162 P.3d 1106 (Utah 2007), 20050676, State v. Tiedemann

Docket Nº20050676.
Citation162 P.3d 1106, 2007 UT 49
Opinion JudgeDURRANT, Justice, writing for the majority:
Party NameSTATE of Utah, Plaintiff and Appellee, v. Edgar TIEDEMANN, Defendant and Appellant.
AttorneyMark L. Shurtleff, Att'y Gen., Laura B. Dupaix, Asst. Att'y Gen., T. Langdon Fisher, William Kendall, Salt Lake City, for plaintiff., Linda M. Jones, Heidi Buchi, Heather Brereton, Patrick W. Corum, Salt Lake City, for defendant.
Case DateJune 29, 2007
CourtSupreme Court of Utah

Page 1106

162 P.3d 1106 (Utah 2007)

2007 UT 49

STATE of Utah, Plaintiff and Appellee,

v.

Edgar TIEDEMANN, Defendant and Appellant.

No. 20050676.

Supreme Court of Utah

June 29, 2007

Third District, Salt Lake The Honorable Judith S. Atherton No. 021912452

Page 1107

Mark L. Shurtleff, Att'y Gen., Laura B. Dupaix, Asst. Att'y Gen., T. Langdon Fisher, William Kendall, Salt Lake City, for plaintiff

Linda M. Jones, Heidi Buchi, Heather Brereton, Patrick W. Corum, Salt Lake City, for defendant

DURHAM, Chief Justice:

INTRODUCTION

¶ 1 Edgar Tiedemann is charged with three counts of murder, a first degree felony. This court granted Tiedemann's petition for interlocutory appeal from two pretrial orders. First, he appealed the pretrial order denying his motion to suppress statements allegedly obtained in violation of the state and federal constitutions and Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966). Second, Tiedemann appealed the order denying his motion to dismiss based on the State's destruction of potentially exculpatory evidence.

BACKGROUND

¶ 2 The State alleges that on November 2, 1991 Tiedemann shot and killed Susan Sessions, Charles Timerberman, and Scott Bunnell.1 Sessions, Timerberman, and Bunnell were staying at Tiedemann's West Valley trailer home for the night. Following the shootings, the police took Tiedemann into custody where two police officers, Detective Ron Edwards and Sergeant Ed Spann, questioned him about the killings. In the course of questioning, Tiedemann confessed to the murders.

¶ 3 The interrogation was videotaped and transcribed in part. The officers began the interrogation by reading Tiedemann his Miranda

Page 1108

rights. When asked if he understood his rights, Tiedemann answered in the affirmative.2 The officers then asked Tiedemann if he understood that he could stop the questioning at anytime, to which he responded "ya." The officers then asked Tiedemann if he still wished to speak with them at that time, and Tiedemann agreed. When asked by the officers if he was intoxicated, Tiedemann stated that he was intoxicated on Toluene, a paint thinner. The officers proceeded with the interrogation.

¶ 4 As the officers continued the questioning, they asked Tiedemann about the shootings. Specifically, Detective Edwards asked, "What happened to [Ms. Sessions]?" Tiedemann answered, "I don't want to talk about it." Detective Edwards responded, "You don't want to talk about it?" and Tiedemann responded, "No." Sergeant Spann, attempted to clarify exactly what Tiedemann did not want to talk about by asking, "What is it that you don't want to talk about?" Before Tiedemann responded, Sergeant Spann continued with, "You said murders in West Valley, where in West Valley?"

¶ 5 Sergeant Spann tried again to clarify Tiedemann's response by asking, "[w]hat part do you and what part don't you want to talk to us about?" Again, before Tiedemann clarified, Detective Edwards asked, "Edgar do you remember me reading [you your] rights earlier and you signing a waiver for us to search your home?" Tiedemann answered, "Ya." Detective Edwards continued questioning Tiedemann about the murders.

