Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Songlin

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division

August 25, 2016

United States of America,
v.
Marvin Songlin, Defendant.

          ORDER

          R. BRYAN HARWELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court following an evidentiary hearing regarding a motion to suppress filed by Defendant Marvin Songlin. Having considered the witnesses' testimony and the parties' arguments, the Court denies Defendant's motion.

         Background

         A federal grand jury indicted Defendant on charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, mail and other fraud, conspiracy to launder money, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. ECF No. 67. The Government filed the indictment on November 9, 2015, and on November 30, 2015, Defendant appeared for his arraignment and entered a not guilty plea. ECF Nos. 67 & 81. On August 8, 2016, the Government filed a superseding indictment as to the drug and firearm charges. ECF No. 212.

         Defendant filed the instant motion to suppress on June 30, 2016, and the Court held an evidentiary hearing on August 18, 2016, after which it took the matter under advisement. ECF Nos. 186. Three witnesses testified at the evidentiary hearing on Defendant's motion to suppress in the following order: United States Postal Inspector Steven Stebbins, Defendant, and United States Postal Inspector Luther Paul King.

         I. Inspector Stebbins's Testimony

         Inspector Stebbins testified that shortly after 7:00 AM on October 22, 2015, he, King, and three other law enforcement officers arrived at an apartment in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to execute a warrant for Defendant's arrest based on information relating to a Jamaican lottery scam involving mail and wire fraud. The officers parked their vehicles, approached the apartment, knocked on the front door with their weapons drawn, and announced they had an arrest warrant. After approximately three to four minutes, Defendant opened the front door, and the five officers entered the apartment. Defendant was immediately placed in handcuffs with his hands behind his back, and the officers asked him if anyone else was present. He informed them his sister was there, and she was detained while the officers conducted a protective sweep of the entire apartment. The sister went outside the apartment with two officers and was interviewed by them.

         Stebbins, King, and one other officer stayed inside the apartment with Defendant and asked him if he wanted to talk about why law enforcement was there. Defendant said yes, so the officers moved the handcuffs to the front of his body and placed him on a couch in the living room.[1] The officers informed him they had a federal arrest warrant and explained the nature of the charges, and Defendant indicated he wanted to talk with them. Before the officers proceeded any further, Defendant signed and executed a U.S. Postal Inspection Service “Warning and Waiver of Rights” form waiving his Miranda[2]rights.

         Stebbins then informed Defendant that the officers were investigating a Jamaican lottery scam, and that they wanted to ask him questions about certain wire and mail transactions. After interviewing Defendant for approximately fifteen to twenty minutes, Stebbins asked Defendant if the officers could search both his residence and his vehicle. According to Stebbins, Defendant gave his verbal consent to the search of both the apartment and vehicle. Stebbins then filled out a U.S. Postal Inspection Service “Consent to Search” form and read it aloud to Defendant.[3] The Consent to Search form contained the following information:

I, Marvin Songlin, have been informed of and understand my constitutional rights not to have a search made of my residence, vehicle 402 11th Ave S Apt 2 Myrtle Beach SC without the requirement of a search warrant. I have also been informed of, and understand, my right to refuse to consent to the search. However, I hereby authorize U.S. Postal Inspector(s) Stebbins, King & other LEOs to conduct a complete search of my residence, vehicle located at 402 11th Ave S Apt 2 Myrtle Beach S.C. Dodge Intrepid GYI-739 SC
The U.S. Postal Inspector(s) is/are authorized by me to take from the above described property any letters, papers, materials, or other property, which is contraband or evidence and specifically evidence of lottery scam, contraband I understand that this contraband or evidence may be used against me in court of law or an administrative proceeding.
I understand my right to withdraw my consent at any time.
This written permission is being given by me to the above named persons freely and voluntarily without threats, promises, or coercion of any kind to have me consent to the search and/or sign this form. I realize that I may ask for and receive a receipt for all things taken.

Gov't Exh. 2 (underlined and italicized text indicating blanks filled in with Stebbins's handwriting) (bold emphases added). Defendant signed the bottom of the form as the “Consentor, ” and Stebbins and King signed their signatures as “Witnesses.” After Defendant signed the consent form, Stebbins and other officers first searched the apartment and then searched Defendant's vehicle. While his apartment was searched, Defendant remained seated on the couch in the living room and never objected to the search. The officers seized a gun and marijuana as a result of the search, as well as some evidence of the lottery scam.

         On cross-examination, Stebbins testified that after Defendant signed the “Warning and Waiver of Rights” form (the Miranda waiver), he stated he had a firearm. Additionally, Defendant's sister informed officers that Defendant had a firearm and marijuana in the house. Stebbins testified he knew Defendant had a firearm and marijuana before he searched for these items, and testified he filled in the “Consent to Search” form with the word “contraband” (after the words “evidence of lottery scam”) to include the firearm and marijuana.

         On redirect examination, Stebbins testified it was not his practice to add things (words) to a consent to search form after the suspect executes it, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.