United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
A. KIMBALL United States District Judge
matter is before the court on Defendant Jose Alfredo
Roman-Rodriguez's Motion to Suppress statements he made
during a custodial interrogation following his arrest on June
8, 2016. The court held an evidentiary hearing on the motion
to suppress on October 17, 2016, and closing arguments on
December 14, 2016. At the hearings, Defendant was present and
represented by Walter F. Bugden, and Plaintiff was
represented by Aaron B. Clark. The court has carefully
considered the evidence and testimony presented at the
evidentiary hearing, the parties' memoranda, and the law
and facts relating to this motion. Now being fully advised,
the court issues the following Memorandum Decision and Order.
is from Sinaloa, Mexico, and arrived in Utah on or about June
1, 2016. Defendant was staying with an acquaintance and
intending to attend a school located in Salt Lake City. On
June 8, 2016, agents served a federal search warrant at the
residence where Defendant was staying based on an ongoing
narcotics trafficking investigation. Defendant was arrested
during the service of the warrant at the residence.
Defendant was arrested, the agents transported Defendant to
the Salt Lake City District Office (“SLCDO”) of
the DEA. At the SLCDO, agents Mark Bacon, Manuel Scott, and
Tim Sorenson interviewed Defendant. Defendant does not speak
English so Scott, who was the only agent fluent in Spanish,
conducted the interview and acted as a Spanish language
interpreter. Spanish was Scott's first language and he
spoke it while he was growing up. Scott testified that they
did not have any problem understanding each other.
to the recorded interview, Scott spoke to Defendant while he
was taking him from the holding room to the interview room.
Scott testified that he told Defendant that there was a
bathroom available and he could use it any time he needed it.
Defendant testified that Scott also told him that if he
answered their questions, he would be able to go home in a
week. Scott denies making such a statement and testified that
such a promise would have been improper. Defendant
acknowledged that neither he nor Scott ever mentioned this
alleged promise during the entire recorded interview that
three agents were in the interview room with Defendant. The
room was approximately eight feet by ten feet. The agents did
not handcuff Defendant, provided him with water, and kept
their firearms out of sight. There is no evidence that there
were any threats or intimidation. The agents were
professional and courteous in their communications with
obtaining some basic background information from Defendant,
Scott told Defendant he had a form he was going to ask him to
sign. The interview proceeded as follows:
Scott: I have a form here that I am going to ask you to sign.
Defendant: Uh huh.
Scott: If you'd like. I don't know. Umm, they are
warnings of rights. I am going to read it to you. (UN) Bacon:
Scott: I am going to ask you if you understand. Yes or no.
Defendant: If I understand?
Scott: Uh huh. I am going to ask you some questions. They are
the right warning. Defendant: Uh huh.
Scott: Before you are asked any questions, you have to
understand your rights.
Defendant: Uh huh.
Scott: You have the right to remain silent.
Defendant: Yes. Yes.
Scott: Anything you say can be used in court ...