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Michelle Lyn MICHAUD

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Serial rapist - Kidnapping - Sexually torture
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: December 2, 1997
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: 1959
Victim profile: Vanessa Lei Samson, 22
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Pleasanton, Alameda County, California, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on September 25, 2002
 
 

 
 
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United States Court of Appeals
For the Ninth Circuit

 
United States of America v. Michelle Lyn Michaud
 
 

 
 

Michaud, Michelle Lyn: White; age 38 at crime; kidnaping, sexual assault, and murder of white female age 22 in Pleasanton (Alameda County) on 12-2-1997; sentenced on 9-25-2002.


Sex-torture duo get death penalty

'You're pure evil, and you deserve to die'

By Henry K. Lee - SFGate.com

September 26, 2002

A former couple were sentenced to death Wednesday for luring a Pleasanton student into a specially rigged van where they sexually tortured and strangled her before dumping her body on a snowy embankment.

James Anthony Daveggio, 42, and his then-lover, Michelle Lyn Michaud, 43, were sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Larry Goodman in Oakland for killing 22-year-old Vanessa Lei Samson on Dec. 2, 1997.

A jury that convicted the pair recommended the death penalty in June.

Michaud will become the 14th woman to await execution on California's Death Row. She is expected to be housed at the condemned women's quarters at the women's prison in Chowchilla.

"The death penalty is the appropriate penalty," Goodman said, adding that Samson's slaying and torture was "vile, cruel, senseless, depraved, brutal, evil and vicious."

The pair kidnapped Samson from a Pleasanton street, kept her inside their green Dodge Caravan, rigged with hooks and ropes, and repeatedly tortured her as they drove to South Lake Tahoe. They forced her to wear a rubber-ball gag and strangled her with nylon rope.

In court Wednesday, Samson's brother, Vincent, placed a framed picture of his sister at the table where the bearded Daveggio sat, wearing a red jail shirt. Later in the day, Vincent Samson did the same thing at Michaud's sentencing.

In both cases, Vincent Samson addressed the defendants. He called Daveggio a "demon" and said, "You're pure evil, and you deserve to die."

Daveggio replied, "I, in fact, did not kill Ms. Samson. By law I am as guilty of her death as Michelle is. Do I care or feel for Ms. Samson? Yes, watching your family, unfortunately I have never seen love as you all have for her. Yes, I think about it every day."

Michaud did not respond on the advice of her attorneys.

Relatives and friends of the slain woman packed the courtroom. Many wore purple ribbons, for Samson's favorite color.

Nichole Samson said outside court that the punishment was "in the jury's hands, the judge's hands and in God's hands."

Prosecutors said Daveggio and Michaud had sexually assaulted at least six other young women, two of whom were relatives of the defendants.

During the trial, prosecutor Angela Backers told a five-man, seven-woman jury that "Michaud described each vicious assault as an 'adventure.' Daveggio referred to them as 'huntings.'"


Death Penalty For Pleasanton Murderers

June 13, 2002

An Alameda County jury has ruled that Michelle Lyn Michaud and James Anthony Daveggio should get the death penalty for abducting, sexually torturing and killing a 22-year-old Pleasanton woman in 1997.

After deliberating for nearly 2 days, the jury of 4 men and 8 women decided Wednesday that the pair should die for the killing of Vanessa Lei Samson.

Samson was walking to work early on Dec. 2, 1997, when the defendants came upon her, forced her into a van and drove off.

During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that convinced the jury that the defendants used altered curling irons to sexually torture Samson as she lay restrained inside a van that Daveggio and Michaud had rigged to help subdue their victims.

The former couple was convicted May 6 of 1st degree murder with special circumstances of murder in the commission of rape and rape by instrument.

Samson's killing came after a series of at least 6 brutal rapes that the defendants committed against girls they knew -- 2 of whom were closely related to the defendants.

Daveggio and Michaud are scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 25.


Jury told sordid tale of sex-torture slaying

Prosecutor describes couple's 'huntings' for victims

Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, February 5, 2002

A couple lured a Pleasanton college student into their specially rigged van, sexually tortured her and then strangled her before dumping her body on a snowy embankment in 1997, an Alameda County prosecutor told jurors this morning.

James Anthony Daveggio, 41, and his then-lover, Michelle Lyn Michaud, 43, killed 22-year-old Vanessa Lei Samson after initially promising her that her life would be spared, according to Alameda County Senior Deputy District Attorney Angela Backers.

Backers told a five-man, seven-woman jury this morning that Samson's slaying capped a series of sexual assaults on at least six other young women, two of whom were relatives of the defendants.

"Michaud described each vicious assault as an 'adventure.' Daveggio referred to them as 'huntings,' " Backers said.

The prosecution's opening statements were made in the courtroom of Alameda County Superior Court Judge Larry Goodman, which was packed with relatives and friends of the slain woman. Many wore purple ribbons, as purple was Samson's favorite color.

Daveggio and Michaud could face the death penalty if convicted of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and strangling Samson on Dec. 2, 1997.

Samson's brother, Vincent Samson, said outside court this morning, "We're very confident that justice will be served."

Daveggio, who once lived in Pleasanton, was a convicted sex offender nicknamed "Froggie" for his raspy voice. According to prosecutors, he and Michaud shared methamphetamine and modeled their crimes after Gerald and Charlene Gallego, the couple whose slayings made front-page news in the late 1970s as the "sex-slave murders."

