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United States v. Guillen

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

March 1, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ETHAN GUILLEN, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S SECOND MOTION TO RECONSIDER COURT'S DENIAL OF MOTION TO SUPPRESS

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court upon Defendant's Second Opposed Motion for Reconsideration of Interlocutory Order Denying Motion to Suppress Statements and Evidence, filed January 10, 2019 (Doc. 93). Having reviewed the parties' pleadings and the applicable law, the Court finds that Defendant's motion is not well-taken and, therefore, is denied.

         BACKGROUND

         Defendant (“Ethan”) is charged with one count in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 5861(d), and one count in violation of 18 U.S.C. §844(i), in connection with making an explosive device and placing it under his former girlfriend's bed. Fortunately, the device did not detonate.

         On May 3, 2018, following a lengthy three-day hearing, the Court denied Defendant's motion to suppress self-incriminating statements made to law enforcement and evidence which was found subsequent to a search. Doc. 68. In its decision, the Court determined that after repeated viewings, the audio/visual lapel camera (“bodycam”) footage recorded before and during law enforcement agents' entry into the Guillen residence indicated that Defendant gave express permission for the agents to enter the residence, “. . . both orally and by his actions in stepping aside . . . consistent with the agents' testimony.” Doc. 68 at 8.

         Defendant then sought reconsideration of the Court's findings regarding whether law enforcement's entry into the Guillen residence violated Defendant's Fourth Amendment rights, seeking to supplement the record with a “forensic audibility analysis” of the bodycam footage which was introduced at the hearing on Defendant's motion to suppress. Doc. 69. Defendant explained that he sought clarification as to whether it was Defendant or his brother Tyler Guillen who spoke the word “Sure” in inviting agents into the Guillen home. Doc. 69 at 1-4. The Court denied this first motion for reconsideration, reiterating that:

. . . after repeated viewings, it appears that Ethan said “Sure” to the agents' second request to come inside, taking a step back while Tyler stepped off to the side in order to allow the agents to come in.

Doc. 72 at 2. The Court also noted that because it was undisputed that Tyler consented to the agents' entry, nothing would be gained by enhancing the video recording because “. . . Tyler had authority to allow law enforcement into the home and there was no evidence that Ethan objected. Id.

         Defendant now returns to Court with a Second Motion for Reconsideration, this time armed with an “enhanced” version of the same bodycam footage taken from Detective Larranaga's lapel camera showing the agents' entry into the Guillen home; and a forensic report by Mr. Michel outlining the methods and procedures used to create the enhanced material.

         DISCUSSION

         Defendant submits two supplemental exhibits with this motion:

• Exhibit A is an “enhanced version of about 60 seconds of the bodycam footage that was part of the Government's Exhibit 1, Part 2. Doc. 94.
• Defendant also submits a “Forensic Examination Report” from Joshua Michel, who Defendant describes as a forensic audio analyst employed by Roloff Digital Forensics. Doc. 96-1. In the report, Mr. Michel describes how he amplified the audio, reduced ambient noise, and transcribed the first approximately 61 seconds of audio. After he “clarified” the audio, Mr. Michel transcribed the conversation and concluded that it was Defendant's brother rather than Defendant who said “Sure” to the agents' request to enter the house and talk. Doc. 96-1 at 5.

         Defendant hopes that this “enhanced verbal exchange” will persuade the Court to modify its findings concerning (1) the legal sufficiency of Ethan's purported consent to the agents' entry into the residence; and (2) which brother-Ethan or Tyler Guillen-gave his consent to the agents' initial entry.

         I. ...


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