Clark v. State, 2123

CourtCourt of Special Appeals of Maryland
Citation140 Md. App. 540,781 A.2d 913
Docket NumberNo. 2123,2123
PartiesHadden Irving CLARK, v. STATE of Maryland.
Decision Date26 September 2001

781 A.2d 913
140 Md.
App. 540

Hadden Irving CLARK,
STATE of Maryland

No. 2123, Sept. Term, 1999.

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

September 26, 2001.

781 A.2d 917
Michael R. Braudes and Margaret L. Lanier, Assistant Public Defenders (Stephen E. Harris, Public Defender, on the brief), Baltimore, for appellant

Ann N. Bosse, Assistant Attorney General (J. Joseph Curran, Jr., Attorney General, Baltimore, and Douglas Gansler,

781 A.2d 918
State's Attorney for Montgomery County, Rockville, on the brief), for appellee

Submitted before SALMON, THEODORE G. BLOOM (Ret., specially assigned) and RAYMOND G. THIEME (Ret., specially assigned), JJ.

781 A.2d 914
781 A.2d 915

781 A.2d 916
SALMON, Judge.

In October 1999, Hadden Clark ("Clark") was convicted of the murder of Michelle1 Dorr ("Michelle"). Prosecutors were able to obtain a second-degree murder conviction despite the fact that Michelle's body had not then been located.

After Clark filed this timely appeal, he elected to cooperate with Montgomery County, Maryland, authorities. On January 7, 2000, Clark led police to a wooded ravine near Route 29 in Silver Spring, Maryland. There the police found Michelle's grave site.

In this appeal, Clark does not contend that the State failed to produce sufficient evidence to prove he murdered Michelle. Instead, he contends that the lower court committed reversible error in failing to dismiss his indictment, failing to strike jurors for cause, failing to suppress various items of evidence that were (allegedly) illegally obtained, improperly admitting evidence against him, and improperly restricting his counsel's cross-examination of certain key witnesses.

Part I of this opinion summarizes evidence introduced at trial, as well as testimony considered at numerous motions hearings held prior to trial. We have excluded many facts that do not concern the issues raised in this appeal.


On Saturday, May 31, 1986, Michelle Dorr, age six, disappeared. That disappearance caused an intensive investigation by the Montgomery County police. Widespread media attention was also focused upon Michelle's disappearance.

Immediately prior to her disappearance, Michelle had been staying with her father, Carl Dorr, at his home on Sudbury Road in Silver Spring, Maryland. One house separated the home of Geoffrey Clark, appellant's brother, from Carl Dorr's home. Living with Geoffrey Clark at the time of Michelle's disappearance was his daughter, Elizabeth, and appellant. Elizabeth was about Michelle's age and her frequent playmate.

Carl Dorr reported Michelle missing to the police shortly after 4 p.m. on May 31, 1986. He told the police that when he last saw his daughter she had been in a wading pool in his backyard, dressed only in a pink and white polka-dot bathing suit. He said he discovered her missing about 4 p.m. Initially he thought that she might be playing with Elizabeth Clark, but her father told him that he and Elizabeth had not returned home until about 3 p.m. and that they had not seen Michelle that day.

Shortly after Michelle's disappearance, Mr. Dorr told the police that he was not sure exactly when he had last seen his daughter, but he knew it was after she had eaten lunch. He initially estimated that he saw her last about 1 p.m., but afterwards his time estimates varied.

Appellant worked, on May 31, 1986, as a chef at the Chevy Chase Country Club ("the Country Club") located on Connecticut Avenue in Montgomery County. On that day, according to later trial testimony, he was in the process of moving out of his brother's home on Sudbury Road. That home is about ten minutes driving distance

781 A.2d 919
from the Country Club. Records kept by the Country Club show that at 2:46 p.m. on May 31 appellant started work.

During the first two weeks of June 1986, police intensively canvassed the neighborhood where Mr. Dorr lived in an attempt to find witnesses who might have information about Michelle's disappearance. Among those interviewed were Jonathan Binder and his wife. The Binders lived at 9127 Sudbury Road, which was between the Clark's and the Dorr's residences. The Binders told the police that on May 31, between 11:30 a.m. and 12:20 p.m., they left their home to go to a baptism. Before they left, Mr. Binder saw appellant moving a duffle bag and a trunk into his white pickup truck.

O'Neil Cammock was working for the Binders on May 31, starting at 8 a.m. In the afternoon, after he had finished his work, he went to the Clarks' residence to use a phone.