Among other evidence recovered in the Samson case was a pornography audiotape titled "Submissive Young Girls," a book on serial killers called "Dead of Night," two curling irons with Michaud's fingerprints on them, and a pack of serial-killer trading cards that featured the Gallegos, court records show.

Backers said the pair "even expressed hopes of having their photo on serial- murder trading cards just like the Gallegos."

Gallego is on Nevada's Death Row; his former wife was released from prison in 1997.

Police say Samson's slaying capped Daveggio and Michaud's months-long spree of sexual assaults on other young women, in which they allegedly worked together to lure defenseless victims into a green 1994 Dodge Caravan.

The minivan was specially rigged as a mobile "murder and abduction chamber, " then-Pleasanton police Chief Bill Eastman said after their arrests.

A gag order prevents attorneys and witnesses in the case from discussing the case outside court.

Samson, a community college student, was abducted from Kern Court and Singletree Way in Pleasanton as she walked to her clerical job at an insurance office less than a mile from her home on Dec. 2, 1997.

She was tied up in the van -- rigged with hooks and ropes, its rear seats removed -- and raped repeatedly with the curling irons as the pair drove to South Lake Tahoe, authorities said. Samson was forced to wear a rubber-ball gag designed to stifle her screams, according to prosecutors.

The pair allegedly strangled Samson with a 6-foot-long black nylon rope and dumped her body off Highway 88 later that day on an embankment in remote Alpine County.

Daveggio and Michaud were arrested the next day in a separate case in which they assaulted a Reno community college student three months earlier.

Michaud pleaded guilty in the Reno case in U.S. District Court and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Daveggio received a 25-year sentence in that case.

The Reno victim will testify to jurors about what happened to her, as will other previous victims, authorities said.


Accused Samson Killers' Trial Begins

January 21, 2002

ValleyTimes.tripod.com

OAKLAND —It was Thanksgiving 1997, and, like many families, the Samsons gathered in their home.

Their one-story house on Siesta Court in Pleasanton was a clean-cut American clich‚ surrounded by the manicured lawns of another safe suburb.

At the Samsons', celebration was in order. It was a departure from usually hectic lives filled with work, school and errands- a point not lost on Christina Samson, who was overjoyed to have her husband, Daniel, son Vincent and daughters Nicole and Vanessa together.

Just hours later, a short distance away , a shaken teen-age girl sat in a room at the Candlewood Hotel in Pleasanton. She had been molested, the victim of a crime she later told police that Michelle Lyn Michaud had warned would take place.

James Anthony Daveggio, Michaud's boyfriend and the man who has since pleaded guilty to forcing the girl into a sex act, was nearby.

"It was the biggest shopping day of the year and would be the best day to kill somebody," the girl recalled her attacker saying just after midnight, court records show.

Police say Daveggio and Michaud soon began to hunt a new victim.

Six days later, Vanessa Samson was dead.

Opening statements in the trial of Daveggio, 41, and Michaud, 43, for the murder of Vanessa Samson are scheduled to begin Tuesday in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland. They could face the death penalty if convicted.

Michaud is accused as well of sexually assaulting two Tri-Valley teens, charges similar to those Daveggio pleaded guilty to in October.

Nov. 30, 1997

Daveggio and Michaud drove to a Hayward Kmart, according to court records. They were familiar roads for Daveggio, who had grown up not far away in Union City, where he went to Logan High School before transferring to Foothill High School in Pleasanton in the 1970s.

He later completed classes at the Sequoia Institute in Fremont, earning mostly high marks in the school's diesel engine program.

About a decade after attending the school, Daveggio, a bartender and biker known as "Frog," was cruising the aisles of the discount store to the north with his prostitute girlfriend, records show.

The pair took their purchases to Motel 6 in Pleasanton, where they checked into Room 137. Michaud's green 1994 Dodge Caravan was parked outside.

A day later, police say, the pair began their search in earnest. The green van parked in front of Foothill High School, potential victims were scouted, former Pleasanton police Chief Bill Eastman later told reporters.

The couple drove to Livermore later that day, stopping at Not Too Naughty on First Street, where a security camera captured their 10-minute visit to buy a ball gag and a cassette tape titled "Submissive Girls."

Dec. 2, 1997

Daveggio and Michaud were out early on what court records revealed the couple referred to as "adventures" and "huntings" - and what police said was a search for a victim. Two young girls were spotted, but then came Samson, Eastman said.

Not wanting to be late for the clerical job she had held for only weeks, Vanessa bid farewell to her mother and left for SCJ Insurance Services with her backpack and bag lunch. She had paged her sister, who was staying with a friend and had offered a ride the day before, but she hadn't heard back.

That was not a problem for Vanessa, 22. The Ohlone College student regularly turned down rides to work, preferring to walk the short way to Gibraltar Drive.

It was foggy and cool as Vanessa set out about 7:30 a.m. She strolled to Singletree Way, headed east and then walked another six blocks to where the road slices past Kern and Page courts.

Roofers working at a house on Page heard a "desperate scream," then a door sliding closed, Alameda County prosecutor Angela Backers said in court papers. Looking down the street, they watched a green van inch away.

Two hours later, Michaud turned up in Sacramento, where she had grown up after a vagabond military-family life. There was money to be had from a waiting welfare check.

After a stop at a check-cashing store, she continued east to South Lake Tahoe. Michaud had business the next day at Douglas County Courthouse - a court date for writing bad checks.

