Joyner v. State

Decision Date29 November 2012
Docket NumberNo. 1173,Sept. Term, 2011.,1173
Citation56 A.3d 787,208 Md.App. 500
PartiesCarlton Everette JOYNER v. STATE of Maryland.
CourtCourt of Special Appeals of Maryland


Michael R. Braudes (Paul B. DeWolfe, Public Defender, on the brief), Baltimore, MD, for Appellant.

Robert Taylor, Jr. (Douglas F. Gansler, Atty. Gen., on the brief), Baltimore, MD, for Appellee.

Panel: KEHOE, BERGER and LAWRENCE F. RODOWSKY, (Retired, Specially Assigned), JJ.


A jury in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County convicted Carlton Everette Joyner, appellant, of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. The trial court sentenced appellant on July 15, 2011, imposing concurrent sentences of four and five years respectively.

Appellant filed a timely appeal and presents the following questions:

1. Did the trial court err in denying Appellant's motion to suppress his statement to police?

[208 Md.App. 503]2. Did the trial court fail to properly exercise discretion, or in the alternative abuse its discretion, in refusing to permit a defense witness to testify?

3. Did the trial court err in permitting Nicole Edwards to testify as an expert when the State failed to disclose her as such in discovery?

4. Did the trial court err in permitting the State to play an audiotape of alleged telephone calls from prison by Appellant in the absence of proper authentication?

For the reasons set forth below, we shall affirm the judgments of conviction.

Background 1
Hearing on Motion to Suppress

Appellant filed a pre-trial motion to suppress pursuant to Md. Rule 4–252. A hearing on this motion was conducted, at which Detective Kevin McConnell of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department testified.2 Detective McConnell testified that on November 4, 2010, members of a drug enforcement task force executed a search warrant at 825 Marcy Avenue in Oxon Hill, and recovered crack cocaine, marijuana and associated paraphernalia.3

Appellant gave a statement while in police custody, and the appellant moved to suppress his statement. At the hearing on the pre-trial motion to suppress, Detective McConnell's testimony provided the context in which the statement was given:

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: It says here at 8:24 on November 4th, 8:24 in the morning, Mr. Joyner was advised of his rights. How did you ascertain that that was the time?

[THE WITNESS]: We were in the process of transporting Mr. Joyner to the correctional facility and we were in an unmarked vehicle. My partner, [an] ATF Special Agent ... was driving. Mr. Joyner and I were seated in the back seat. He was handcuffed. And en route, he started the conversation. I stopped him as he began to speak, you know, thinking that he was going to give some information, and I wanted to do things properly. So I stopped him, advised him of his rights and noted the time on my Sprint telephone. So it was approximately 8:24 hours.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Now, there's an arrest report here in which they report that you are the arresting officer?

[THE WITNESS]: Yes, sir.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: A Prince George's County report. And they're saying the time of the arrest was 8:26 in the morning.

[THE WITNESS]: Okay. Like I said, it was approximate. I wasn't familiar with the P.G. County computer system that was operating, and I had one of the correctional officers ... that was assisting me.

* * *

THE COURT: I think we moved from the search warrant to the statement. And the issue is what time was the statement given.

[THE WITNESS]: The statement was given in the car on the way to transporting. The arrest paperwork was filled out at the correctional facility some time later after 8:50 hours, because that's what time that pretty much the conversation stopped in reference to me advising him of his rights and him making statements to me.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Now, was there any attempt made to get a written waiver from Mr. Joyner?

[THE WITNESS]: Like I said, he was handcuffed in a vehicle that was equipped to transport prisoners. It was just a four door unmarked sedan.

And while we were doing the arrest paperwork at the computer terminal, after we set down at the terminal, we had no more contact with Mr. Joyner. He was off being processed.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: I see. So, basically, did anybody else witness these statements besides you?

[THE WITNESS]: Myself and Special Agent [ ] with the ATF.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: He is not available today, I take it?

[THE WITNESS]: No, he isn't, sir.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Now, you have various comments written down here, and some of them that could be termed as incriminating.

[THE WITNESS]: Yes, sir.

