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UNITED STATES v. MONROE

July 11, 1975

The UNITED STATES of America
v.
Bernard L. MONROE et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: PARKER

 PARKER, District Judge.

 The defendants, Bernard L. Monroe, Janice McNair and Robert L. Brooks, have been named in a three-count indictment charging them with forgery and uttering of a U. S. Treasury check, 18 U.S.Code, § 495 and possession of stolen mail matter, 18 U.S.Code § 1708. On the day of their arrest and prior to presentment before a magistrate, each defendant gave a written statement to U.S. Secret Service Agents.

 Motions to suppress the statements were filed on behalf of Monroe and McNair. Counsel for Brooks moved and was granted leave to adopt the motions of the co-defendants. The defendants contend that their statements were made while each was under the influence of narcotics and as the result of narcotic intoxication the statements were involuntarily given. Monroe further contended that he did not voluntarily waive his right to counsel.

 The testimony of the arresting Agents and the defendants Monroe and McNair on the issues presented was concluded on July 7th and followed by argument of counsel.

 Having considered the testimony, exhibits and arguments, the Court in this memorandum, which constitutes findings of fact, sets forth the reasons why the motion should be granted as to the defendants Bernard L. Monroe and Janice McNair and denied as to the defendant Robert Brooks.

 The three defendants were arrested by Secret Service Agents in the early afternoon of April 9, 1975 at a branch of the American Security and Trust Co. Thereafter they were taken to the field office of the Secret Service, a few blocks away, arriving around 2 o'clock p. m. They were detained at that office for at least four and one-half hours. During this time they gave the challenged statements to the government Agents. They were not taken before the United States Magistrate until the early afternoon of the following day, April 10, 1975.

 At the hearing on the motions testimony was offered by Agents Holmes, Williams, Cahill and Moore and the defendants Monroe and McNair. An analysis of the issues presented by the defendants' motions follows.

 Bernard L. Monroe

 Bernard L. Monroe was orally advised of his rights by Agent Holmes at the bank and indicated by shaking his head affirmatively that he understood. En route to the field office the defendant was again orally advised of his rights by Agent Williams who read from the "rights card." Monroe indicated that he understood his rights and also volunteered that, having experienced similar situations when arrested in the past, he was familiar with the reading of rights procedure. Immediately upon arriving at the field office, and before 2:15 p.m., the defendant signed the Warning and Waiver of Rights form, read to him by Agents Williams and Cahill.

 The three Agents testified that through this time, except for one or two instances of nervousness, Monroe exhibited no signs of narcotic influence and that there was nothing unusual about his behavior.

 The defendant's testimony on these events suggests that he was unaware of being advised of his rights and that he was unaware of executing the warning and waiver forms. The Court has no difficulty in resolving these issues in favor of the prosecution and against the defendant.

 The sequence of events which followed, however, presents serious questions of the voluntariness of the statements given by this defendant, nearly three hours later, and whether he knowingly and intelligently waived his rights.

 This defendant's statement was secured at 4:50 p. m. by Agent Cahill. No plausible or acceptable explanation was offered by this Agent for the unusual lapse of time before it was secured. While Cahill stated that at all times Monroe responded to questions and appeared rational and otherwise was very cooperative, he also testified that during that period the defendant complained of being tired, and on occasions rested his head in his hands. In response to Cahill's questions, Monroe admitted that he was taking and had taken narcotics. Not satisfied with the defendant's answer, Cahill then sought and received confirmation of this disclosure from the defendant Brooks, who was in an adjoining room. Cahill further testified that at one point during the questioning Monroe appeared to him as being under the influence of narcotics. When he asked if he were "high", however, the ...


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