Later that morning, the van steered into the parking lot of the Sundowner Motel at South Lake. Manager Mukesh Patel checked them into Room 5 but noticed nothing out of the ordinary, investigators were later told.

But inside that room Samson's brutalized body would be pushed to the edge, author Robert Scott would write in "Rope Burns," one of two books published on the case.

It was there, Scott wrote, that Samson was tortured before being forced into a van and driven along Highway 88. Near Crater Wash, she was strangled with a length of rope and dumped in the snow.

Dec. 3, 1997

A day had passed and the Samsons and their friends were in a panic. For Christina Samson, it had been a sleepless night following a grindingly slow day since she had heard a message from Vanessa's coworker asking why she hadn't come to work.

She had a "funny feeling." It was simply out of character for Vanessa to not show up for work and fail to go home.

Still she remained hopeful. Vanessa had a good friend in Davis who had planned to come for Thanksgiving but could not make the trip. She might have gone to see him.

But no, family friend Raul Guilliarte had not heard from Vanessa, he told the worried mother.

In a frenzy, friends called friends, and others called hospitals. Nobody had heard from Vanessa since she left for work the day before.

Fliers were crafted. Vincent Samson stayed home from his San Francisco job to help search for his little sister. They had to do everything; he had failed her, he told officials, records show.

Two hundred miles northeast, FBI agents bore down on the Lakeside Inn in Stateline, Nev. Two days earlier, a college student had pegged Daveggio and Michaud in a police photo lineup as the couple who had snatched her in September from a Reno street and raped her before dumping her in a remote area of Placer County.

They drove a van, she told police, one similar to the van now parked at a casino across the street from the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

Agents knocked on the door of Room 133. Michaud was arrested seconds later.

They went to the casino, where Daveggio was playing a slot machine. He was cuffed and hauled away.

Daveggio and Michaud were arrested for the Reno rape and kidnapping, a crime for which they were convicted in 1999. Soon after, authorities announced the pair were prime suspects in Vanessa's kidnapping.

Dec. 4, 1997

With a chaplain in his front seat, Vincent Samson headed home to break the news. Two days had passed since his sister left him with too many questions, and now he had the answer.

"You are going to present your parents and sister with information that will change their lives forever," he said to himself, he later told officials.

Vincent fell through the door with a detective behind him. Christina now knew the answer, too.

"They took my daughter away," she said, according to court records.

A trucker had spotted the body down a snowy embankment about 10:45 that morning, officials explained. "Ness" was not coming home.


UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT

No. 99-10440

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v
MICHELLE LYN MICHAUD, Defendant-Appellant.

Argued and Submitted - March 12, 2001 - San Francisco, California

OPINION

FISHER, Circuit Judge:

Appellant Michelle Michaud entered a conditional guilty plea to a charge of violating 18 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1), kidnapping and transporting a victim across state lines. On appeal she challenges her conviction, contending that her incriminating statements should have been suppressed and her sentence was improperly enhanced. For the reasons detailed below, we affirm.

I.

After a joint investigation by the FBI and the Placer County, California Sheriff's Department into a kidnapping and sexual assault, law enforcement officials isolated Michaud and her boyfriend, James Daveggio, as suspects and located them at a motel in Stateline, Nevada. The Placer County police secured warrants for their arrest on December 2, 1997.

Aware of the existence of the state warrants, FBI Agent Lynn Ferrin led a group of agents to Michaud's hotel the following day. Another agent knocked on Michaud's door, claimed to be the assistant manager of the hotel and told her that her boyfriend was sick and needed her assistance. In reality, Daveggio had already been apprehended. When Michaud opened the door, the agents placed her under arrest, took her to another hotel room and handcuffed her to a chair.

Ferrin secured Michaud's signature on consent forms to search her room and her vehicle. He then advised her of her Miranda rights, and she signed another form indicating she understood and waived those rights.

FBI agents and Placer County detectives then proceeded to interview Michaud. When she indicated she wanted to speak to a lawyer, the interview was terminated and Michaud was booked into the Douglas County, Nevada jail on the state warrant and for possession of controlled substances. The federal agents' search of Michaud's van revealed more evidence.

Based on this material, a magistrate judge issued a federal arrest warrant for Michaud on December 5, 1997 on charges of kidnapping and aiding and abetting. Also on December 5, Michaud and her cellmate, Teresa Agoroastos, learned that Michaud and her boyfriend had been featured on a television news report in connection with a murder. Michaud became distraught, and began telling Agoroastos, "I'm scared. I'm in a lot of trouble."

Agoroastos contacted Deputy Douglas Conrad over the intercom and said that Michaud needed to talk to somebody. Conrad told the women to meet him at the gate in front of their dorm. Agoroastos led Michaud by the arm to the gate. At this point, both women were crying. Agoroastos told Conrad that Michaud had information about a murder and needed to talkto someone; Michaud remained silent, neither confirming nordenying the statement.

Conrad told the women to return to their cellblock and contacted his supervisor, Sergeant Arnie Digerud, who in turn informed detectives of the request. Digerud then instructed Conrad to place Michaud in a holding cell. Approximately one hour later, Douglas County Sergeant Timothy Minister took Michaud to an interview room, where they met with FBI Agent Christopher Campion.

