27 N.Y.2d 327, People v. Taylor

Citation:27 N.Y.2d 327, 318 N.Y.S.2d 1
Party Name:People v. Taylor
Case Date:January 06, 1971
Court:New York Court of Appeals

Page 327

27 N.Y.2d 327

318 N.Y.S.2d 1

The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent,


Ronald TAYLOR and Curtis Taylor, Appellants, et al., Defendant.

New York Court of Appeals

January 6, 1971.

Page 328

[318 N.Y.S.2d 2] Herbert S. Siegel, New York City, for Ronald Taylor, appellant.

Otto F. Fusco, New York City, for Curtis Taylor, appellant.

Burton B. Roberts, Dist. Atty. (Bennett M. Epstein, New York City, of counsel), for respondent.


The question raised in this appeal is whether certain inculpatory statements made by the appellants were elicited by law enforcement officials in violation of their right to counsel under prior decisions of this court.

On March 22, 1968, one Bernhard W. West was killed during a street assault and robbery in Bronx County. The police investigation of this incident was conducted by a Detective Russo who on April 10, 1968 learned that appellants Ronald and Curtis

Page 329

Taylor herein and a third defendant, Gail White (who is not a party to the instant appeal) had been arrested for a robbery with a Modus operandi similar to that used herein. On April 11, Russo went to the Women's House of Detention where Gail White had been incarcerated pending trial for the unrelated robbery. He informed her that he was investigating a case where a man had been 'cut and robbed' in The Bronx and advised her of her rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694. She agreed to talk without a lawyer and made a statement implicating the appellants and herself in the West murder. Thereafter, on April 16, 1968, she was brought to the office of Assistant District Attorney Goldsmith, advised of her rights and made another statement. That same day, the appellants were taken to Mr. Goldsmith's office. Each was advised of his rights, both verbally and by signing a form after having read the same. Thereupon, both appellants gave detailed incriminating statements and were subsequently indicted for the murder of Bernhard West. In January, 1969, a pretrial Huntley hearing was conducted on appellants' motion to suppress the aforesaid statements. The court found that the Taylor brothers and Gail White had waived their rights under Miranda, but, relying on People v. Vella, 21 N.Y.2d 249, 287 N.Y.S.2d 369, 234 N.E.2d 422, suppressed all the statements because they had been assigned counsel when they were arraigned on the unrelated robbery charge. On an appeal by the People, the Appellate Division unanimously reversed (34 A.D.2d 530, 309 N.Y.S.2d 59) on the authority of our decision in People v. Stanley, 15 N.Y.2d 30, 255 N.Y.S.2d 74, 203 N.E.2d 475 and ordered that the motion to suppress [318 N.Y.S.2d 3] be denied. The case is here on a certificate issued by an Associate Judge of this court.

Appellants argue that the trial court properly suppressed the incriminating statements and ask us to reinstate that order. We disagree. In People v. Stanley, 15 N.Y.2d 30, 255 N.Y.S.2d 74, 203 N.E.2d 475...

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