Defendant's Confession Admitted at Trial


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Case: People v. Marek

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )

Issues:

Admissibility of confession; Right against self-incrimination; U.S. Const. amend. V; Const. 1963, art. 1, § 17; People v. Cortez (On Remand); Whether defendant was in custody; People v. Coomer; Whether defendant waived his constitutional right against self-incrimination voluntarily, knowingly, & intelligently; People v. Tierney; Failure to call a false confession expert; Failure to request a jury instruction about the requirement that police record custodial interrogations; MCL 763.8(1) & (2); Admission of evidence of a prior conviction; People v. Steele; People v. Snyder (After Remand); People v. Sabin (After Remand); MRE 609; Whether the prior conviction was more prejudicial than probative; Effect of a violation of MCR 6.201

Summary:

The court held that the trial court did not err by admitting defendant-Marek’s statement to the police. He was not in custody when he made the statement, and he made it voluntarily. Finally, the trial court did not err by admitting evidence of his prior home invasion conviction to impeach his credibility. He was convicted of two counts of CSC I and sentenced as a fourth habitual offender to concurrent prison terms of 25 to 45 years. While he argued that evidence of his confession was not admissible, the court held that the trial court properly concluded that he was not in custody because he “was not significantly deprived of his freedom while speaking with the police.” He chose to go to the police station to speak with the police about the sexual abuse allegations. “The manner and length of questioning were ordinary, and the police did not restrict” his freedom of movement. He testified that “he could have stopped speaking with the police at any time and was free to leave at any time,” and he left at the end of the interview. These facts supported the trial court’s conclusion that he was not subject to a custodial interrogation. Even if he were in custody, “the police adequately advised him of his rights,” and he voluntarily made the challenged statements. Trooper G testified that “Marek indicated that he understood all of his rights when he signed the ‘advice of rights’ sheet before he confessed to abusing [the victim]. Marek confirmed that he could have left without saying anything and without writing out a confession. [G] denied promising or suggesting leniency, saying that he would tell an interviewee that he did not have the authority to offer lenience.” The facts showed that “Marek chose to speak to the police voluntarily” after being adequately advised of his rights. Thus, given the totality of the circumstances, the trial court did not err by finding that he made voluntary police statements. Affirmed.

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