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United States v. Kiam

January 3, 2006; as amended January 18, 2006

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
LONG TONG KIAM APPELLANT



On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (D.C. Criminal No. 04-cr-0436). District Judge: Honorable Stewart Dalzell.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Van Antwerpen, Circuit Judge

PRECEDENTIAL

Argued December 5, 2005

Before: RENDELL, FISHER, and VAN ANTWERPEN, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Appellant Long Tong Kiam was convicted by a jury on November 3, 2004, of three counts of alien smuggling in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(2)(B)(iii). His conviction arose from his arrest at Philadelphia International Airport after bringing three Chinese nationals illegally into the country. On February 4, 2005, the District Court sentenced Kiam to five years imprisonment and two years of supervised release. This appeal stems from the District Court's denial of Kiam's motion to suppress a confession he gave to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent while being questioned at the airport. Kiam contends the confession was invalid under Missouri v. Seibert, 542 U.S. 600, 124 S.Ct. 2601 (2004), because, although it was obtained after Miranda*fn1 warnings were given, Kiam had already given inculpatory statements to another agent without the benefit of Miranda. We disagree and will affirm the District Court's denial of the motion to suppress.

I.

On April 27, 2004, Long Tong Kiam, a Singaporean citizen with a valid Singapore passport, arrived on a Frankfurt-Philadelphia flight at Philadelphia International Airport. He -- along with three Chinese nationals who had been sitting together but apart from Kiam -- was escorted by Customs and Border Protection inspectors to a secondary inspection area.*fn2 In the previous week, Customs and Border Protection agents had uncovered several alien smuggling schemes whose characteristics matched those of Kiam and the Chinese nationals. Each of the Chinese nationals on Kiam's flight had presented Singaporean passports in Frankfurt, although they did not have passports with them in Philadelphia.

Kiam was first interrogated by Customs and Border Protection Senior Inspector Daniel Roman for about twenty five minutes. During the interrogation, Inspector Roman suspected Kiam of lying regarding: (1) whether he had recently traveled to Thailand, Turkey, and Europe, as reflected by his passport; and (2) whether he knew the three Chinese nationals on the airplane who had been traveling together. After Inspector Roman confronted Kiam with discrepancies based upon his passport entries and statements by the Chinese nationals, Kiam admitted that he knew the aliens, and was "illegally help[ing] them enter this country." United States v. Kiam, 343 F. Supp. 2d 398, 401 (E.D. Pa. 2004). Inspector Roman did not give Kiam Miranda warnings at any time during this interrogation.

Inspector Roman then contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which dispatched Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Richard Kozak to the airport. Inspector Roman did not further question Kiam. Upon arrival, Agent Kozak called a Chinese interpreter who determined that Kiam spoke many languages; Kiam indicated that he wished to speak in English. Agent Kozak then administered Miranda warnings, both in English and through the interpreter. Kiam waived these rights and filled out an official waiver form. Over the next three hours Agent Kozak interrogated Kiam about the smuggling scheme, and eventually Kiam described the alleged scheme's mastermind along with their past dealings and the current trip to America. Kiam then wrote down his confession and signed it with amendments. He was subsequently arrested.

Kiam was indicted by a federal grand jury on three counts of alien smuggling. In the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which had jurisdiction pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3231, Kiam sought to suppress the confession he had given to Agent Kozak on the ground that it was elicited through an unconstitutional two-round interrogation strategy which was designed to sidestep his Miranda protection. The District Court denied the motion to suppress on October 22, 2004, holding that while Inspector Roman should have given Kiam Miranda warnings during the first interrogation, any alleged taint from the pre-Miranda statement did not extend into the second, post-Miranda confession. On November 3, 2004, after the written confession was presented at trial along with the testimony of the three Chinese nationals Kiam allegedly smuggled into the country, Kiam was found guilty by a jury of all three counts of alien smuggling. On February 4, 2005, the District Court sentenced Kiam to 60 months imprisonment, a special assessment of $300, and 24 months of supervised release. Kiam now appeals the District Court's denial of his motion to suppress. We have jurisdiction over the appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291.

II.

Our review of the District Court's factual findings in a suppression hearing is for clear error. United States v. Naranjo, 426 F.3d 221, 226 (3d Cir. 2005). Our review of legal rulings ...


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