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United States v. Sanchez

United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division

January 5, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
DIMARZIO SWADE SANCHEZ, Defendant.

          ORDER

          SUSAN P. WATTERS United States District Judge

         Defendant Dimarzio Swade Sanchez ("Sanchez") is charged with First Degree Murder for the death of R.R., who was found strangled and burned in a field within the exterior boundaries of the Crow Indian Reservation. (Docs. 1 and 16). Sanchez has moved under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to suppress statements made to law enforcement. (Doc. 54).

         On December 9, 2016, the Court held an evidentiary hearing. The Court heard testimony from Bureau of Indian Affairs Special Agent John Dodd ("Agent Dodd"), Bureau of Indian Affairs Special Agent John Grinsell ("Agent Grinsell"), and Northern Cheyenne Tribal Lay Advocate Joe Waters ("Waters"). Having read and reviewed the parties' submissions and having heard the testimony of the witnesses noted above, the Court DENIES Sanchez's motion.

         I. Statement of facts.

         On the morning of April 20, 2016, Sanchez was arrested by tribal authorities on a bench warrant issued by the Northern Cheyenne Tribal Court for failing to appear in court on an unrelated charge. (Doc. 77-1 at 1). Sanchez was booked and held in custody at the tribal jail. (Doc. 77-1 at 2).

         Later that day, around 2:00 PM, Agent Dodd and Agent Grinsell arrived at the tribal jail and asked if Sanchez would answer some questions. Sanchez agreed to speak with them. (Doc. 101-1 at 6). Sanchez, Agent Grinsell, and Agent Dodd went to a room to speak. Both Agent Grinsell and Agent Dodd assured Sanchez he could stop speaking with them at any point. (Doc. 101-1 at 6-7). Agent Dodd provided Sanchez with a statement of rights. (Doc. 101-1 at 9; Doc. 57 at 7). The following exchange occurred:

Sanchez: Won't I get a lawyer?
Agent Dodd: Do you have one?
Sanchez: Yeah.
Agent Dodd: Who is your lawyer?
Sanchez: Joe Waters, bestest lawyer on Lame Deer Res.
Agent Dodd: Okay. Have you - have you already spoken to Joe? Does he know he's your lawyer?
Sanchez: Yeah, he knows he's my lawyer.
Agent Dodd: This? Okay. All right. So we make contact with Joe then?
Sanchez: Yeah.
Agent Dodd: ...

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