After turning on a tape recorder, Campion said: Michelle, we just started talking and uh, I just wantto ask you just to make sure that I'm under, I'm clear that you want to talk to us, to me, and to Detective Minister here, Tim, um, about something that's obviously bothering you. You're obviously emotional right now and it's something that you, you need to get off your chest. Is that true? Michaud answered, "I have some information about the young lady who was killed, a couple of days ago. Yes."

Minister and Campion then informed Michaud of her Miranda rights, including her right to have an attorney present during questioning. Once she indicated that she understood these rights and signed a waiver, they began to interview her.

The interview lasted roughly nine hours. Campion and Placer County Detective Desiree Carrington interviewed Michaud again on December 6. The following day Michaud was hospitalized after collapsing in her cell. She was interviewed at the hospital for approximately an hour. The officers spoke to her again on December 8. Also on December 8, Placer County yielded priority of their prosecution to the federal government. Michaud was taken into federal custody the next day, brought before a federal magistrate in Reno and had counsel appointed for her. She was subsequently indicted on charges of kidnapping and transportation across state lines and conspiracy to commit the same, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1) and (c).

On October 27, 1998, Michaud moved to suppress the statements she made during her interviews with law enforcement officials. The district court denied this motion November 13, 1998, after which Michaud entered a conditional guilty plea on the kidnapping charge. On August 12, 1999 the court sentenced Michaud to 152 months in prison. This appeal followed.

II.

Michaud argues that the court erred in denying her motionto suppress her incriminating statements because her arrestwas unlawful, state and federal officials colluded to deprive her of her right to a timely appearance before a federal magistrate judge and she was interrogated after invoking her right to counsel. We review motions to suppress de novo, but were view the trial court's factual findings for clear error. United States v. Kemmish, 120 F.3d 937, 939 (9th Cir. 1997).

A. Lawfulness of the Arrest

Michaud contends that the ruse the officers used to persuade her to open the door of her hotel room violated her Fourth Amendment rights, and that the inculpatory statements she subsequently made to them should be suppressed as the fruits of the unlawful arrest. She acknowledges that a valid warrant for her arrest existed at the time of the ruse, but contends that "the Placer County warrant was itself used as a ruse by the FBI to create an opportunity for interrogation."

Michaud's objection to the use of trickery to encourage herto open her hotel room door is unavailing, given the existence of a valid warrant. We have held that "[t]here is no constitutional mandate forbidding the use of deception in executing avalid arrest warrant." Leahy v. United States , 272 F.2d 487,490 (9th Cir. 1960); see also United States v. Contreras-Ceballos, 999 F.2d 432, 435 (9th Cir. 1993) (holding that an officer was justified in claiming to be a Federal Express agent when executing a warrant).

Because the warrant was valid, we cannot accept her argument that the FBI's use of the warrant was some how improper. We affirm the district court's denial of Michaud's motion to suppress based on the unlawfulnessof her arrest.

B. State and Federal Collusion

Michaud argues that the Placer County officers colluded with the FBI agents to deprive her of her Sixth Amendment right to counsel and her rights under Fed. R. Crim. P. 5(a) and 18 U.S.C. § 3501(c). Under Rule 5(a), an arrested individual must be taken without unnecessary delay before a federal magistrate. We look to § 3501(c) to determine whether another wise voluntary confession made during a period of unnecessary delay must be excluded. United States v. VanPoyck, 77 F.3d 285, 288 (9th Cir. 1996).

Under that provision: In any criminal prosecution by the United States . ..a confession made or given by a person who is a defendant therein, while such person was under arrest or other detention in the custody of any law-enforcement officer or law-enforcement agency, shall not be inadmissible solely because of delay in bringing such person before a magistrate . . . if such confession is found by the trial judge to have been made voluntarily and if the weight to be given the confession is left to the jury and if such confession was made or given by such person within six hours immediately following his arrest or other detention: Provided, That the time limitation contained in this subsection shall not apply in any case in which the delay in bringing such person before such magistrate or other officer beyond such six-hour period is foundby the trial judge to be reasonable considering themeans of transportation and the distance to be traveled to the nearest available such magistrate or other officer.18 U.S.C. § 3501(c).

Thus, the provision creates a six-hour "safe harbor" between the commencement of detention on a federal charge and appearance before a magistrate judge during which a voluntary confession is admissible. Voluntary confessions occurring after the safe harbor period may still be admissible if the court determines that the delay was reasonable or if public policy favors admission. Van Poyck, 77 F.3dat 288-89.

Michaud was taken into federal custody on December 9 and promptly taken before a federal magistrate. She argues, however, that her state custody was the result of collusion between state and federal authorities; as such, the relevant delay should be the period between her initial state arrest and her appearance before the federal magistrate judge, some six days later.

The relevant delay may indeed be calculated from the time of arrest by state or local authorities on state charges "if state or local authorities, acting in collusion with federal officers, were to arrest and detain someone in order to allow the federal agents to interrogate [her] in violation of [her]right to a prompt federal presentment." United States v.Alvarez-Sanchez, 511 U.S. 350, 359 (1994).

The defendant has the burden to prove the existence of such actual collaboration; "[a] bare suspicion that there was cooperation between the two agencies designed to deny fundamental rights is not sufficient." United States v. Doe, 155 F.3d 1070, 1078 (9thCir. 1998) (en banc) (quoting United States v. Leeds, 505 F.2d161, 163 (10th Cir. 1974)).Placer County police and the FBI had been jointly investigating Michaud and Daveggio.

