United States v. Gowadia

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 07-28-2014
  • Case #: 11-10058
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge McKeown for the Court; Circuit Judges Hawkins and Bea
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the McNabb-Mallory rule, admission of a confession is not barred if the confession was obtained within six hours of arrest; also, if the confession occurred before presentment and beyond six hours, the court must decide whether the delay was unreasonable or unnecessary, and if it was, the confession should be suppressed.

Noshir Gowadia appealed his conviction for “unlawfully exporting defense services and technical data related to the design of the B-2 stealth bomber and other classified government projects.” Gowadia worked at Northrop Corporation on the design of the B-2, specifically leading the design of a system that enables the B-2 to avoid detection. After leaving Northrop, Gowadia started his own consulting business and marketed a similar system. Gowadia disclosed classified information to several foreign individuals, and established a “working relationship with the Chinese government.” Gowadia provided information regarding “how a Chinese cruise missile, if modified with Gowadia’s designs, would perform against a United States AIM-9 class missile.” Federal agents received a search warrant, and conducted interviews with Gowadia. At each interview, Gowadia signed an Advice of Rights form, and was told “that he was ‘free to leave,’ that he could ‘terminate’ the interviews, [and] that he was ‘not under arrest.’” Gowadia provided detailed notes to the agents regarding his activities and admitting wrongdoing. Gowadia was later arrested and convicted. Gowadia argued on appeal that his inculpatory statements should have been suppressed because of an “unnecessary or unreasonable delay in presentment” before a magistrate judge. The Ninth Circuit applied the McNabb-Mallory rule for analysis. McNabb-Mallory does not bar the admission of a confession if the confession was obtained within six hours of arrest. If the confession “occurred before presentment and beyond six hours,…the court must decide whether the delay was unreasonable or unnecessary, and if it was, the confession [should] be suppressed.” The panel determined that Gowadia could not invoke McNabb-Mallory because he was not under arrest or detention when he was interviewed. Furthermore, Gowadia voluntarily supplied the notes with confessions, and was informed of his rights. The panel therefore affirmed Gowadia’s conviction. AFFIRMED.

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