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Accused Presho kidnapper wants evidence suppressed

Clinton Brown

PRESHO -- The defense lawyer for a Presho man accused of kidnapping and abusing his 10-year-old daughter has objected to a federal judge's recommendation not to suppress certain evidence in the case.

Edward G. Albright, attorney for Clint Brown, filed a written objection Tuesday to U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Moreno's recommendation to deny Albright's motion to suppress evidence, including firearms, drugs and drug paraphernalia, seized by authorities who executed three search warrants between Aug. 17 and Aug. 22.

In federal felony cases, a magistrate judge will often conduct any hearings on pretrial matters of evidence and makes a recommendation to a district judge.

Brown, 36, was indicted in December by a federal grand jury on one count of being a felon and drug user in possession of a firearm.

Brown is alleged to have been in possession of a Remington 12-gauge shotgun and a Tarus .22-caliber rifle, both of which were recovered as a result of the search warrants in question.

Brown has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to stand trial in April. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Brown's kidnapping and abuse case in Lyman County is on hold while this federal case proceeds.

The federal charge is related to the same alleged series of events that led to Brown being indicted in August by a Lyman County grand jury for allegedly kidnapping his 10-year-old daughter Aug. 17, then choking her, firing a gun near her head and striking her with the butt of a gun. He was also charged for an incident on Aug. 15, his daughter's birthday, when he allegedly shot her dog in front of her.

Brown was allegedly under the influence of methamphetamine and marijuana at the time of the incidents.

The search warrants in question were granted to Lyman County Sheriff Steve Manger and Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Jason Jares. Brown's trailer house in Presho and two pickups parked outside were searched.

In a report filed Jan. 31, Judge Moreno found there had been probable cause to issue search warrants, despite Albright's argument the warrants violated Brown's constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures.

In Albright's written objection, filed Tuesday, he argues there were errors with the Aug. 17 search warrant issued to Sheriff Manger, including that the search warrant and its supporting affidavit didn't say the property to be searched belonged to Brown.

"The search warrant does not even have Clint Brown's name mentioned anywhere in it," Albright's objection says.

Albright also argued Manger's warrant, meant to be used in a search for firearms, illegal drugs and any evidence related to a domestic violence incident, was based on unconfirmed reports from a Lyman County deputy, the grandmother of Brown's daughter and Brown's girlfriend.

"The two firearms at issue in this case were recovered during the Aug. 17, 2012, search, and therefore, must be suppressed," the objection says.

Because the next two search warrants were based in part on information from the first search, Albright argues they are "fruit of the poisonous tree," and should also be rejected.

In a response filed Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Maher supports the judge's recommendation not to suppress the evidence.

Albright also argues a statement Brown made to a Lyman County deputy shortly after his arrest should be suppressed.

According to various court documents, Brown, when asked by Lyman County Deputy Don Jennings for a urine sample for a drug test, allegedly said that his urine "is going to melt right through that cup."

Albright asserts there was no search warrant for Brown's urine and Brown was never advised of his Miranda rights before giving the sample.

In the response, U.S. Attorney Maher argues law enforcement doesn't need a warrant to take a urine sample if there is probable cause. And, Maher argues, Brown's statements should not be suppressed, as they were "spontaneous and voluntary," and not said during an interrogation.