¶ 6 During the course of the interrogation, Tiedemann stated that he had "all kinds" of "mental problems." He informed the officers of a stroke he had in 1988. He told the officers, "I think I'm Adolf Hitler." He also claimed that "the devil" told him to shoot the victims. At the end of the interrogation, Tiedemann affirmed that the police had not threatened him or promised anything, but that he made the statements of his own free will. The entire interrogation lasted less than one hour.

¶ 7 The State originally charged Tiedemann with two counts of aggravated murder and one count each of attempted aggravated murder, aggravated kidnaping, and aggravated sexual assault. The charges were dismissed seven months later after Tiedemann was declared incompetent to stand trial. At that time, the State did not anticipate refiling charges because, based on his competency evaluation, Tiedemann was unlikely to ever be found competent to stand trial. Tiedemann was then civilly committed to the Utah State Hospital.

¶ 8 Two years later, in April 1994, the state evidence custodian notified the investigating officer that physical evidence from the case would be destroyed unless an objection was filed within thirty days. The officer made no objection, and the evidence was destroyed. The destroyed evidence included two revolvers, a Code R kit, a victim's wallet, heroin, an audio tape, a blood specimen, a make-up kit, drug paraphernalia, various items of victims' clothing, bedding, a bone fragment found on one victim's bed, a bottle of green liquid, a one gallon can of Toluene, .38 and .22 caliber bullets, bullet fragments, shell casings, hair and saliva samples, and gunshot residue from Tiedemann and one of the victims.

¶ 9 Not all of the evidence was destroyed. The evidence given to the defense in this proceeding included autopsy photos and reports on all three victims, toxicology reports on the victims, a rape report from St. Mark's Hospital, photos taken of weapons and ammunition, firearm analysis reports, transcripts of interviews taken from one of the shooting victims and the sexual assault victim, witness statements, a videotape of the interview with the sexual assault victim, and a videotape and photos of the crime scene.

¶ 10 In October 2002, the district attorney's office was notified that Tiedemann was going to be released from the Utah State Hospital. The State subsequently recharged him with three counts of murder, declining to refile the other felony counts. Following a preliminary hearing, the trial court found Tiedemann competent to stand trial and denied

Page 1109

his pretrial motions to suppress his testimony and to dismiss the case due to destruction of evidence. This court granted Tiedemann's petition for interlocutory appeal from both rulings. We have jurisdiction pursuant to Utah Code section 78-2-2(3)(h) (2002).

STANDARD OF REVIEW

¶ 11 In reviewing the trial court's denial of Tiedemann's Motion to Suppress Illegally Obtained Statements, we review the trial court's factual findings for clear error and we review its conclusions of law for correctness. State v. Troyer, 910 P.2d 1182, 1186 (Utah 1995).

¶ 12 Whether the State's destruction of potentially exculpatory evidence violates due process is a question of law that we review for correctness. "However, because this question requires application of facts in the record to the due process standard, we incorporate a clearly erroneous standard for the necessary subsidiary factual determinations." Chen v. Stewart, 2004 UT 82, ¶ 25, 100 P.3d 1177.

ANALYSIS

¶ 13 This case presents two issues: first, whether Tiedemann validly waived his Miranda rights and, if so, whether he subsequently, unambiguously invoked his right to remain silent; and second, whether the destruction of evidence in this case violated Tiedemann's due process rights under the state and federal constitutions. The court addresses these issues as follows: Part I of this opinion treats the Motion to Suppress the Confession as it relates to (A) whether Tiedemann waived his right to remain silent, and (B) whether Tiedemann subsequently reinvoked his right to remain silent; Part II deals with the destruction of evidence. This opinion contains the majority as to Part IA. The majority opinion of the court as to Part IB is contained in the separate opinion of Justice Durrant, joined by Justices Nehring and Parrish. The dissenting view in Part IB of this opinion is mine alone. Part II of this opinion contains the majority view of the court on the destruction of evidence question. In a separate opinion, Justice Wilkins dissents as to Part IB and as to Part II.