Mr. Cammock was interviewed by a police officer on June 9, 1986. The officer's notes regarding that interview read as follows:

Left the Binder residence, then used phone at Clark residence. A male, does not know his name, was at the house and let him in the residence via the side door. Used the phone in the kitchen.
Said this white male had a small white female with him and that it was not Michelle. After using the phone in an attempt to get a ride home, he left and walked home.
Stated the white man was still at the house with the white female child, packing things in the truck.

Within nine days of Michelle's disappearance, Montgomery County police detectives interviewed appellant twice. On June 5, Detective Wayne Farrell saw appellant loading his white pickup truck in the driveway at Geoffrey Clark's residence. Officer Farrell stopped, and appellant told him that he had been at his brother's home on the day of Michelle's disappearance but had only been there for approximately two minutes to feed his rabbits. According to Detective Farrell, appellant was "preoccupied" at the time of the first interview, and accordingly, the first interview was brief.

Three days later, appellant was questioned more intensely by the police. Appellant told Detective Farrell and another police officer that he had been at his brother's home between 1:30 and 1:45 p.m. on May 31 and had allowed a man, fitting Mr. Cammock's description, to use the telephone. When the questioning segued to matters dealing specifically with Michelle's disappearance, appellant's demeanor changed—according to later trial testimony of police officers who were present.

During the second interview, appellant asked to use the bathroom. While in the bathroom, appellant cried and vomited. When one of the police officers asked him to talk about what he had done to Michelle, appellant replied, "I don't know. I may have blacked out. I may have done something." Afterwards, appellant held his head and rocked back and forth and said, once again, "I may have done something. I may have blacked out." Appellant then asked to speak with his psychiatrist. The police granted the request. After a conversation with his psychiatrist, appellant asked to leave police headquarters, and he was permitted to do so.

Despite appellant's strange behavior during the second police interview, he was not, initially, the prime suspect in the disappearance. Michelle's father was. Accordingly, Mr. Dorr was subjected to frequent and extremely intense questioning by the police. The lead investigator, Lieutenant Michael Garvey, later admitted that he "played on [Mr. Dorr's] emotions" and was

781 A.2d 920
[e]xtremely aggressive to the point where we would yell and scream. I would yell and scream at him. I would use profanity. I would accuse him of things [such as killing Michelle and being a negligent father]. Basically just to break him down as best I could, get him emotionally upset and then come back and ask questions of what he did or what he thought. I would use the tactic of just suppose something happened and tell me how you think it would happen....

In addition to conducting such interrogations, police kept Mr. Dorr under surveillance, tapped his phone, reviewed his bank and video rental records, questioned his employers, co-workers, friends, neighbors and family, and used "outside private search agencies."

During the weeks and months following Michelle's disappearance, Mr. Dorr had a series of nervous breakdowns. He had delusions that he was Jesus Christ and was capable of bringing Michelle back to life. He was hospitalized, and when he was released, the police continued to investigate him. He then suffered another mental breakdown.

Mr. Dorr made several incriminating statements to the police during the course of their investigation. In one statement, he claimed to have suffocated Michelle and put her body in a sewer; in another, he said that he had buried her near his father's grave.

In May of 1988, Michelle's mother made an appearance on "America's Most Wanted" and told a national television audience that Mr. Dorr had killed their daughter. When Mr. Dorr saw the program, he went to his ex-wife's house and demanded to be let in, saying that he knew where Michelle was and the truth was going to "burn a hole in your soul."

In October 1992, Laura Houghteling disappeared. Ms. Houghteling was a twenty-three-year-old resident of Montgomery County. Appellant had, at one time, worked as a handyman at the Houghteling residence. Laura Houghteling's disappearance, like Michelle's, provoked great media attention in the Washington metropolitan area.

By the latter part of October 1992, appellant had become the prime suspect in the disappearance of both Laura Houghteling and Michelle. Appellant was questioned by the police on October 24, 1992, about both of the disappearances.

On October 31, 1992, appellant unexpectedly arrived at the Rhode Island home of his sister, Allison Huggins. In later testimony, Ms. Huggins described her brother as appearing "very disheveled and very nervous ... very agitated." She had never before seen him that way. Appellant told her that the police were "trying to pin a crime on him because he was a homeless man." On the same day, appellant went to the Clark family plot in a cemetery in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, where he camped for the night.

Appellant returned to Maryland shortly after his trip to...

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    • October 26, 2012 the interview, and (6) whether he was detained or arrested or, instead, permitted to leave after the interview.Clark v. State, 140 Md.App. 540, 569, 781 A.2d 913, 930 (2001) (citing Whitfield, 287 Md. at 141, 411 A.2d at 425). “All of these factors are relevant to ascertaining the determ......
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