United States v. Santiago-Colon, No. 16-2509 (1st Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The First Circuit reversed an vacated the order of the district court granting Defendant’s motion to suppress identification evidence and giving preclusive effect to a Puerto Rico Court of Appeals’ order suppressing the same evidence in a local proceeding for different offenses, holding that the district court deviated from this Court’s precedent in so ruling.
The district court concluded that because Puerto Rico and the United States are a single sovereign for purposes of the Double Jeopardy Clause, the court was bound by the local court’s judgment suppressing identification evidence, even where federal prosecutors did not participate in the proceedings. The First Circuit reversed, holding (1) the district court deviated from the holding in United States v. Bonilla Romero, 836 F.2d 39, 43-44 (1st Cir. 1987), that suppression of evidence by a Puerto Rico court does not require a federal court to suppress that same evidence unless federal prosecutors were a party, or were in privity with a party, to the suppression hearing in the Puerto Rico court; and (2) because there was no privity between the two prosecuting authorities in this case, collateral estoppel was inapplicable.