I. MOTION TO SUPPRESS THE CONFESSION

¶ 14 We first address whether the district court was correct in denying Tiedemann's request to suppress his confession. Tiedemann argues that he never gave a voluntary waiver of his right to remain silent, but rather, that the police took advantage of his known mental impairment to improperly evoke a waiver and confession from him. Tiedemann also argues that, even if he gave a valid initial waiver, he later unambiguously raised his right to remain silent, and the officers failed to honor that request in violation of his due process rights.

¶ 15 This court addressed the threshold requirements for a valid waiver of Miranda rights and a subsequent invocation of those rights in State v. Leyva, 951 P.2d 738 (Utah 1997). Leyva firmly established that "[t]he questions of waiver of Miranda rights and of postwaiver invocation of those rights are entirely separate." Id. at 743. We therefore address Tiedemann's initial waiver and the subsequent raising of his right to remain silent separately. If the initial waiver was not valid, the statements must be suppressed. If, however, the initial waiver was valid, we must determine if Tiedemann later validly invoked his right to remain silent.

A. Tiedemann's Initial Waiver Was Valid

¶ 16 With regard to the initial waiver of Miranda rights, this court has noted, in accordance with federal case law, that a " 'heavy burden' rests on law enforcement officers 'to demonstrate that the defendant knowingly and intelligently waived' his Miranda rights." Leyva, 951 P.2d at 743 (quoting Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 475, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966)). The burden therefore rests on the State to show that a suspect's waiver of Miranda rights was clear and unambiguous, as well as voluntary.

¶ 17 In this case, the interrogating officers read Tiedemann his rights and asked him if he understood them. Tiedemann, although

Page 1110

appearing distant and with his head lowered, answered in the affirmative. Further, Tiedemann responded in the affirmative to each of the following questions: (1) "Do you...

