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United States v. Beard

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
119 Fed.Appx. 462 (2005)


Facts

Richmond, Virginia, police officers responded to a domestic disturbance at the home of John Beard (defendant). Upon their arrival, Officer Eugene Provost spoke with Beard’s mother, sister, and brother while Officer Tim Degrauwe spoke to Beard, who was in his bedroom ironing clothes. Provost learned that Beard had threatened his sister with a shotgun. Provost located the shotgun from a vehicle and noticed that it had been sawed off to an illegal length. Provost then went to Beard’s bedroom with the shotgun and signaled to Degrauwe that they needed to arrest Beard. However, there was no evidence that Degrauwe or Beard had seen any such signal. Provost then advised Beard of his Miranda rights, but it is not clear exactly what he said to Beard. Thereafter, Beard confessed to being a convicted felon and that he had the gun for protection. Beard was handcuffed and taken to the police station where he was presented with a Rights Waiver Form, which Beard refused to sign. Beard was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing an unregistered firearm. Beard filed a motion to suppress the confession made in his bedroom. At an evidentiary hearing, Officer Provost was the sole testifying witness, but did not say what he specifically told Beard upon his arrest. Beard’s attorney argued that Provost’s testimony was insufficient to show that he complied with the Fifth Amendment. The prosecution then moved to reopen the record and allow Provost to testify, which was denied by the court. The district court granted Beard’s motion to suppress and the Government appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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