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United States v. Hill

United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division

December 3, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIAM CURTIS HILL JR., Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS STATEMENT

          SUSAN P. WAITERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Defendant William Curtis Hill Jr.'s Motion to Suppress Defendant's Statement. (Doc. 29.) The Government has filed a response (Doc. 39), and this motion is ripe for a ruling.

         I. Background

         On February 22, 2019, law enforcement searched Hill's residence and discovered over thirty grams of methamphetamine. (Docs. 30 at 1-2, 39 at 2.) The case was referred to FBI Task Force Officer Moffet (TFO Moffet) for further investigation. (Doc. 39 at 2.) Hill was on probation at the time and was required to report regularly to his probation officer, Kelvin Harrell (PO Harrell). (Docs. 30 at 1-2, 39 at 2.) In early April, Hill received a text from PO Harrell ordering him to report to the probation office on the afternoon of April 17, 2019. (Doc. 30 at 2.) When Hill met PO Harrell, PO Harrell escorted him to a room where TFO Moffet and TFO Michael Robinson were waiting to interview him.

         TFO Moffet briefly explained the officers' purpose for meeting with Hill, began recording the interview, and asked Hill basic identification questions. (Doc. 30-A at 0:20-1:15.) TFO Moffet then read Hill his Miranda rights using the FBI's Advice of Rights form (Doc. 30-B). They had the following exchange:

TFO Moffet: Alright, I already explained a little bit to you about why we're here. I'm gonna-urn-read you your rights now so that you can understand those okay?
Hill: Okay.
TFO Moffet (reading from the FBI's Advice of Rights form): 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 you any questions. You have the right to have a lawyer with you during questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish. If you decide to answer any questions now without a lawyer present, you have the right to stop answering at any time.
Hill: Yeah.
TFO Moffet: You understand all that?
Hill: Yeah.
TFO Moffet: Okay. Why don't you sign right here saying that you understand that-everything I just read to you?
Hill: (signs under the "CONSENT" section of the FBI's Advice of Rights ...

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