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United States v. Lilley

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

November 14, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL A. LILLEY, Defendant.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS

DIANE K. VESCOVO, Magistrate Judge.

On July 31, 2014, the grand jury returned a fourteen-count superseding indictment charging the defendant, Michael A. Lilley ("Lilley"), with sex trafficking of minors in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1591, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1594, sexual exploitation of minors in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2251(a), (e), distribution of child pornography in violation of 2252(a)(2), and possession of child pornography in violation of § 2252(a)(4)(B). (Superseding Indictment, ECF No. 62.) These charges arise out of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), Human Trafficking Division in Memphis, Tennessee, which led to the search of Lilley's home on a search warrant and his arrest on September 3, 2013.

Now before the court is Lilley's October 6, 2014 motion to suppress statements made after Lilley allegedly requested an attorney.[1] (Def.'s Mot. to Suppress, ECF No. 77.) The government filed a response on October 14, 2014. (Gov't's Resp., ECF No. 83.) The motion was referred to the United States Magistrate Judge for a report and recommendation. (ECF No. 87.) Pursuant to the reference, the court held an evidentiary hearing on November 5, 2014. At the hearing, the government called two witnesses, FBI Special Agent Stephen Lies ("Agent Lies") and FBI Special Agent Anthony Householder ("Agent Householder"), and introduced into evidence the "Advice of Rights" form signed by Lilley. Lilley called himself as a witness on his behalf.

After careful consideration of the statements of counsel, the testimony of the witnesses, the evidentiary exhibits, and the entire record in this case, this court submits the following findings of fact and conclusions of law and recommends that the motion to suppress be denied.

I. PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT

Agent Lies, who at the time was working as a special agent with the FBI Human Trafficking and Civil Rights Squad in Memphis, Tennessee, testified that he and other FBI agents arrived at Lilley's residence in Millington, Tennessee at 10:30 p.m. on September 3, 2013 to execute a search warrant. During the search, the FBI agents found people, including minors, in a back house located in Lilley's back yard. Agent Lies testified that he had witnessed Lilley leave the house a few minutes before the agents executed the search warrant and Agent Householder was directed to stop Lilley and bring him back to the house.

The government's second witness, Agent Householder, testified that he was in charge of pulling over and arresting Lilley. According to Agent Householder, once Lilley's van was stopped, Agent Householder told him that he was under arrest, handcuffed him, placed him in the passenger seat of Lilley's van, and told him that he was being taken to his house. Agent Householder then drove the van to Lilley's house. Agent Householder testified that he did not threaten Lilley.

Once Lilley was brought back to his house, Agent Lies searched Lilley's pockets for safety reasons and then returned the items back to Lilley. Agent Lies informed Lilley that they were conducting an investigation and escorted Lilley inside his residence. Agent Lies and Lilley sat down in Lilley's kitchen, where Investigator Rojas was also present. Agent Lies testified that he handed Lilley the Advice of Rights form and explained to Lilley that he was under no obligation to speak to the agents. The Advice of Rights form states the following:

ADVICE OF RIGHTS - YOUR RIGHTS
Before we ask you any questions, you must understand your rights.
You have the right to remain silent.
Anything you say can be used against you in court.
You have the right to talk to a lawyer for advice before we ask ...

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