Unpublished Disposition, 918 F.2d 181 (9th Cir. 1990)Annotate this Case
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,v.Luis TORRES-SALGADO, Defendant-Appellant.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Submitted Nov. 9, 1990.* Decided Nov. 15, 1990.
Before FLETCHER, FARRIS and BOOCHEVER, Circuit Judges.
Luis Torres-Salgado appeals his conviction for conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and aiding and abetting, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2 and 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a) (1) and (b) (1) (c). Torres-Salgado challenges the district court's refusal to suppress statements he contends were obtained by federal agents without a knowing, voluntary and intelligent waiver of his Miranda rights. We affirm.
We consider in turn whether the Miranda waiver was (1) voluntary, and (2) knowing and intelligent.
We review de novo the court's conclusion that the confession was voluntary. See U.S. v. Wolf, 813 F.2d 970, 974 (9th Cir. 1987). The district court's underlying factual account of the confession is reviewed under the clearly erroneous standard. Id. A waiver is voluntary if it is "the product of a free and deliberate choice rather than intimidation, coercion, or deception." Moran v. Burbine, 475 U.S. 412, 421 (1984). The record is devoid of any suggestion that the federal agents "employed coercive interrogation tactics." Wolf, 813 F.2d at 974. There is no indication of any threatening behavior by the agents, nor any suggestions of impropriety with respect to the location or duration of the questioning. The record indicates that Torres-Salgado showed no reluctance or hesitancy to answer questions. Considering the totality of the circumstances, we conclude that the confession was voluntary under the Fifth Amendment.
The question of whether the defendant's waiver of Miranda was knowing and intelligent is reviewed for clear error. United States v. Doe, 787 F.2d 1290, 1292-93 (9th Cir. 1986). A waiver is knowing and intelligent if it is "made with full awareness of both the nature of the right being abandoned and the consequences of the decision to abandon it." Moran, 412 U.S. at 421. Torres-Salgado asserts that he did not understand the Spanish of the two federal agents who issued him the warnings sufficiently to waive his Miranda rights.
Torres-Salgado was advised on two separate occasions of his constitutional rights by two different Spanish-speaking agents. The record indicates that throughout the warnings Torres-Salgado affirmatively expressed his understanding to the agents. On only one instance did Torres-Salgado display confusion, and this uncertainty was clarified with further explanation by the agent. Moreover, Torres-Salgado's admissions at the suppression hearing indicate an understanding of the nature of the Miranda rights and the consequences of their abandonment. Although particular difficulties are presented when the defendant is a non-English speaking person, it is not a constitutional requirement that a signed written waiver be obtained from the accused before questioning. Where, as here, the warnings are given in a language that the defendant understands and the record supports the district court's conclusion that under the totality of the circumstances the waiver was knowing and intelligent, no clear error has occurred.