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71 practice notes
  • 357 P.3d 586 (Utah App. 2015), 20140397-CA, Wasatch Cnty. v. Okelberry
    • United States
    • Utah Court of Appeals of Utah
    • 6 août 2015
    ...courts and [appellate] court[s].'" State v. Hoffmann, 2013 UT App 290, ¶ 52, 318 P.3d 225 & n.7 (quoting State v. Tiedemann, 2007 UT 49, ¶ 37, 162 P.3d 1106). However, " [i]ndependent analysis must begin with the constitutional text and rely on whatever assistance legitimate s......
  • State v. Sarbacher, 122320 IDSCCR, 47280
    • United States
    • Idaho United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • 23 décembre 2020
    ...may critically prejudice a defendant. State v. Delisle, 648 A.2d 632, 643 (Vt. 1994); see also State v. Tiedemann, 162 P.3d 1106, 1117 (Utah 2007). Others have focused on the unfair effect of Youngblood, when it "substantially increases the defendant's bur......
  • Wasatch County v. Okelberry, 080615 UTCA, 20140397-CA
    • United States
    • Utah Court of Appeals of Utah
    • 6 août 2015
    ...district courts and [appellate] court[s]''' State v. Hoffmann, 2013 UT App 290, ¶ 52 & n.7, 318 P.3d 225 (quoting State v. Tiedemann, 2007 UT 49, ¶ 37, 162 P.3d 1106). However, ‚[i]ndependent analysis must begin with the constitutional text and rely on whatever assistance legitimate sou......
  • Vol. 23, No. 5, 10. Utah Standards of Appellate Review - Third Edition.
    • United States
    • Utah Bar Journal Nbr. 2010, January 2010
    • 1 janvier 2010
    ...Standard A trial court's conclusions of law in criminal cases are reviewed for correctness. See State v. Tiedemann, 2007 UT 49, ¶ 11, 162 P.3d 1106; State v. Lowe, 2010 UT App 156, ¶ 5, 234 P.3d 156; State v. Perkins, 2009 UT App 390, ¶ 8, 222 P.3d 1198. "Correctnes......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
62 cases
  • 357 P.3d 586 (Utah App. 2015), 20140397-CA, Wasatch Cnty. v. Okelberry
    • United States
    • Utah Court of Appeals of Utah
    • 6 août 2015
    ...courts and [appellate] court[s].'" State v. Hoffmann, 2013 UT App 290, ¶ 52, 318 P.3d 225 & n.7 (quoting State v. Tiedemann, 2007 UT 49, ¶ 37, 162 P.3d 1106). However, " [i]ndependent analysis must begin with the constitutional text and rely on whatever assistance legitimate s......
  • State v. Sarbacher, 122320 IDSCCR, 47280
    • United States
    • Idaho United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • 23 décembre 2020
    ...may critically prejudice a defendant. State v. Delisle, 648 A.2d 632, 643 (Vt. 1994); see also State v. Tiedemann, 162 P.3d 1106, 1117 (Utah 2007). Others have focused on the unfair effect of Youngblood, when it "substantially increases the defendant's bur......
  • Wasatch County v. Okelberry, 080615 UTCA, 20140397-CA
    • United States
    • Utah Court of Appeals of Utah
    • 6 août 2015
    ...district courts and [appellate] court[s]''' State v. Hoffmann, 2013 UT App 290, ¶ 52 & n.7, 318 P.3d 225 (quoting State v. Tiedemann, 2007 UT 49, ¶ 37, 162 P.3d 1106). However, ‚[i]ndependent analysis must begin with the constitutional text and rely on whatever assistance legitimate sou......
  • 463 P.3d 705 (Utah App. 2020), 20180109-CA, State v. Powell
    • United States
    • Utah Court of Appeals of Utah
    • 16 avril 2020
    ...surveillance footage. See Scott, 2020 UT 13, ¶36, 462 P.3d 350. Powell has not met this burden. [¶51] In State v. Tiedemann, 2007 UT 49, 162 P.3d 1106, our supreme court set out a two-part analysis for addressing due process claims under the Utah Constitution based on......
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9 books & journal articles
  • Vol. 23, No. 5, 10. Utah Standards of Appellate Review - Third Edition.
    • United States
    • Utah Bar Journal Nbr. 2010, January 2010
    • 1 janvier 2010
    ...Standard A trial court's conclusions of law in criminal cases are reviewed for correctness. See State v. Tiedemann, 2007 UT 49, ¶ 11, 162 P.3d 1106; State v. Lowe, 2010 UT App 156, ¶ 5, 234 P.3d 156; State v. Perkins, 2009 UT App 390, ¶ 8, 222 P.3d 1198. "Correctnes......
  • Table of Cases
    • United States
    • Trial Manual for Defense Attorneys in Juvenile Delinquency Cases
    • 23 juin 2014
    ...Thomas, 536 S.W.2d 529 (Mo. App. 1976), 30.07(d) State v. Tidwell, 775 S.W.2d 379 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1989), 22.03(d) State v. Tiedemann, 162 P.3d 1106 (Utah 2007), 9.09(b)(6) State v. Uriarte, 194 Ariz. 275, 981 P.2d 575 (Ariz. App. 1998), 27.11 State v. Vandiver, 257 Kan. 53, 891 P.2d 350 (......
  • Vol. 23, No. 4, 10. Utah Standards of Appellate Review - Third Edition.
    • United States
    • Utah Bar Journal Nbr. 2010, January 2010
    • 1 janvier 2010
    ...2008 UT 63, ¶12, 194 P.3d 925. (12) Whether defendant's waiver was clear, ambiguous, and notcoerced. See State v. Tiedemann, 2007 UT 49, ¶¶ 18-19, 162P.3d 1106. (13) Whether a detective made threats, promises, misrepresentations,or used trickery during an interrogation. ......
  • Pretrial Discovery
    • United States
    • Trial Manual for Defense Attorneys in Juvenile Delinquency Cases
    • 23 juin 2014
    ...loss or destruction of evidence critical to the defense does violate due process, even in the absence of bad faith”); State v. Tiedemann, 162 P.3d 1106, 1115–17 (Utah 2007) (rejecting Arizona v. Youngblood’s “bad faith” requirement on state constitutional grounds). As long as the evidence h......
  • Request a trial to view additional results