Michaud was arrested under aCalifornia state warrant for kidnap and sexual assault and later booked by Nevada authorities on drug charges. The FBI participated in her arrest and questioned her after she was in custody. Interviews of persons in state custody by federal authorities are permissible, and statements obtained during such questioning are generally admissible. United States v.Halbert, 436 F.2d 1226, 1229 (9th Cir. 1970); see alsoAlvarez-Sanchez, 511 U.S. at 360.

The agents obtained a fed-eral warrant for Michaud's arrest on December 5, obtained priority of prosecution from state officials on December 8 and executed the warrant for her arrest December 9. The cooperation between the state police and the FBI, both in conducting interviews and in taking Michaud into federal custody, appears on its face to have been unobjectionable. As soon as the federal agents gathered sufficient evidence against Michaud from the search of her van, they obtained an arrest warrant and took the steps necessary to prosecute her in federal court.

A finding of collusion requires proof of a deliberate intent to deprive a defendant of her federal procedural rights. Doe,155 F.3d at 1078. The mere suspicion of collusion that Michaud describes is insufficient. See id. Michaud offers no evidence of actual collusion between the state authorities and the FBI to deny her her federal right to appear before a magistrate judge. The district court found that Michaud's allegations of collusion amounted to "no more than unsupported suspicion," and determined that the exchange of information between federal and state investigators was sparse.

On appeal, Michaud has not shown these factual determinations to be clearly erroneous. See Kemmish, 120 F.3d at 939. We therefore affirm the district court's holding that Michaud's rights were not infringed by impermissible collusion between federal and state authorities.

C. Custodial Interrogation

Once an accused has invoked her right to counsel during interrogation, she may not be subjected to further police interrogation "unless the accused [her]self initiates further communication, exchanges, or conversations with the police. "Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 484-85 (1981).

During an interview with police on December 3, Michaud indicated her desire to speak to an attorney, and the interview was immediately terminated. She was not interviewed again until December 5, when Agoroastos, leading her by the arm to the gate outside Michaud's dorm, told Deputy Conrad that Michaud wanted to speak to someone "about a murder" and Michaud subsequently confirmed to Sergeant Minister from the Douglas County Sheriff's Department and FBI Agent Campion that this was true.

We must therefore decide whether, under the facts of this case, Michaud may be said to have initiated communication with the police after having previously invoked her right to counsel. The relevant facts, in all material respects undisputed, areas follows. Conrad testified that Agoroastos summoned him on the intercom and told him that Michaud "needed to talk tosomebody."

When Conrad approached Michaud and Agoroastos at the gate, Agoroastos told him that Michaud "needed totalk to somebody about a murder that had happened in Alpine County." In context, "somebody" was reasonably understood to refer to the police authorities. Michaud stood next to Agoroastos, crying, and said nothing.

She testified that at thispoint she was shaken up, upset and scared. She heard Agoroastos tell Conrad she had information about a murder and should talk to somebody; she stayed silent, neither confirming nor denying the statement. Conrad told the women to return to their cellblock and informed Digerud of the incident. Digerud had Michaud takeninto an isolation cell, where she stayed, free from anyone's influence, for roughly an hour.

During that time, Michaud had the opportunity to change her mind about talking to the officers, and was not questioned. In response to a Douglas County detective's call informing them about Michaud's situation, Sergeant Minister and Agent Campion came to speak to her.

After hearing that Michaud and Agoroastos had approached Conrad, the officers had the right to inquire whether she was reinitiating communication. Oregon v. Bradshaw, 462 U.S. 1039, 1045-46 (1983) (no Edwards violation where defendant appeared to initiate further communication by asking an ambiguous question, a police officer reminded him he did not need to talk and defendant said he understood). Campion testified that, prior tolearning Michaud wanted to talk, he had no plans to interview her.

Upon arriving at the interview room, Campion introduced himself and told Michaud he understood she wanted tospeak to someone about something she needed to get off her chest, and asked if that was true. She responded,"I have some information about the young lady who was killed a couple of days ago. Yes."

Campion then showed Michaud her Miranda rights on a written form and read them to her, explaining thatshe had a right to consult with a lawyer for advice before questioning, a right to have a lawyer present during questioning and a right to stop answering the detectives' questions atany time. Only after Michaud indicated that she had something she wanted to say, that she understood her rights andsigned a waiver did Minister and Campion begin to interview her.

From the testimony of Conrad and Michaud, we accept that Michaud was upset, frightened and crying when Agoroastos suggested speaking to somebody about the murder. Although Michaud herself may not have initiated the conversation with Conrad, she went to the gate with Agoroastos, did not resist speaking to authorities and did not contradict what Agoroastos said at any time.