On cross-examination by the prosecutor, Detective McConnell explained how appellant was advised:

Just verbally. I stated to him basically stating the obvious, that he's in handcuffs, being transported, he's under arrest. He's not free to go, and that he had a right to remain silent. Anything he said could be used against him in court. He has a right to an attorney. If he wants to talk to us now and answer questions, he can do so. He can stop answering at any time. Just, you know, just verbally. Also, that if he started answering questions and got to a question that he didn't want to answer, we would just move on. Or we might not have any questions for him at all and he can just tell me what happened today and what brought him here.

Detective McConnell testified that appellant had no questions about his rights, and that he had never asked to speak with an attorney. Appellant responded affirmatively when the Detective McConnell asked whether he understood everything. The detective also raised the possibility of cooperation:

When I had finished up at approximately 8:50 hours, I told him at some later point in time, if he wanted to get with his attorney and do some work for us, his attorney will get with the State's Attorney and maybe we could work something out.

On re-direct examination by defense counsel, Detective McConnell emphasized that his recitation of the Miranda4 rights “covered all the major points.” He was certain of this because he's “read it several times. I know you don't have to—it doesn't have to be read verbatim, but you do have to cover all the major points in it. It doesn't have to be done in any specific order. You just have to cover all the bases.”

After the detective's testimony, defense counsel maintained that the appellant's statements to the detectives should be suppressed. Defense counsel argued that:

Regarding the statements of Mr. Joyner, Mr. Joyner was not asked to—was not asked at any point in time for any kind of written waiver, although that is the normal course definitely for the authorities in this area, in Prince George's County. And anybody who would be acting on their behalf, which I'm taking this task force to be acting in their behalf. And that's the standard that tells us that somebody has intelligently waived their rights.

Secondly, the fact is even Detective McConnell admits—I hope I got that right—admits that the statements themselves were not delivered in a classic form that had been approved by authorities but, instead, were given more or less in a more informal manner, perhaps sounding somewhat piecemeal and without any real assurance that they were all given or that Mr. Joyner would have known what exactly he was doing, nor that he would have received a warning that would have made him realize that the things he was saying were being recorded.

And I think the fact is the testimony did indicate at some point he talked about contact with President Obama, which indicated the lack of seriousness with which he was holding the conversation.

For that reason, I submit that Mr. Joyner did not have an intelligent waiver of his rights, and we ask the Court to suppress the statements he made that the state now wish to use against him.

Following argument from the prosecutor, defense counsel added:

Your Honor, just that I think the procedural safeguard is really what we're arguing herein that what Prince George's County has found to be a proper procedural safeguard was not followed in this case. And basically what we're saying is that we have to take the word of a person and that proper procedures which would assure us that the protections were provided have not been followed in both cases. Both in the deliverance of any possible Miranda-style warning[.]

The motions court denied appellant's motions to suppress. The court explained its ruling as follows:

As for the statements made in the back of the police car, while not exactly a blurt, in fact not a blurt, it may have started out that way. Eventually, the advisement to the defendant who apparently was not the first time he heard those words, certainly not on TV, understood clearly what he was saying. And when the police detective began writing it down, he got a little apprehensive and stopped. Outside of that, I see no legal reason whatsoever to grant the motion to suppress at this point.

Trial Testimony

Shawn Arthur testified as an agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (“BATF”). He was on duty on November 4, 2010 at about 6:00 a.m., participating in the execution of a search warrant at 825 Marcy Avenue, ApartmentT–3, in Oxon Hill. Agent Arthur recounted that, upon entering the apartment he encountered appellant and “took [him] into custody.” The agent then searched the hallway closet and the kitchen area, and recovered $600 in United States currency from the pocket of an Eddie Bauer winter coat. He also located a digital scale on the top right shelf of a kitchen cabinet.

James Harris testified as an Agent with the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. Agent Harris also participated in the execution of the search warrant at the apartment where the appellant was arrested. Appellant was the only adult male in the apartment when Agent Harris entered, although there was a woman and children present. He located “multiple empty Ziploc bags” and discovered an additional...

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