United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION
ZOBEL SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Ramon Sosa (“Sosa” or “defendant”) is
charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine and
cocaine base, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (Count I), being a
felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, 18 U.S.C.
§ 922(g)(1) (Count II), and possession of a firearm in
furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, 18 U.S.C. §
924(c)(1)(A) (Count III). He moves to suppress a statement he
made to police officers after his arrest on the ground that
it was not voluntary. Following an evidentiary hearing and
arguments of counsel, the motion (Docket # 59) is denied.
Findings of Fact
Execution of Search Warrant and Arrest of Defendant
January 23, 2018, around 3:00 p.m., federal and state law
enforcement officers arrived at an apartment in Malden,
Massachusetts, to execute a search warrant and investigate
Sosa's alleged drug distribution. Detective Salvatore
Gennetti (“Gennetti”) and several other officers
entered the apartment, while Sergeant Steven Fitzpatrick
(“Fitzpatrick”) monitored the perimeter of the
building from his police cruiser.
officers knocked on the apartment door and announced their
presence. When no one answered, they forced entry. Two
individuals, Ralph Bonano Jr. and Diane Shea, were in the
living room. Officers searched and cleared one bedroom of the
apartment and forced open the locked door to a second
bedroom, which Diane Shea stated was Sosa's. No. one was
inside that bedroom, but one of the officers noticed an open
window and saw a man outside, walking away from the building.
and another officer ran out of the apartment to pursue the
man. Meanwhile, Fitzpatrick noticed the man, got out of his
cruiser, and gave chase. He caught up to the individual,
ordered him to the ground, and recognized him as Sosa.
Gennetti then handcuffed Sosa, explained that he was not
under arrest, and read him his Miranda rights. When
asked whether, having these rights in mind, he wished to
speak with officers, Sosa replied “no.” The
officers continued the search of the apartment, where they
found a handgun, ammunition, and various controlled
substances in the second bedroom. Then, at 3:32 p.m.,
officers informed Sosa that he was under arrest and
transported him to the Malden Police Station.
Ambulance Call and Booking Process
defendant arrived at the station, he began “nodding
off” in the booking room, Docket # 59-1 at 4, and,
according to Fitzpatrick's testimony, officers had to
“nudge” defendant repeatedly to wake him up. At
4:49 p.m., Fitzpatrick called for an ambulance to assess
defendant. At 4:52 p.m., while waiting for the
ambulance's arrival, Fitzpatrick initiated the booking
process by asking defendant for his name and address and
entering the information into a computer to generate a
booking report. See Docket # 59-3. At 4:56 p.m., the
ambulance arrived and Emergency Medical Technician
(“EMT”) Ryan McMamus (“McMamus”)
examined defendant. See Docket # 59-5 at 1.
to the ambulance record and McMamus's testimony,
defendant stated that he felt ill because he was withdrawing
from heroin. Id. at 2. McMamus checked
defendant's vital signs at 5:01 p.m. Defendant's
blood pressure was slightly elevated, his heart rate and
pulse were within normal limits, his airway was clear, and he
was breathing normally. McMamus asked defendant a series of
questions and determined that defendant was oriented to
event, person, place, and time. Id. Defendant was
also evaluated on the Glasgow Coma Scale, which measures an
individual's alertness and consciousness. He received the
highest scores in each category: eyes, verbal, and motor.
These results, McMamus testified, indicate that defendant
trained his eyes and maintained eye contact, provided
appropriate verbal responses without slurring, and had full
range of motion with his extremities.
p.m., defendant signed a refusal of treatment and
transportation form and the ambulance left. McMamus testified
that “virtually” everyone assessed is offered
transportation to the hospital and may refuse, unless they
are not in the “right state of mind” to do so.
Docket # 75 at 28-29. After leaving the Malden Police
Station, McMamus summarized his interaction with defendant in
an ambulance report: “[Patient] stated he did not feel
nauseous and was not vomiting … Vitals were within
normal limits, no sense of sweating. Crew[']s assessment
revealed no abnormalities and no indications of opioid
withdrawal … officer noted he would keep a closer eye
on [patient] for development of symptoms.” Docket #
59-5 at 2.
after the ambulance left, Fitzpatrick resumed the booking
process. Defendant provided additional information, including
his mother's maiden name, his occupation and the name of
his employer, as well as the name, partial address, and
telephone number of his girlfriend. Docket # 59-3 at 3. At
5:14 p.m., Fitzpatrick again read defendant his
Miranda rights. Defendant orally indicated that he
understood his rights and he signed a Statement of Rights
form, which acknowledged these rights and stated that he
wished to speak with officers. Docket # 59-4.
next asked defendant several questions regarding his mental
health. Defendant indicated that he had received psychiatric
care from an unknown physician in Everett. He also stated
that he had previously attempted suicide at his sister's
house in Revere. Docket # 59-3 at 4.
Strip Search and ...