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Defendant was in custody while being questioned, so statements taken without Miranda warnings must be suppressed

State v. Brandon D Andre Burnside, 2013AP1293-CR, District 1, 4/29/14 (not recommended for publication); case activity

Under the totality of the circumstances, a reasonable person in Burnside’s position would not have believed that he could stop police questioning and leave. Therefore, the statements he made to the police before they administered Miranda warnings must be suppressed.

Burnside was stopped by police investigating a fatal shooting. (¶¶4, 14). Police took him from his car and locked him in the back of a squad car, where he sat for forty minutes. (¶¶4, 14). After a detective asked Burnside “to meet with me in my car so I could interview him,” he was taken from the locked squad car and placed  in the front of the detective’s unmarked car. (¶¶5, 14). Burnside was not handcuffed, but after thirty minutes of questioning the police towed Burnside’s car and the detective told Burnside he wanted to continue questioning him at the police station. (¶¶6, 14).

Burnside agreed to go to the station and an officer drove him there in a squad car. (¶¶6, 15). When Burnside arrived at the police station, the police put him in an interview room with police officers outside the open door. (¶¶7, 16). Burnside had to wait there for the detective. (¶¶7, 16) The detective arrived, moved Burnside to another room, and continued questioning him for a couple of hours before arresting him for obstruction. (¶¶7-8). At no time during these interactions was Burnside read his Miranda rights.

¶16     … Under all these circumstances, a reasonable person would not have felt free to: leave the locked squad car, walk away from [Detective] O’Day when O’Day put him in the front of O’Day’s car, or when he was placed in first one and then another interview room simply walk out of the police administration building. In the words of Miranda that we quoted earlier, the police deprived Burnside “of his freedom of action in a[] significant way.” See Miranda [v. Arizona], 384 U.S. [436,] 444 [(1966)]. Indeed, Miranda specifically recognized that there is an inherent “compulsion to speak in the isolated setting of the police station.” Id., 384 U.S. at 461. The trial court’s legal conclusion that Burnside was not in custody during O’Day’s questioning was wrong. Accordingly, everything that Burnside told O’Day must be suppressed. See Miranda, 384 U.S. at 479.

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