Court Says Defendant's Confession Voluntary


Case: People v. Carlisle

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )

Issues:

Motion to suppress; People v. Snider; People v. Lanzo Constr. Co.; People v. Hyde; People v. Gibson; U.S. Const. amend. V; Const. 1963, art. 1, § 17; People v. White; Whether defendant’s waiver of his Miranda rights was voluntary; Miranda v. Arizona; People v. Cipriano; United States v. Doe (7th Cir.); Rodriguez v. Texas; United States v. Hemphill (SD OH)

Summary:

Holding that the totality of the circumstances demonstrated defendant’s waiver of his Miranda rights was voluntary, the court reversed the trial court’s complete suppression of his statements. However, it affirmed the trial court’s suppression of his statements prior to his waiver of Miranda, and remanded. On appeal, the prosecution argued that the trial court abused its discretion in finding that defendant’s confession was involuntary. It contended that the video of the interview clearly revealed that defendant was not coerced and there was no testimony from him that he felt he was coerced. Thus, it argued, the trial court’s ruling should be reversed. Defendant responded that the trial court properly considered the totality of the circumstances, and focused on the fact that the deputy was masked and threatened his pregnant girlfriend in determining that the statement was involuntary. “There is no case law supporting plaintiff’s argument that the use of a masked interrogator is not coercive.” Where the prosecution failed to call him to testify, defendant asserted that the prosecution could not argue that the absent testimony did not show coercion. The issue was whether his waiver of his Miranda rights was voluntary. He argued that the officer’s wearing of a ski mask was “deceitful, coercive, and intimidating,” however, he could not point to anything in the record that could lead the trial court to conclude that the officer’s appearance was so coercive that his desire not to waive his rights was overborn. The court cautioned that the legal conclusions reached in its opinion were specific to this case and this particular set of facts. It concurred with the trial court and found that the line of statements from the detective about defendant’s girlfriend did not support a finding that the statements made by defendant were the result of coercion. During oral argument on this matter, the prosecution conceded that any statements made by defendant before the reading and waiver of his rights under Miranda were inadmissible. The court agreed.

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