Michaud testified about her recollection of the event as follows: Q: Did Theresa tell you to go see the deputy? A: No. Q: Did Theresa tell you that she was going to take you up to see the deputy? A: No. Q: Why did you go up to see the deputy? A: I didn't go to see the deputy. Q: Did Theresa grab you by the arm and pull youup to see the deputy? A: She had me by the arm. When the door opened, we went out, and she brought me up to the gate, and she told the officer. Q: That you wanted to talk to the police? A: No, she said -- I'm trying to remember howshe said it. I believe she said she had some information about a murder. Q: And you didn't tell the deputy that you didn't,did you? A: I didn't say anything to the deputy at all. Q: You just stood there? A: Yeah, I was upset. Q: You didn't go back to your cell? A: No. Q: You just stayed there? A: With Theresa, yes. Q: And you didn't tell the deputy that you didn'twant to go with him, did you? A: The deputy didn't ask me. Q: You never told the deputy you didn't want to gowith him, did you? A: No, I don't think so. Q: And you never told the deputy that you didn't want to speak to the police, did you? A: I didn't say anything. I didn't know. Q: Well, you were standing right there, you heard precisely what Theresa said because you're ableto repeat it now, right? A: Yes.. . .Q: And you never told the deputy, "No, I don'twant to talk to the police," or, "No, I don't haveany information about a homicide," did you? A: No, I didn't.

In sum, it is clear that Campion's inquiry about Michaud's desire to "get something off her chest " and his and Minister's subsequent questioning of her were triggered byAgoroastos' statements in Michaud's presence that Michaudhad information about a murder she needed to talk about.

The question then is: can Michaud's behavior, under the totality ofthe circumstances, fairly be construed as an initiation by her of further communication with the police, such that the officers' reactions there after did not amount to "police-initiated custodial interrogation"?

As the Supreme Court explained in Edwards:[W]hen an accused has invoked [her] right to have counsel present during custodial interrogation, avalid waiver of that right cannot be established byshowing only that [she] responded to further police-initiated custodial interrogation even if [she ] hasbeen advised of [her] rights... [A]n accused...,having expressed [her] desire to deal with the police only through counsel, is not subject to further inter-rogation by the authorities... unless the accused [herself] initiates further communication, exchanges, or conversations with the police.451 U.S. at 484-85.

Taken together, Michaud's going with Agoroastos to the gate as Agoroastos initiated communication with Deputy Conrad, her apparent agreement with Agoroastos' assertion that Michaud had "information about a murder" she wanted to talk about and Michaud's subsequent behaviorand response to Campion's initial inquiry all indicate that she wanted to talk to the authorities.We therefore hold that the questioning of Michaud was initiated by her, not by the police.

We accept that Edwards and its progeny establish aclear line preventing police initiation. By the same token, however, these cases recognize that the accused may changeher mind and initiate communication. It is a factual question whether that is what occurred.

On these facts, we conclude Michaud initiated, and the police merely reacted to her. They did not seek to speak with her until they were approached with the information that Michaud wished to speak about a murder. The Supreme Court has explained that the rule established in Edwards was "designed to prevent police from badgering a defendant into waiving [her] previously asserted Miranda rights." Michigan v. Harvey, 494 U.S. 344, 350(1990).

At no point did the law enforcement officials unconstitutionally attempt to coerce Michaud into speaking with them. No allegation has been made, nor does any evidence in the record suggest, that Agoroastos was acting on behalf ofthe police, or complicitly with them, when she spoke to Conrad. Michaud was present when Agoroastos represented that Michaud had "information about a murder" she wanted to convey. If Michaud did not want to subject herself to questioning, she could have easily said so.

Conrad, confronted with Agoroastos' information and Michaud's apparent tacita pproval of her cellmate's statements, acted appropriately byceasing his own communication with her and contacting his supervisor. Sergeant Digerud properly informed the investigating officers of the request. Minister and Campion correctly confirmed that Michaud was not being coerced, and that the initiative was hers, by asking her at the start of the taped conversation whether it was true that she wished to speak to them.

They began questioning her only after receiving her affirmative response and informing her of her Miranda rights. Given the propriety of the officers' behavior, we hold that there sumption of interrogation did not violate Michaud's constitutional rights, and was fully consistent with the requirements of Edwards. Our holding is not at odds with United States v. Rodriguez,993 F.2d 1170 (5th Cir. 1993). In Rodriguez, Gary Shaw, oneof a group of co-defendants, called an FBI agent and informed him that the group wanted to speak to him. Id. at 1173.

The agent then took a statement from Rodriguez, one of Shaw'sco-defendants, outside of the presence of his attorney. The court held that Rodriguez had not initiated contact with the authorities, so his subsequent statements were inadmissible. Unlike the circumstances here, there was no indication that Rodriguez assented to Shaw's contention that the group wished to speak to the authorities.

Indeed, Shaw told the FBI agent only that "they" wished to speak to him, not specifying whether Rodriguez was among those expressing this desire. Here, in contrast, Agoroastos purported to speak on behalf of Michaud in Michaud's presence, and Michaud never indicatedthat she disagreed with Agoroastos' representations.

In light of Michaud's acquiescence in Agoroastos' characterization of her wishes, creating the appearance ofMichaud's desire to provide information to the police, Michaud's confirmation in response to Campion's inquiry andthe absence of official coercion, we hold that no constitutional violation occurred and thus affirm the district court's denial of Michaud's motion to suppress.

III.

Michaud also contends that the district court erred in its application of the Sentencing Guidelines. U.S.S.G.§ 2A4.1, the section applicable to kidnapping, abduction and unlawfulrestraint, establishes a base offense level of 24.

One subsection, § 2A4.1(b)(7)(A), states that another offense committedduring the kidnapping requires the court to apply "the offense level from the Chapter Two offense guideline applicable to that other offense if such offense guideline includes an adjust-ment for kidnapping, abduction, or unlawful restraint, or oth-erwise takes such conduct into account." This subsection is toapply if the cross-referenced section would result in a higheroffense level than the sentence resulting from application of § 2A4.1. U.S.S.G. § 2A3.1 applies to criminal sexual abuse ofthe type at issue in this case, and contains a specific enhancement for instances of abuse where the victim was abducted.

