244 S.E.2d 410 (N.C. 1978), 87, State v. Butler

Docket Nº:87.
Citation:244 S.E.2d 410, 295 N.C. 250
Party Name:STATE of North Carolina v. Willie Thomas BUTLER, a/k/a Top Cat.
Case Date:June 06, 1978
Court:Supreme Court of North Carolina

Page 410

244 S.E.2d 410 (N.C. 1978)

295 N.C. 250

STATE of North Carolina


Willie Thomas BUTLER, a/k/a Top Cat.

No. 87.

Supreme Court of North Carolina.

June 6, 1978

Page 411

Rufus L. Edmisten, Atty. Gen. by Thomas F. Moffitt, Associate Atty. Gen., Raleigh, for the State of North Carolina.

Michael A. Ellis and R. Gene Braswell, Goldsboro, for defendant-appellant.

HUSKINS, Justice:

Defendant assigns as error the admission of his inculpatory statement to FBI Agent David C. Martinez, made while in custody and without benefit of counsel. He contends the incriminating statement is inadmissible because he had not waived his constitutional right to the presence and assistance of counsel, relying on Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966), as interpreted and applied by this Court in State v. Blackmon, 280 N.C. 42, 185 S.E.2d 123 (1971). This constitutes his first assignment of error and requires examination of the proceedings on voir dire and the findings of the court based thereon.

FBI Agent Martinez testified on voir dire that he arrested defendant at 1225 Sheraton Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, on a fugitive warrant on 3 May 1977. He was immediately and fully advised of his constitutional rights and transported to the New

Page 412

Rochelle office where he was again advised of his rights. Defendant, who had an eleventh grade education, then took the "Advice [295 N.C. 253] of Rights" form and read it himself. He was asked if he understood his rights and he replied that he did. As to signing the "Waiver of Rights" printed at the bottom of the form, defendant said "he didn't want to sign this form and that he didn't want to sign anything." He was told that it was not mandatory that he talk and that he didn't have to sign the form but that "we would like for him to talk to us." Defendant replied: "I will talk to you but I am not signing any form." FBI Agent Martinez then made a notation on the form that defendant refused to sign it.

Since defendant had stated he would talk to Officer Martinez, he was then asked "if he had participated in the armed robbery and he stated that he was there but that he did not actually participate as such in the armed robbery. We asked him to explain a little further and he stated that he and an accomplice had been drinking heavily that day and were walking around and decided to rob a gas station. They came up...

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