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Bank robbery suspect has some statements suppressed

Post-Miranda statements allowed

A federal judge has suppressed some statements made to police by a man charged with bank robbery.

Defendant Sylvester Reed is accused of robbing the ESL Federal Credit Union in Irondequoit on Dec. 16, 2020.

U.S. District Court Judge David G. Larimer referred pretrial matters in the case to U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark W. Pedersen.

Reed’s lawyers filed motions to suppress physical evidence and statements that he made to police during an interview after his arrest.

Pedersen recommended that Larimer deny the motion to suppress physical evidence and grant the motion to suppress Reed’s statements, but only the statements he made before police read him his Miranda rights.

Pedersen recommended denying the motion to suppress the post-Miranda statements.

The statements Reed sought to suppress were made during a police interview several hours after his arrest.

In an affidavit, Reed wrote that he was in a car accident that day, that he was arrested and taken to a hospital to treat his injuries, that he was released after about four hours and taken to the Public Safety Building in downtown Rochester.

Reed also wrote that he had taken cocaine and heroin that day.

Reed was interviewed by two investigators and the meeting was recorded.

“The interviewers conversed with Reed for about 18 minutes before reading him his rights,” Larimer wrote.

“When he was advised of his rights, Reed stated that he understood his rights and said, ‘I don’t mind’ continuing to speak with investigators,” Larimer wrote.

The interview continued for another 28 minutes, according to the decision.

Reed argued that “it is obvious from the video recording that due to a lack of sleep and his prior drug use, Reed was in no condition to understand or validly waive his rights,” according to the decision.

Reed also argued that the Miranda warning were ineffective because of the questioning that preceded them.

“I am not persuaded by either argument,” Larimer wrote.

“Although Reed was obviously distressed and upset … (Reed) was clearly lucid and aware of what was going on,” Larimer wrote.

Although his answers were sometimes mumbled, they were nonetheless “responsive and coherent,” Larimer wrote.

“His narratives were clear and included specific details about past events. In addition, when asked is he was drunk or high at that moment, Reed said he was not,” Larimer wrote.

“Most importantly, when he was read his rights, Reed showed no sign of confusion or incomprehension, and he affirmatively stated that he did not mind talking to the investigators about the events of that day,” Larimer wrote.

In a decision released Thursday, Larimer wrote that he agreed with Pedersen that Reed “understood the Miranda warnings and knowingly and intelligently waived them.”

“Reed certainly understood his rights, and made a conscious, informed decision to continue the interview and to talk about the events underlying the crime charged,” Larimer wrote.

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