'Shake and Bake' Meth Rumors Lead Cops to Bomb, Miranda Mistake?

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By William Peacock, Esq. on April 19, 2013 4:30 PM

"Shake and Bake," also known as the "One Pot Method," is a procedure for manufacturing methamphetamine. This new meth-making method combines all of the ingredients into a single bottle (such as a Gatorade bottle). The meth maker shakes the bottle, burps out the excess pressure, and hopes that it doesn't explode into a ball of flames.

An informant in Calhoun County witnessed an associate of Lonnie Hodge, Ms. Freeze, using this method. The same informant also told the police officers that Hodge showed him a pipe bomb and a black rifle that the defendant allegedly referred to as an AK-47.

After further investigation, including checking sales of pseudoephedrine (the decongestant commonly used in meth production), and after coordinating with other police departments that were investigating Hodge, the investigating officer obtained a warrant to search Hodge's residence.

When the officers arrived, they knocked down the door and were confronted by the 6' 6" 320 pound Hodge, who was holding a screwdriver and "screaming" incoherently. He was eventually subdued, handcuffed, and removed from the house.

An officer then questioned Hodge about the presence of anything that could hurt officers, such as a meth lab or pipe bomb. Hodge's responses were negative. The department's bomb expert then left. Hodge was questioned about others in the house, just in case someone else might pop up with a weapon or a rifle. Again, nothing.

After a couple minutes of silence, Hodge blurted out something about a bomb in the house. He then provided information on the bomb's location and appearance. The bomb expert was called back disabled the pipe bomb.

Surprisingly enough, no meth lab was found, though other drugs were. The "AK-47" was actually a Marlin .22 rifle.

Hodge argued that the pipe bomb should be suppressed, as he was never read his Miranda rights.

The Sixth Circuit disagreed - citing both the public safety exception of New York v. Quarles and the inevitable discovery doctrine.

In Quarles, the Supreme Court held that "overriding considerations of public safety" could excuse the missed Miranda reading. The Sixth Circuit has never addressed the exception in the context of a bomb. They did, however, address guns in Williams, which requires officers to believe (1) that the defendant had a weapon and (2) that someone else might have access to, and inflict harm with, that weapon.

Hodge argues for the application of the Williams test, as the officers did not show that a third party had access to the bomb. The Sixth Circuit disagreed. Guns don't shoot themselves (hence the required showing of a third party's access). Bombs, especially crude pipe bombs, can explode spontaneously or if improperly handled.

Furthermore, even if Hodge's Miranda rights had been violated, there is still the inevitable discovery doctrine. There was a valid warrant and the police were searching the house for drug paraphernalia. The bomb, which was conspicuously wrapped in a towel in an open location, would have been discovered, even without Hodge's blurting.

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