Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Parole Agreement Authorized Search of Parolee's Car Even After Arrest of Parolee for Violation; Statement Voluntary Despite Shackles

U.S. v. Cordova, 2009 WL 2351618 (7/31/09) (unpub'd) - The defendant's parole agreement remained in effect after he was arrested for a parole violation, thus justifying a parole search of his car based upon reasonable suspicion. Reasonable suspicion was established by double hearsay that he was using drugs plus a positive test for cocaine use. An officer's lies about the strength of the evidence against the shackled defendant [e.g., many other people made statements incriminating him], and his threat of federal prosecution and statements that lack of cooperation would lead to a harsher sentence did not render involuntary the defendant's subsequent statement. The interrogations did not last long, they took place in an office and there was no "promise of leniency." Despite a state contract to provide counsel to parolees at parole violation hearings, the interrogation did not violate the defendant's right to counsel, because he had not yet been formally charged. The d. ct. did not violate the Confrontation Clause by limiting cross of a key prosecution witness to open criminal charges against her and not her past criminal history.