugs. I should have been smarter than that.” Of course, the man in the cell was an undercover police officer. Officers Fritz and Hinkel had asked him to sit in the cell to “see if the jerk says anything.”
NOW, Irvin, Freddie and Reggie are on trial for possession of heroin with intent to distribute, and Reggie is additionally charged with possession of dilaudid. The prosecution will show that the apartment was leased to Reggie’s mother, that Reggie lived there, and that Freddie stayed overnight on occasion, and that, while Irvin never stayed overnight, he helped to deal drugs at the apartment during the day. The government plans to introduce the heroin against all three men, the gun against Freddie, the dilaudid against Reggie, and each of the defendant’s statements against the defendant who made the statement. What are the defense attorneys’ (assume each man has his own attorney) arguments for
suppression? What is the prosecution’s response?
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