The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARY LITTLE PARELL
This matter comes before the court on motion by defendants, Gi Hun Jen, An Di Li, Chun Ming Li and Ming Shan Lu, to extend the scope of this Court's prior ruling to suppress evidence seized as the result of the illegal search conducted at a warehouse located at 239 Barrow Street in Jersey City on May 24, 1993. Specifically, defendants move to suppress statements obtained from individuals found inside the warehouse, as well as any testimony by these individuals offered by the government at trial, on the basis that this evidence is directly or indirectly derived as the result of the illegal search conducted at the warehouse. For the following reasons, the motion is granted.
Most of the facts relevant to the determination of this motion are contained in a Memorandum and Opinion filed by this Court on November 23, 1993.
On May 24, 1993, officers with the Jersey City Police Department illegally entered onto and into a warehouse located at 239 Barrow Street in Jersey City. As a result of their illegal entry, the officers found approximately sixty-one individuals of Chinese descent inside the warehouse. In response to this discovery, the officers contacted the United States Immigration & Naturalization Service ("INS"). Several INS agents were sent to investigate the matter. The INS agents arrived at the warehouse and conducted an investigation there which revealed that the sixty-one individuals were illegal aliens from China. Based upon interviews with some oth the individuals, the government received information to the effect that approximately fifty-seven of these individuals were being held inside 239 Barrow Street against their will until payment was made for their release and that at least four of the remaining individuals were responsible for maintaining order and preventing escape. These four remaining individuals are the defendants who have filed the instant motion.
Since the time they were discovered at the warehouse, the sixty-one individuals, with the exception of the four defendants herein, have either been detained by the INS or released on bail pending a deportation determined by the INS. However, on September 9, 1993, upon application by the government, material witness arrest warrants were issued for four of these individuals. The arrest warrants were issued on the basis that it was unlikely that these four individuals, if released on bail, would reappear to testify at the trial in this case or even that they could be located again.
To date, the government has produced the statements of fifty-six of the individuals found inside the warehouse and has indicated that it intends to introduce at trial the testimony of at least those four individuals who have been arrested as material witnesses.
The exclusionary rule bars the admission of evidence which has been obtained as the result of an illegal search. Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383, 58 L. Ed. 652, 34 S. Ct. 341 (1914). The rule operates to exclude not only physical evidence seized as the result of an illegal search, but also evidence which is derived directly or indirectly as the result of an illegal search. Nardone v. United States, 308 U.S. 338, 341, 84 L. Ed. 307, 60 S. Ct. 266 (1939). Verbal evidence, including in-court testimony, which is derived directly or indirectly as the result of illegal conduct is no less subject to suppression than the more common tangible type of evidence. Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471, 9 L. Ed. 2d 441, 83 S. Ct. 407 (1963); United States v. Ceccolini, 435 U.S. 268, 275, 55 L. Ed. 2d 268, 98 S. Ct. 1054 (1978); United States v. Scios, 191 U.S. App. D.C. 254, 590 F.2d 956 (D.C. Cir. 1978).
This Court has already determined that the entry onto and into the warehouse located at 239 Barrow Street was illegal. Prior to this illegal search, the police had no information indicating that there were illegal aliens inside the warehouse or that any criminal activity was going on inside the warehouse. The police had no information which would have otherwise led them to discover the illegal aliens at the warehouse. The fact that the police were assisting the telephone company to investigate suspected telephone fraud does not indicate that the police would have discovered those individuals inside the locked warehouse. Thus, the discovery, arrest and detention of the individuals discovered inside the warehouse were all a direct result of the illegal search conducted at the warehouse. Therefore, the statements and the proposed trial testimony of these individuals are the direct, or at least indirect, result of the illegal search. United States v. Rubalcava-Montoya, 597 F.2d 140, 143 (9th Cir. 1978); United States v. Ramirez-Sandoval, 872 F.2d 1392, 1396-99 (9th Cir. 1989).
In opposition to defendants' motion, the government first argues that the exclusion of the testimony of these witnesses does not further the purpose of the exclusionary rule because these witnesses are "crime victims" and, thus, evidence of their statements and testimony should not be Suppressed as tainted by the illegal search. In support of its argument, the government relies on Satchell v. Cardwell, 653 F.2d 408 (9th Cir. 1981). In Satchell v. Cardwell, the Ninth Circuit stated in a footnote that where evidence consists of the testimony of a rape victim, such evidence would probably not be excluded as the "fruit" of a poisonous tree:
Where this court has suppressed [testimonial] evidence, the testimony was that of persons implicated in the criminal activity revealed by the illegal search; the court stressed that there was no indication that they would have come forward of their own volition or been discovered through another source. United States v. Rubalcava-Montoya, 597 F.2d 140, 143-44 (9th Cir. 1978). The situation is different ...