United States v. Mora-Alcaraz, No. 19-10323 (9th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
The United States sought an interlocutory appeal of the district court's order suppressing evidence in a criminal prosecution. Defendant was indicted for being an alien in possession of a firearm, and the evidence suppressed resulted from a confrontation between police officers and defendant while he was with his seven-year-old son at a shopping mall.
As a preliminary matter, the Ninth Circuit held that United States v. Healy, 376 U.S. 75 (1964), foreclosed defendant's contention that the appeal is untimely. The panel affirmed the district court's suppression of the statements because they were the product of a custodial interrogation conducted without the required Miranda warnings and thus inadmissible. However, the panel explained that a Miranda violation does not alone warrant suppression of the physical fruits of defendant's inculpatory statements. Furthermore, both parties agree that the appropriate inquiry is whether, looking at the totality of the circumstances, defendant's consent to the search of the trunk was voluntary. Therefore, the panel remanded for the district court to resolve the voluntariness issue in the first instance.