United States District Court, D. Nebraska
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
THOMAS D. THALKEN, Magistrate Judge.
This matter is before the court on the motion to suppress filed by defendant Ruben James Buchanan (Buchanan) (Filing No. 11). Buchanan is charged in the Indictment with knowingly causing D.L.L., a 14 year old Native American female, within the Winnebago Indian Reservation to engage in a sexual act by use of force, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1153 and 2241(a)(1). See Filing No. 1 - Indictment. Buchanan seeks to suppress all statements he made during an interrogation on September 7, 2013. See Filing No. 11 - Motion.
The court held an evidentiary hearing on Buchanan's motion on March 17, 2014. Buchanan was present for the hearing along with his counsel, Federal Public Defender Shannon P. O'Connor. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas R. Semisch. The court heard testimony from Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent Jeff Howard (Special Agent Howard). The court received into evidence an audio recording of Buchanan's September 7, 2013, interview (Ex. 1), Buchanan's September 7, 2013, interview transcript (Ex. 2), an Advice of Rights form (Ex. 3), a Presentence Investigation Report (Ex. 4), a Miranda Warning and Waiver (Ex. 5), and a Memorandum of Interview (Ex. 6). A transcript (TR.) of the hearing was prepared and filed on March 20, 2014. See Filing No. 21. On March 21, 2014, Buchanan filed a post-hearing brief (Filing No. 23).
FINDINGS OF FACT
On September 7, 2013, Special Agent Howard interrogated Buchanan in the Woodbury County, Iowa, juvenile detention center interview room in Sioux City, Iowa (TR. 8:5-10). Buchanan, age sixteen, was under arrest for violating his supervised release (Ex. 2). Before the interrogation, Special Agent Howard advised Buchanan of Buchanan's Miranda rights and had him sign an Advice of Rights form (TR. 10:16-12:16; Ex. 2 p. 1; Ex. 3 - Advice of Rights form). After Buchanan signed the form, Special Agent Howard asked Buchanan if "[t]here was something that happened up on the hill by the towers at the end of July between you and a girl named [D.L.L.]. Can you tell me about that?" (Ex. 2 p. 2). Buchanan responded "I don't know if I remember it... [e]verybody [was] partying.... [and] I blacked out" (Ex. 2 p. 2). Buchanan stated he had been drinking vodka provided by his aunt (Ex. 2 p. 2-3, 6, 8). When asked for his aunt's name, Buchanan responded "I don't wanna say anything" (Ex. 2 p. 6). Special Agent Howard asked Buchanan if Buchanan remembered "having sex with [D.L.L.] and "raping [D.L.L.]" (Ex. 2 p. 3). Buchanan responded "No" to both questions (Ex. 2 p. 3). Special Agent Howard asked Buchanan what Buchanan wore the night in question and told Buchanan a witness saw Buchanan wearing black shorts and a red shirt the night in question (Ex. 2 p. 11). Buchanan agreed he wore some type of black pants and a red v-neck shirt (Ex. 2 p. 3-4, 10).
After additional questions regarding what Buchanan did the night in question, Buchanan stated he was drinking with friends after midnight near a friend's home and D.L.L. arrived (Ex. 2 p. 5-8). Buchanan stated everyone left or started to leave and as he stood up to leave, D.L.L. offered to help Buchanan as he may have been staggering (Ex. 2 p. 8-9). In estimation of Buchanan's level of intoxication, on a scale of one to ten with one being the lowest and ten being the highest, Buchanan said he had been an eight (Ex. 2 p. 3). Buchanan stated D.L.L. was probably a five on the same scale (Ex. 2 p. 9). When asked what happened after D.L.L. offered to help Buchanan, Buchanan responded "I don't know I don't even remember now" (Ex. 2 p. 10).
Special Agent Howard told Buchanan that D.L.L. said Buchanan "threw her down and raped her" (Ex. 2 p. 10). Buchanan responded "I don't remember throwing her down" (Ex. 2 p. 10). Special Agent Howard asked whether Buchanan remembered kissing D.L.L. and giving D.L.L. hickies, Buchanan responded "No" (Ex. 2 p. 10). Special Agent Howard asked Buchanan if Buchanan told D.L.L. to "shut up or I'll beat you up" (Ex. 2 p. 11). Buchanan stated he did not remember telling D.L.L. anything (Ex. 2 p. 11). Special Agent Howard again asked for Buchanan's side of the story and Buchanan responded, "I don't know. I'm being pressured" (Ex. 2 p. 11). Approximately seventeen minutes into the interrogation, after Special Agent Howard Buchanan about Buchanan's relationship with D.L.L. (Ex. 2 p. 11-12), the following exchange occurred:
Buchanan: Well I don't know what happened.
Special Agent Howard: Which makes me believe that what she says is true. Rueben here's the thing just about every person I talk to says they can't remember. But then you leave everything in the other person's hands because if you say I was so drunk I don't remember then that means whatever they say must be the truth because you can't say otherwise. But if you want to tell me...
Buchanan: I don't care about what happens I don't care what ever happens happens.
Special Agent Howard: Well you're 16 and you're already going to jail I mean if you got something to say I'd say it now.
Buchanan: I don't gotta say nothing.
Special Agent Howard: You don't have ...