United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. Hornsby U.S. Magistrate Judge.
Ray Beaird (“Defendant”) is charged with one
count of making a false statement to a firearms dealer under
18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6). Doc. 1. The charge arises out of
Defendant's alleged attempted purchase of a handgun from
a pawn shop in Shreveport. Id. When completing the
ATF paperwork to purchase the gun, Defendant allegedly lied
about whether he was subject to an order of protection, a
fact that prohibited him from legally possessing a gun.
agents wanted to speak to Defendant about his attempted
purchase. They found him at CCC, where he was in jail on
unrelated charges. The agents interviewed Defendant, and he
made incriminating statements. Before the court is
Defendant's Motion to Suppress (Doc. 18) his statements
on the grounds they were not made voluntarily pursuant to
Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). For the
reasons that follow, it is recommended that Defendant's
motion to suppress be denied.
evidentiary hearing was held on November 1, 2018. The
evidence at the hearing, including an audio recording of the
interview in question, establishes the following facts.
Defendant attempted to purchase a Ruger .380 pistol from
Max's Pawn Shop in Shreveport. As part of the purchase
process, Defendant filled out ATF paperwork which required
him to disclose whether he was subject to a restraining or
protective order. Defendant represented that he was not
subject to such an order, but his purchase was rejected by
the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check
System (“NICS”). NICS then sent a referral of the
matter to the ATF office in Shreveport.
Special Agents Theresa Meza and Trenton Harper received the
referral. They went to Caddo Correctional Center
(“CCC”), where Defendant was detained on other
charges, to serve Defendant with an ATF warning letter (Govt.
Ex. 1). The letter advised Defendant why his purchase was
denied, and it warned him against trying to buy other
firearms. The agents testified that they attempt personal
service of warning letters so that they can answer any
questions the persons might have regarding why they are
prohibited from purchasing a gun.
agents were escorted by CCC guards to the pod where Defendant
was housed. The agents spoke with another guard, who called
for Defendant to come down from his cell to the first floor
of the pod. The agents greeted Defendant, identified
themselves as federal agents with ATF, and asked Defendant if
they could speak with him regarding the NICS denial. The
agents did not tell Defendant that he had to speak with them.
agreed to speak with the agents, and the three of them went
into an attorney interview room for privacy. The room had
glass windows all the way around it and a single door.
Defendant was seated on the side of the table closest to the
door and was not in handcuffs. Neither agent was armed during
the interrogation; they surrendered their duty weapons when
interview room, the agents reintroduced themselves, told
Defendant why they were there, showed him a copy of the ATF
warning letter, and asked him whether it was okay for them to
talk to him. Defendant responded that it was. At that point,
the agents began recording the interview. Agent Meza asked
Defendant questions such as whether he visited the pawn shop,
whether he intended to buy a gun, and whether he had any
other firearms. Defendant provided incriminating answers to
some of the questions.
three or so minutes, Agent Meza read Defendant his
Miranda rights and gave him a statement of rights
form and waiver. Govt. Ex. 2. Defendant paused to read and
sign the waiver, and the interview continued. Agent Meza
continued to ask Defendant questions regarding his attempted
purchase of a firearm, and Defendant provided additional
incriminating responses. None of the questions related to the
reason for Defendant's existing and unrelated
incarceration at CCC.
was cooperative and non-combative throughout the interview.
The entire recorded conversation lasted approximately eight
minutes. After the interview ended, Defendant ...