In keeping with § 2A4.1(b)(7)(A) the court cross-referenced § 2A3.1 to determine the correct offense level. The base offense level of 27 under that section, adjusted upward by four levels because the offense was committed by the meansset forth in 18 U.S.C. § 2241(a) (aggravated sexual abuse byforce or threat) and an additional four levels due to the abduc-tion, resulted in an offense level of 35.4 Michaud, however, notes that § 2A4.1 contains a separate provision for kidnapping involving the sexual exploitation ofthe victim. See U.S.S.G. § 2A4.1(b)(5). If the court applied this subsection, the resulting offense level would be a base level of 24 for the kidnapping, increased by three levels for the sexual exploitation, resulting in an offense level of 27.

A contrary interpretation, she argues, would render § 2A4.1(b)(5) superfluous. Section 2A4.1(b)(7) states unambiguously that the offense level calculation from the other offense committed during a kidnapping is to apply "if the resulting offense level is greater than that determined" using § 2A4.1. Here, the cross-referenced section resulted in a higher offense level --indeed, that is the sine qua non of this portion of the appeal. We therefore hold that the district court did not err in its application of the Sentencing Guidelines.

CONCLUSION

The law enforcement officers' use of a ruse to arrest Michaud was proper; she failed to prove the existence of collusion between state and federal officials that rendered the delay between her arrest on state charges and her appearance before a federal magistrate violative of her rights under 18U.S.C. § 3501(c); and the police did not initiate questioning after she had invoked her right to counsel.

Accordingly, we affirm the district court's denial of Michaud's suppression motion. We also hold that the district court properly applied the Sentencing Guidelines. AFFIRMED.

REINHARDT, Circuit Judge, dissenting:

I dissent because the facts in this case present a clear cut violation of Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477 (1981), and there is no basis in law for the unprecedented legal theory upon which the majority bases its contrary ruling. As my colleagues recognize, in Edwards, the Supreme Court established a bright-line rule prohibiting the interrogation of a suspect in custody who invokes the right to counsel, "unless the accused himself initiates further communication, exchanges, or conversations with the police." Id. at 485(emphasis added); see also id. at 486 n.9 (stating that authori-ties must show "the necessary fact that the accused, not the police, reopened the dialogue with the authorities"); Collazov. Estelle, 940 F.2d 411, 418 (9th Cir. 1991).

The Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasized that Edwards provides a "rigid," "bright-line" rule, and "clear and unequivocal guide-lines" to law enforcement. Arizona v. Roberson, 468 U.S.675, 681-82 (1988); Michigan v. Jackson, 475 U.S. 625, 634(1986); Smith v. Illinois, 469 U.S. 91, 98 (1984).

Contrary to the majority's position, Michaud clearly did not "initiate" the communications with the police, as required by Edwards. There is no evidence that Michaud ever stated that she wanted to talk to the authorities prior to the time they questioned her. The phone call to Deputy Conrad was made by Michaud's cellmate, Agoroastos, who told the deputy that Michaud "needed to talk to somebody." Agoroastos appears to have reached this conclusion on her own. The majority does not contend that Michaud ever told Agoroastos that she wanted to talk, let alone that she wanted to talk to the police; as the record shows, Michaud merely said to her, "I'm scared.I'm in a lot of trouble."

On that basis, Agoroastos made her decision that Michaud "needed to talk." Michaud never said anything to Agoroastos that suggested that she herself was initiating a conversation with the police, that she desired to do so, or that she wished to talk with anyone at all.

To me, it isclear that it was first Agoroastos, indirectly, and then Deputy Conrad, directly, who initiated the inculpatory exchanges, and that Michaud was not the initiator. Furthermore, even if one were to presume that someone who is in jail and has refused to talk to the police because she desires counsel would, upon discovering that her trouble is worse than she had previously thought, want to talk to someone right away, it is highly unreasonable to assume, as the majority blithely does, that it was the police to whom she wanted to speak.

Obviously, it is far more likely that if Michaud really "needed to talk to somebody," it was to the lawyer to whom she had said she wanted to speak two daysearlier, even before her circumstances worsened. The majority claims that although Michaud remained silent,her conduct evinced a willingness to talk.

In the course ofreaching this unprecedented legal conclusion, my colleagues run roughshod over the facts as well as the law. They fail to acknowledge, for example, that by asking Agoroastos to bring Michaud to the front of the dorm area so that he could talk toher, it was Deputy Conrad who sought to initiate communications with Michaud, not viceversa.

Indeed, Michaud's actions demonstrated only that she was in a state of extreme emotional upset, that she followed all directions she was given, and that she was not volunteering to talk to the police. When, in accordance with Deputy Conrad's directions, Agoroastos took Michaud by the arm and brought her to the gate, Michaud was in a state of acute distress: she was crying, butshe said nothing.

She remained silent even when Agoroastosd iscussed the nature of her criminal problem with Deputy Conrad, and then, subsequently, when she was taken to anisolation cell. She also maintained her silence for the hour inwhich she was left in that cell and after that, when she wasbeing taken by Sergeant Minister from the cell to the interview room.

During all of that time, Michaud remained silent: she never once made any statement or expressed any desire totalk. As Michaud remained silent at all times, she, of course, didnot state to the deputy or her cellmate that she did not want to talk to the police.

