Oliver v. US, No. 92-CF-61.

Docket NºNo. 92-CF-61.
Citation656 A.2d 1159
Case DateApril 13, 1995
CourtCourt of Appeals of Columbia District

656 A.2d 1159

Lisa OLIVER, Appellant,
v.
UNITED STATES, Appellee.

No. 92-CF-61.

District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

Argued April 7, 1994.

Decided April 13, 1995.


656 A.2d 1160

Jo-Ann Wallace, Public Defender Service, with whom James Klein, Samia Fam, Eduardo Juarez, and Stephanie Garriga, Public Defender Service, were on the brief, for appellant.

Ann K.H. Simon, Asst. U.S. Atty., with whom J. Ramsey Johnson, U.S. Atty. at the time the brief was filed, and John R. Fisher, Roger W. Burke, Jr., and Clendon H. Lee, Jr., Asst. U.S. Attys., were on the brief, for appellee.

Before FERREN and STEADMAN, Associate Judges, and GALLAGHER, Senior Judge.

Opinion for the court by Associate Judge STEADMAN.

Dissenting opinion by Associate Judge FERREN at p. 1173.

STEADMAN, Associate Judge:

Appellant challenges the warrantless police entry into her home which resulted in the retrieval of a kidnapped baby. We conclude, as reflected in the trial court's ruling, that the entry and seizure of the baby were justified by emergency circumstances and hence lawful under the Fourth Amendment. The identification of the baby as the kidnapped baby sufficiently attenuated the taint of appellant's conceded illegal seizure to make appellant's subsequent confession admissible into evidence. Accordingly, we affirm appellant's conviction of the offense of kidnapping.1

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURE

At approximately 1:15 p.m., on Monday, October 23, 1989, Charlotte Braxton, the nursing assistant on duty at the boarder baby2 nursery at the D.C. General Hospital, returned from lunch and noticed that an

656 A.2d 1161
eighteen-day-old baby boy was missing. When she had left for lunch, "Karen," a first-time volunteer, and Anna Denkins and Cornell Benjamin, lunch-hour volunteers from the D.C. National Guard, had been watching the babies in the nursery. Braxton informed the nurse in charge that she was leaving for lunch. While normally a member of the hospital staff was around the nursery, all three volunteers had left the nursery by the time Braxton returned from lunch and the only person present in the nursery at that time was another volunteer

Detective Renager Lee and his partner responded to a radio run for the apparent kidnapping. Their investigation focused on appellant, Lisa Oliver, after Detective Vernon Jones received a telephone call from a Ms. Washington later in the evening.3 Ms. Washington told the detective that she had spoken with appellant on the telephone the previous day, and that appellant had said she was going to have her labor induced. Ms. Washington explained that she had become suspicious of appellant's story when she spoke with appellant again earlier that day and appellant had told her appellant had delivered the baby at 11:00 a.m., but had brought him home immediately because of the kidnapping at D.C. General Hospital.

Sometime near midnight on October 23, an investigative team consisting of Lieutenant Biglow, Sonja Harper, Detective Hammon, and Detective Jones brought Anna Denkins to appellant's home to see whether she could identify appellant as "Karen," the nursery volunteer.4 Denkins told the officers that appellant was heavier, shorter, and lighter-complected than "Karen" and was not the woman with whom she remembered volunteering. Denkins and the officers left appellant's home. Within the hour, however, they

656 A.2d 1162
returned to attempt to identify the baby.5 Denkins also could not identify the baby. She explained that the baby missing from the nursery had unusual reddish, tapered hair, whereas the baby at appellant's home had browner, curlier hair. Before Denkins and the police officers left appellant's home, appellant mentioned that Dr. Worth6 had delivered her baby that day at Howard University Hospital

The next morning, Detective Rufus A. Jenkins, Jr. became involved with the kidnapping investigation. After reviewing the case file and reports of the leads gathered on October 23,7 he went to D.C. General Hospital and obtained the baby's footprint. Afterward, he went to Howard University Hospital to verify the information that appellant had given the officers the previous night. Not only did Detective Jenkins discover that no doctor named "Worth" was on the staff of Howard University Hospital, but also he discovered that appellant had not been a patient at the hospital within the past five years. He contacted Lieutenant Bolten and Sergeant Carl, the other members of his investigative team, and jointly they decided to interview appellant once again.

