Violation of Wife's Due Process Rights did not Confer Standing to Husband - Drugs receovered from wi
T1: The US District Court (District of Vermont) suppressed physical evidence seized from the Defendant's wife, Crystal Anderson. The District Court held that there was a substantive due process violation because of "unconstitutional coercive tactics." The government did not contest this evidence must be suppressed against Crystal Anderson but alleges that Mr. Anderson cannot assert such a claim based on conduct directed solely at his wife. T2: The Second Circuit holds that, "[b]ecause Anderson cannot suppress evidence that was seized through an illegal search directed at another person, we reverse." Remanded
Facts: On October 30, 2012, Vermont state police conducted a traffic stop of the Andersons and a passenger named Kenneth Clark. The basis of the stop was that the headlights were not illuminated in violation of state law. The trooper, however, was already informed of a suspicious vehicle whose owner was already the subject of several arrests. The vehicle was stopped and its passengers questioned. Each one of the passengers gave differing accounts of the purpose of their trip. Mr. Anderson admitted to the police officer that he and his wife had drug problems. The car was searched and a drug sniffing dog was called. "Based on the reaction of the dog, the troopers apparently believed that Mrs. Anderson may have secreted drugs on her person. Mrs. Anderson was held but not told that she was under arrest.”
The troopers told Mrs. Anderson that they were applying for a warrant for a body cavity search. Mrs. Anderson stated she knew her rights and stated that the officers had no grounds for obtaining such a warrant. She was handcuffed to a chair and the troopers applied for a warrant that was denied. Knowing that the order was denied, a female officer approached Mrs. Anderson, asked her if she needed water and indicated that troopers were "going to see the judge right now and get [the warrant] all signed off..." After several hours, Mrs. Anderson was given water and told that she was going to the hospital. "Anderson again requested to see the warrant and indicated that she might talk if she saw the warrant." On several occasions Anderson asked and Crowley failed to tell the truth: that the warrant application had been denied. Then other troopers joined the female trooper in telling falsehoods, saying that her husband threw her under the bus and allowed her to take responsibility for trafficking judges. The female trooper brought the unsigned warrant application into the room to which Anderson asked why it was not signed. The officers "reiterated how poorly her husband treated her" (Anderson, 2013 WL 5769976, at *5) and Mrs. Anderson began to cry. She was read her Miranda warnings six hours after her arrest (4:22am). At no point did Mrs. Anderson learn the warrant was denied. She told the troopers where the drugs were, exposed herself and the drugs to a female officer and, afterwards, the troopers revealed the truth about the warrant and their ploy to get her to reveal the drugs from her vagina.
Mr. Anderson alleged that the drug evidence recovered from his wife's vagina would violate his due process rights under the Fifth Amendment because the evidence was obtained through a "bad faith search" and as a consequence of police conduct that "shocked the conscience." The District Court agreed, found that Mr. Anderson had standing and that the conduct of these officers "shocks the conscience." See Rochin v. California, 342 U.S. 165, 172 (1952). "The district court also found that the statements that Mrs. Anderson had made to the Vermont state troopers were involuntary and had been secured as a consequence of an array of constitutional violations." The Government contends that under United States v. Payner, 447 U.S. 727, 735‐37 n.9 (1980), Anderson cannotbase a substantive due process claim on what happened to his wife.
Analysis: The Second Circuit evaluates the case on the basis of standing. Citing Alderman v. United States, 394 U.S. 165, 171‐72 (1969), the Second Circuit treats the Andersons as coconspirators and codefendants, allowing for no special standing. Because coconspirators and codefendants cannot challenge the violations of another's due process rights, the Court found that Mr. Anderson could not challenge the troopers' conduct. "In holding that Payner precludes Anderson’s claim, we need not decide whether physical evidence obtained through outrageous conduct – such as torture – inflicted on a third party may never be excluded on due process grounds."
Law: A defendant can raise a substantive due process claim if outrageous government conduct was directed at him. See United States v. Salerno, 481 U.S. 739, 746 (1987); see also Rochin, 342 U.S. at 169. But Payner bars such a claim when it is based on a “flagrantly illegal search” of the defendant’s wife. 447 U.S. at 729.
[After holding that the defendant could not prevail on substantive due process grounds, the Supreme Court went on to “conclude that the supervisory power does not authorize a federal court to suppress otherwise admissible evidence on the ground that it was seized unlawfully from a third party not before the court.” Payner, 447 U.S at 735. The Supreme Court also noted that it “has never held . . . that the supervisory power authorizes suppression of evidence obtained from third parties in violation of Constitution, statute or rule. The supervisory power merely permits federal courts to supervise the administration of criminal justice among the parties before the bar.” Id. at 735 n.7 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). See Noriega, 117 F.3d at 1214 (“[a] reasonable reading of Payner . . . compels the conclusion that a court may not exercise its supervisory power to dismiss an indictment if the government treated third parties unconscionably, where, as here, such an approach would circumvent the Supreme Court’s limiting construction of the Fifth Amendment”).]
Holding: Payner (standing exception) precludes Mr. Anderson’s claim - the evidence is allowed to be used against him.
The case is United States v. Valentino Anderson, No. 13‐4152‐cr (2d Cir. Nov. 24, 2014)