Myers v. State, 154

CourtCourt of Special Appeals of Maryland
Citation240 A.2d 288,3 Md.App. 534
Docket NumberNo. 154,154
PartiesThomas Willis MYERS v. STATE of Maryland.
Decision Date03 April 1968

Ralph C. Boyd, Glen Burnie, for appellant.

Edward S. Digges, Asst. Atty. Gen., with whom were Francis B. Burch, Atty. Gen., Baltimore, Julian B. Stevens, Jr., and Ronald M. Naditch, State's Atty. and Asst. State's Atty. for Anne Arundel County, respectively, Annapolis, for appellee.


MURPHY, Chief Judge.

The appellant, Thomas W. Myers, was convicted on January 25, 1967 of first degree murder by the court sitting without a jury and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Maryland Penitentiary. He contends on this appeal that the trial court erred in admitting his oral confession in evidence since it was obtained in violation of the principles enunciated in Miranda v. State of Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694.

The evidence adduced at the trial established that on April 23, 1966, the body of Agnes Greb was discovered in a wooded section of Anne Arundel County by two young boys. The victim's death was caused by wounds received from a .22 caliber shell. An investigation conducted by the Anne Arundel County Police revealed that appellant was with the deceased on the night of April 22 at the Halfway House. The investigation also revealed that the appellant owned a .22 caliber rifle and that laundry slips found near the victim's body belonged to him. As a result of this investigation, appellant became the prime suspect.

On May 10, 1966 at approximately 6:00 a. m., Detective Gilbert Majerowicz and Sergeant Jerome Bozek, dressed in civilian clothes and operating from their police car, undertook to locate the appellant. At 7:00 a. m. that morning they observed him walking on the street. The officers approached him and called out, 'Myers, Police, we want to talk to you.' The appellant hesitated briefly and then came over to the car and entered the back seat. Sergeant Bozek identified himself to the appellant as a police officer, displaying his badge. He then asked appellant if he had been to the Halfway House or White Gabels, two local taverns, to which he answered, 'no.' Asked if he were sure, the appellant replied, 'oh, yeh.' When further questioned as to whether he had ever given a woman a ride from the Halfway House, the appellant replied, 'no,' but then added, 'oh, you mean that woman I took to Annapolis?' The appellant further stated to the officers that he had taken a woman to Annapolis at her request and that from there he had gone to a Little Tavern shop. Throughout the period of this questioning, the police car was moving toward police headquarters. The appellant was physically shaking at this time, and Sergeant Bozek 'decided to ask him a question for reaction.' Accordingly, he inquired of the appellant, 'Tom, why did you kill that woman?' to which he replied, 'I, I killed her, this won't get Nick in any trouble, will it?' (The 'Nick' to whom appellant had reference was the owner of the Halfway House.) As they proceeded in the police car toward headquarters, appellant told the officers that the victim had attempted to blackmail him and the he had shot her several times with a rifle after which he hid her body and clothing.

The appellant was not informed by the officers prior to making his oral confession in the police car of his privilege against self-incrimination and right of counsel, as postulated by the Miranda decision. After he had orally related the details of the crime to the officers while in the moving police vehicle, the appellant took them to the scene of the crime, after which he was taken to police headquarters, where a written confession was taken from him.

At the trial the appellant's motion to suppress the written confession was granted. The court denied appellant's motion to suppress the oral confession, it being of the opinion that appellant was not under arrest, but only accosted, at the time he made his oral confession in the police car and that, consequently, the giving of Miranda warnings was not a prerequisite to the admission of the oral statement.

In Miranda, it was held at page 444, 86 S.Ct. at page 1612 that 'the prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from custodial interrogation of the defendant unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination.' 1 Since the State failed to demonstrate the use of any 'procedural safeguards' prior to the obtaining of appellant's oral confession, the issue for determination is whether the statement was the product of 'custodial interrogation' within the meaning of Miranda. 'Custodial interrogation' was defined in Miranda as 'questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way.' 384 U.S. at page 444, 86 S.Ct. at page 1612.

We consider the reach of the term 'custodial interrogation' in Gaudio v. State, 1 Md.App. 455, 468, 230 A.2d 700, and there noted that the evils with which the Miranda court was primarily concerned were: (1) the holding of a defendant incommunicado in an isolated setting; (2) sweeping him from familiar surroundings into police custody; (3) surrounding him with antagonistic forces; and (4) subjecting...

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  • Commonwealth v. Cunningham
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • February 28, 1977
    ...... . . On April 25,. 1973, and again on May 24, 1973, appellant spoke with state. policemen and discussed Hoffman's possible involvement in. the crime. On June 7, 1973, with the ... Commonwealth v. Marabel, 445 Pa. 435, 441--42, 283. A.2d 285, 288 (1971), quoting Myers v. State, 3. Md.App. 534, 536, 240 A.2d 288, 290 (1968). . . 2. The June 7, 1973 ......
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    ...345-46, 96 S.Ct. 1612, 1615-1616, 48 L.Ed.2d 1 (1976); Mills v. State, 278 Md. 262, 267, 363 A.2d 491, 494 (1976); Myers v. State, 3 Md.App. 534, 537, 240 A.2d 288, 291 (1968). See also Smith, The Threshold Question in Applying Miranda: What Constitutes Custodial Interrogation?, 25 S.Car.L.......
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    • April 8, 1969 be in custody. Even one who comes to a police station voluntarily may be regarded as in custody. (Cases cited).' Myers v. State of Maryland, 3 Md.App. 534, 240 A.2d 288, involved a factual situation similar to that presented in the case with which we are here concerned. There, police off......
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    • United States
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    • July 1, 1975
    ...Commonwealth v. Moody, 429 Pa. 39, 239 A.2d 409 (1968); Roybal v. People, 178 Colo. 259, 496 P.2d 1019 (1972). In Myers v. State, 3 Md.App. 543, 538, 240 A.2d 288 (1968), Chief Judge Murphy held for this Court that placing a suspect in a police car and interrogating him as that car moved to......
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