Friday, February 17, 2017

Case of the Day: United States v. McConnell, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13283 (D. Minn. Jan. 30, 2017)


Petitioner, a Canadian citizen living in the Philippines, was indicted in 2013 for a scheme to sell illegal prescription drugs in the United States. In 2016, the Canadian government revoked the petitioner's passport, and the Philippines immigration authorities detained him for deportation proceeding. While being in Filipino detention, the petitioner handed over a hard drive to an agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. After the petitioner was deported from the Philippines, the DEA agent escorted him on a flight to the United States, and arrested the petitioner upon his entry into the U.S.

The petitioner moved to suppress evidence from the hard drive, and statements he made before he entered the United States, claiming he was not under arrest until he entered the United States. As to the hard drive, the court denied the motion because the petitioner voluntarily handed over the evidence. The court similarly found that the petitioner waived his Miranda rights as to his statements, rejecting the argument that the petitioner's only way to exit the Philippines immigration detention was to speak with the DEA agent.


Here is a case with an interesting fact pattern that confirms the most basic truth about criminal defense: don't talk to cops. If you are a criminal suspect--even if you actually committed a crime!--nothing good comes from voluntarily offering up statements and evidence. Not even if you are stuck in an immigration jail in the Philippines.

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