Unpublished Disposition, 897 F.2d 534 (9th Cir. 1990)Annotate this Case
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,v.Larry G. ROSS, Defendant-Appellant.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Submitted Feb. 28, 1990.* Decided March 5, 1990.
Before ALARCON, CYNTHIA HOLCOMB HALL and DAVID R. THOMPSON, Circuit Judges.
Larry M. Ross appeals his convictions, following a jury trial, for conspiracy to possess and transfer machine guns by transferring those firearms without complying with the transfer procedures (count one), five counts of aiding and abetting the transfer of the weapons (counts two through six), and possession of the guns (count seven). Ross contends that the trial court erred by concluding that his post-arrest statements were voluntary. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we affirm.
Ross refused to make a written statement without his attorney, but he agreed to make oral statements. Ross admitted to Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agents that he had manufactured the guns that the agents had obtained from his coconspirator. A few moments later, Ross stated that he made the guns for the money because he could not get a job. After signing a consent to search form, he stated that he did not have anything in his residence except some sten gun parts and tubes, and that it appeared he was caught. All the ATF agents testified that Ross freely and voluntarily made these statements. Ross does not allege that these statements were made in response to interrogation or coercion. After hearing all the testimony, the district court denied Ross' motion to suppress the statements based on the court's decision to believe the ATF agents' version of the facts.
We review the district court's determinations of credibility for clear error. United States v. Allen, 699 F.2d 453, 459 (9th Cir. 1982). We review de novo whether Ross' statements were obtained by violating his due process rights. See United States v. Wolf, 813 F.2d 970, 974 (9th Cir. 1987).
Not all questions asked of a defendant in custody fall within the definition of interrogation. United States v. Gonzalez-Mares, 752 F.2d 1485, 1489 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 473 U.S. 913 (1985). "The relationship of the question asked to the crime suspected is highly relevant" in determining whether questions posed by the police constitute interrogation. Id. "Statements volunteered by a suspect in custody are admissible despite the absence of Miranda warnings if they are free from interrogation or other coercion." Allen, 699 F.2d at 459. A defendant's ignorance of the full consequences of his decision to make a statement does not render the statement involuntary. Connecticut v. Barrett, 479 U.S. 523, 530 (1987).
The district court's findings of fact regarding the ATF agents' interactions with Ross are not clearly erroneous. The questions posed by the ATF agents were not "reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response...." United States v. Booth, 669 F.2d 1231, 1237 (9th Cir. 1981). Ross' statements were spontaneous, and not involuntary or coerced responses to a custodial interrogation. See Gonzalez-Mares, 752 F.2d at 1489. Therefore, the district court properly concluded that the statements were admissible. See id.; Allen, 699 F.2d at 459.
Because we find no Miranda violation, Ross's consent to search his home was valid. Therefore, the district court's judgment is affirmed.