The majority argues that this demonstrates Michaud's tacit approval of Agoroastos's statementsand her own willingness to talk, because "she could have eas-ily said" she did not want to "subject herself to questioning."It is true that Michaud could have said so, but she is not required to under Edwards. To the contrary, the rule the majority suggests is in direct violation of the spirit, the pur-pose, and the clear mandate of Edwards.

The whole point of Edwards is that a suspect who has invoked her right to counsel may remain silent, and may not be questioned unless she breaks that silence by initiating communications with the police. She is not required to say anything further until after she consults with counsel (and, in fact, not even then). It is therefore strange indeed that the majority reasons that Michaud's act of remaining silent is precisely what constitutes the initiation of communications with the police. If that becomes the rule, bye-bye Edwards.

The majority argues that the police had the right, under Oregon v. Bradshaw, 462 U.S. 1039, 1045-46 (1983), to clarify whether Michaud was initiating a conversation with them. The problem with this argument is that Bradshaw applies only when the suspect makes a verbal inquiry of the police or otherwise makes a statement that reasonably leads the police to believe that she may desire to talk. In Bradshaw , the defendant asked, "`Well, what is going to happen to me now?' "Id. at 1045. The Court held that Bradshaw's verbal statement-- his question -- rendered it appropriate for the officer toseek to clarify whether the defendant wanted to speak about the crime. Id. at 1046.

In this case, Michaud never made any inquiry of, or statement to, the police at all. She simply remained silent, as Edwards makes clear is her unqualified right. It is one thing to say that a suspect's ambiguous statement may constitute the initiation of an uncounseled interrogation by law enforcement officials and that the police may therefore explore that ambiguity with the suspect; it is another to say that silence can trigger an officer's right to question a suspect, not with standing the suspect's prior assertion of her rights.

Unless we maintain a clear line between a suspect's speech that may be said to initiate exchanges with the police and non-verbal conduct that may not, we will relegate Edwards to the judicial junk pile where so many other enlightened decisions designed to protect individuals' rights now rest. What is required under Edwards is clear -- speech that invites further communication with the police. Conduct (or "behavior" as the majority terms it), ambiguous or otherwise, does not suffice. The majority's ruling to the contrary finds no support in any opinion published in this circuit or any other, or in any Supreme Court decision.

It is irrelevant to the Edwards analysis that Michaud spoke freely and voluntarily after being asked if she wanted to talk. Edwards, 452 U.S. at 484-85; Desire v. Attorney General of California, 969 F.2d 802, 805 (9th Cir. 1992); United States v. Whaley, 13 F.3d 963, 968 (6th Cir. 1994). It is similarly irrelevant that Michaud was reread her Miranda rights after she began to speak. Roberson, 486 U.S. at 685; Desire, 969F.2d at 805.

What is critical to the analysis is the fact that Michaud never said that she wished to talk to the authorities until after: a) she was told to meet the deputy; b) she was placed in an isolation cell; c) she was brought to an interrogation room; and d) Agent Campion asked her if it was true that she had something she wanted to get off her chest. It was only after all of this police-initiated action that Michaud spoke. The majority points to the "absence of official coercion" assupport for its holding that no violation of Edwards occurred.

However, simply because the police do not badger a suspect into answering their questions does not mean that it becomes acceptable for the police to initiate discussions with her after she has asserted her right to counsel.

Edwards is clear. It does not matter in what tone or manner the police speak; the police may not initiate the interrogation of a suspect who has invoked that right. As the Supreme Court stated: "The merit of the Edwards decision lies in the clarity of its command and the certainty of its application." Minnick v. Mississippi , 498 U.S. 146, 151(1990).

If we allow silence and body gestures to constitute "initiation," including failures by upset and confused suspects to comment on the statements of others, the police will beable in most circumstances to find a justification for interrogating persons taken into custody despite their clear and affirmative invocation of the right to counsel. What is then left ofthe "clarity" and "certainty" of Edwards, a "clarity" and "certainty" that we were told as recently as 1990 was the essential benefit derived from the rule? Not much.

In sum, the majority gives a new meaning to the term "bright-line" when it holds that a "bright-line" rule that the defendant must "initiate" the conversation is satisfied by a defendant's silence that constitutes "apparent " agreement, or "creat[es] the appearance of [a] desire," that "indicate[s]" that the defendant wants to do the opposite of what she has previously stated without qualification that she wishes to do. Similarly, if the majority's explanations result in"clear and unequivocal guidelines" regarding the prohibition against further questioning of defendants, we can simply dispense entirely with the concept of "clear and unequivocal guide-lines."

For, in addition to eliminating the bright-line distinction between speech and conduct, the majority creates a new and strange form of "clear and unequivocal" conduct: conduct that is not definitive, but that merely "creat[es] an appearance of" or "indicate[s]," in the perception of the police officers observing it, some kind of "apparent" desire to speak; conduct that, at the very least, would require judges as well as police officers, to attempt to discern, largely on the basis of the actions of third parties, a defendant's unexpressed intentions to surrender her constitutional rights.

I believe that the authorities violated Michaud's Fifth Amendment rights when they interrogated her on December 5, and then again in subsequent interviews on December 6, 7, and 8. Therefore, the statements made on those occasions should be suppressed.

For these reasons, I respectfully dissent.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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