In a 1998 opinion about suppression of statements made to police officers while in police custody after requesting an attorney. The Court decided that defendant’s statements made to police were admissible.

US v Thornton
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff, v. ERVIN JUNIUS THORNTON II, Defendant.
CRIMINAL NO. 97-50021-01
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN, SOUTHERN DIVISION
17 F. Supp. 2d 686

Decided – September 1, 1998

Opinion by Honorable Paul V. Gadola:

Defendant Ervin Junius Thornton II has filed a motion to suppress his alleged out of court statements made to a law enforcement officer. Defendant argues that these statements should be suppressed at trial due to a violation of his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. On July 23, 24 and August 18, 1998, this Court held an evidentiary hearing on defendant’s motion to suppress. For the reasons set forth below, this Court will deny defendant’s motion to suppress out of court statements.

Explaining:

According to [police lieutenant] Koger’s testimony, Thornton’s statement included the following assertions: that he had been paid $ 10,000 by Jewell Lamont Allen and Tederick Jones for the murder of David Strickland; that the reason for the murder was that Strickland had been indicted and Jewell Lamont Allen was afraid he would talk; that the weapon he used was a nine-millimeter and that Tederick Jones (“Teddy”) conducted surveillance during the murders; that the clothing he wore was a black “ninja-outfit;” that he was involved in drug trafficking; and that he had purchased drugs from Allen.

And:

Defendant further revealed that the weapon he used was a 9 millimeter handgun and that Tederick Jones (“Teddy”) conducted surveillance during the murders. He further admitted he was involved in drug trafficking and that he had purchased drugs from Allen, as well as that the clothing he had used was a black ninja outfit.

What is a black ninja outfit? Is it difference than a black outfit? And should it be hyphenated or not? This Opinion writes it both ways (“ninja outfit” and “ninja-outfit” and it doesn’t really explain what makes the outfit ninja, except that it was used in surreptitious surveillance during a murder-for-hire and related to drug dealing (marijuana and cocaine). The court also can’t decide how to write the gun’s description, “9 millimeter” or “nine-millimeter”. But as with “ninja face masks“, “black ninja hood“, and “ninja pants“, I wonder what is actually being conveyed by this adjective except conclusions of criminal behavior.

Meanwhile, the defendant, Thornton, was convicted at trial and lost his subsequent appeals (See 99-1275). The Supreme Court also denied cert in 2000 (531 U.S. 1179), and a recent 2006 motion for relief of judgment based on claims that evidence should have been suppressed at trial was denied for being untimely and without merit (Thornton v USA, 97-50021).

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