FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
PUERTO RICO [Hon. Francisco A. Besosa, U.S. District Judge]
Camille Lizarribar-Buxó on brief for appellant.
Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney,
Mariana E. Bauzá-Almonte, Assistant United States
Attorney, Chief, Appellate Division, and John A. Mathews II,
Assistant United States Attorney, on brief for appellee.
Howard, Chief Judge, Boudin and Lynch, Circuit Judges.
BOUDIN, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
with importation of controlled substances, possession with
intent to distribute, and conspiracy, 21 U.S.C. §§
841(a)(1), 846, 952(a), and 963, Teofilo Tineo-Gonzalez
("Tineo") pled guilty unconditionally after the
start of trial. He now appeals his conviction, arguing that
prior to his plea the district court erred in denying his
motion to suppress certain incriminating statements. The
facts are as follows.
October 3, 2015, Tineo and at least three other individuals
traveled from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico in a
small boat loaded with hundreds of brick-shaped packages that
contained, in total, over 210 kilograms of cocaine and 2
kilograms of heroin. As they finished unloading, private
security personnel from a nearby hotel arrived at the scene,
followed by Puerto Rico police officers. Tineo had fled but
was captured a few hours later.
arresting officers allegedly read Tineo Miranda
warnings and took him to a local precinct where he was
interviewed by the Puerto Rico police and later by DEA
agents. See Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444
(1966). The DEA agents reportedly again read Tineo
Miranda warnings, secured a written waiver, and
obtained incriminating statements, most importantly, that
Tineo had indeed traveled to Puerto Rico in the boat later
found to have contained large quantities of drugs.
October 29, 2015, after Tineo was indicted, the court ordered
that pretrial motions be filed "no later than fourteen
(14) days before the trial date." Later, Tineo's
trial was set for March 28, 2016. On February 9, the
government filed its designation of evidence, including
statements Tineo had made to the DEA. On March 23, the
government filed an amended designation of evidence, which
included Tineo's statements to the Puerto Rico police. On
March 25, three days before trial, Tineo moved to suppress
the statements made to the police, arguing that the Puerto
Rico police did not in fact read him his Miranda
rights and coerced and intimidated him.
first day of Tineo's trial, prior to jury selection, the
district court ruled that Tineo had long known of his
incriminating statements and could have moved to suppress
them before the scheduling order's deadline. Then, after
the jury was sworn in, Tineo entered a straight guilty plea
on all counts with no condition or reservation and no plea
agreement with the government. He was later sentenced to 151
months' imprisonment as to each count, to be served
appeal, Tineo argues that the district court abused its
discretion when it denied his motion to suppress as untimely
without reaching the merits of his claim of Miranda
violations. The argument fails. Tineo's motion to
suppress was filed well after the district court's
explicit deadline for pretrial motions.
deadlines are common in the management of trials--last minute
suppression motions can cause havoc for counsel and witnesses
alike--and, in this case, the deadline was more than
generous. Tineo knew of the circumstances surrounding his
statements and had nearly five months between the scheduling
order and the deadline to make his motion. The brief implies
that Tineo had no obligation to make any motion until it
became clear (one might think it always inevitable) that the
prosecutor would offer the statements made to the Puerto Rico
"[o]rdinarily a guilty plea, entered
unconditionally--that is, without reserving an issue or
issues for appeal--establishes guilt and forfeits all
objections and defenses." United States v.
Gonzalez, 311 F.3d 440, 442 (1st Cir. 2002) (citation
omitted). Exceptions to this forfeiture rule exist,
in general the rule bars challenges based on
"case-related constitutional defects that 'occurred
prior to the entry of the guilty plea.'"
Class, slip op. at 6-7 (citing Blackledge,
417 U.S. at 30).
present appeal falls squarely within the latter category.
See United States v. Castro-Vazquez, 802 F.3d 28,
32-33 (1st Cir. 2015). By pleading guilty at trial, Tineo
waived his right to challenge the denial of a motion to
suppress "filed on the eve of trial." Id.
at 30; see also Haring v. Prosise, 462 U.S. 306, 321
(1983); Menna, 423 U.S. at 63 n.2. How Tineo
expected to challenge the statements made to the police,
where the warnings ...