CA9: Not clearly established that County of Riverside violation warrants suppression

It was not clearly established that a County of Riverside violation of allegedly delaying a probable cause determination to gather more evidence was subject to suppression. Even Riverside doesn’t say that it is. Thus, the district court’s determination counsel wasn’t ineffective for not challenging it was not a violation of clearly established law for 2254 purposes. Wooten v. Montgomery, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 15954 (9th Cir. May 19, 2020):

Wooten next challenges his attorney’s failure to move to suppress his confession on the grounds that it was obtained after police unreasonably delayed Wooten’s probable cause determination. See Cty. of Riverside v. McLaughlin, 500 U.S. 44, 56 (1992) (holding that the Fourth Amendment prohibits delaying a probable cause hearing “for the purpose of gathering additional evidence to justify the arrest”). Wooten argues that police obtained his confession by unlawfully delaying his probable cause hearing on the weapon charge in order to question him about a different crime (Johnson’s murder), so his confession would have been suppressed if his counsel had filed the appropriate motion.

Even assuming deficient performance, a state court could reasonably conclude that Wooten was not prejudiced by his counsel’s failure to file a motion under McLaughlin, because suppression was unlikely. In Powell v. Nevada, 511 U.S. 79 (1994), the Supreme Court left open whether suppression is an appropriate remedy for a McLaughlin violation. See id. at 85 n.*. And the Supreme Court has held that under AEDPA, “[i]t is not an unreasonable application of clearly established Federal law for a state court to decline to apply a specific legal rule that has not been squarely established by [the Supreme] Court.” Richter, 562 U.S. at 101 (quotations omitted).

Wooten’s reliance on People v. Jenkins, 19 Cal. Rptr. 3d 386 (Ct. App. 2004), does not demonstrate prejudice under AEDPA. Even assuming this state case is relevant to our analysis under AEDPA, Jenkins suppressed inculpatory statements after the defendant was arrested for one crime but questioned “about another crime for which there was no probable cause to arrest him.” Id. at 394.

Here, we agree with the district court that a reasonable jurist could conclude there was probable cause to arrest Wooten for murder based on Toussaint informing police that Wooten shot Johnson, where Toussaint’s account was corroborated by the fact that he and Wooten were later arrested for unlawfully carrying a firearm while traveling together in the same car. Because a reasonable jurist could determine there was probable cause to arrest Wooten for Johnson’s murder, a reasonable jurist could distinguish this case from Jenkins and conclude suppression was unwarranted.

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