Detective Jenkins, Lieutenant Bolten, and Sergeant Carl knocked on the door of appellant's home at approximately 11:00 a.m., on October 24. Appellant's brother, Lamard Oliver, answered the door, and the officers told him that they wanted to speak with appellant. Mr. Oliver explained that appellant was in the basement, and then he called down to her that the police were there. Appellant responded, "Should I put on clothes?"8 Mr. Oliver walked down the stairs into the basement, and the officers followed behind him.9

Detective Jenkins then confronted appellant with the information he had obtained from Howard University Hospital: that hospital records refuted her claim she had delivered a baby there the previous day, and that no doctor named "Worth" was on the hospital staff. Appellant offered no further explanation and instead in a distraught manner responded that, because the baby had not been identified the previous night, she did not know why the police just did not leave her alone. Detective Jenkins then told appellant that she had to come down to the Robbery Branch for further investigation. During this discussion, Mr. Oliver went upstairs, followed by one of the officers. Mr. Oliver had told the officers earlier that he picked up his sister at D.C. General the day before. The officer told Mr. Oliver that he had to go to the Robbery Branch too because he had picked up his sister the day before at D.C. General Hospital and therefore might be an accessory to the kidnapping.

656 A.2d 1163

Appellant, who had been wearing a gown and possibly a housecoat, dressed herself and the baby while the two officers waited on the other side of the room. After appellant had dressed, Detective Jenkins escorted her outside and placed her in his unmarked police car. Lieutenant Bolten took the baby and placed him in another unmarked police car with Mr. Oliver. When appellant protested that she wanted the baby to go with her, Detective Jenkins explained that they were taking the baby to the hospital for identification and that the baby would be returned to her if he was not identified.

When they reached the Robbery Branch at approximately noon, Detective Jenkins took appellant to a small interrogation room. He advised her of her Miranda10 rights; however, he told her that she was not under arrest. Detective Jenkins then confronted appellant again with the fact that the records at Howard University Hospital could not confirm the information she had given him regarding the baby's birth. Appellant responded that she had actually gone into labor at the Upper Cardozo Clinic and that the doctor there had referred her to Providence Hospital. Detective Jenkins called Providence Hospital, and there was no record of appellant's delivery. When confronted with this information, appellant told Detective Jenkins that she had delivered the baby at Prince George's General Hospital. While Detective Jenkins was on the telephone with Price George's General Hospital, Lieutenant Bolten called to tell him that medical personnel at D.C. General Hospital had identified the baby. Soon afterward, Prince George's General Hospital confirmed that appellant had not given birth there.

Between 12:30 and 1:00 p.m., Detective Jenkins told appellant that the baby had been identified, readvised her of her Miranda rights—which appellant waived—and placed her under arrest. For the next hour, she was questioned by several police officers, who encouraged her to make a statement. Appellant then met privately with her boy-friend for ten to fifteen minutes and afterward met with her brother, Mr. Oliver, for approximately the same amount of time. When Mr. Oliver left the interrogation room, both he and appellant had tears in their eyes. Mr. Oliver walked past Detectives Jenkins and Hardisty, and told them that appellant was ready to talk.

Detective Jenkins entered the interrogation room with Detective Hardisty, consoled appellant, and asked her whether she was willing to give a statement. Appellant responded affirmatively. First, she orally admitted taking the baby from D.C. General Hospital, and then she agreed to make a written statement. Detective Jenkins began typing appellant's four-page statement at 2:15 p.m. He and appellant both signed the completed statement at 2:45 p.m.

The trial court held a suppression hearing. During this hearing several witnesses for both the defense and the prosecution testified. The main issues for the court were whether (1) Ms. Oliver voluntarily went to the police station; (2) the baby was seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment; (3) the confession should be suppressed as the fruit of a poisonous seizure; and (4) the validity of the lineup. The trial court found that Ms. Oliver did not voluntarily go to the police station, but rather was detained. The government conceded that at the time the police took Ms. Oliver to the police station there was no probable cause for arrest. The trial court was inclined to rule that the seizure of the child was lawful, but reserved final ruling until later. The court also reserved ruling on the legality of the confession and the lineup based on the product of an unlawful arrest until later. However, the court denied the suppression of the lineup based on suggestivity. Finally, the court suppressed the statements made by Ms. Oliver at the police station prior to the confession.

After briefing by the parties, the trial court ruled on...

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33 practice notes
  • State v. Brunetti, No. 16788.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • July 11, 2006
    ...is an important attenuating factor in the analysis." Page 25 United States v. Cherry, supra, at 1212; see also Oliver v. United States, 656 A.2d 1159, 1172 n. 22 (D.C.App.1995) ("[m]any courts have found that the acquisition of probable cause through independent means is a powerful factor t......
  • State v. Matthews, No. 20020261.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • July 16, 2003
    ...246, 347 N.E.2d 607 (1976); People v. Bondi, 130 Ill.App.3d 536, 85 Ill.Dec. 773, 474 N.E.2d 733 (1984); Oliver v. United States, 656 A.2d 1159 [¶ 21] In Chaney v. State, 612 P.2d 269 (Okla.Crim.App.1980), an Oklahoma court upheld the defendant's arrest in a kidnapping case, holding there w......
  • Womack v. US, No. 93-CF-1548.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • March 14, 1996
    ...presumes that warrantless searches and seizures inside a home are unreasonable absent exigent circumstances." Oliver v. United States, 656 A.2d 1159, 1164 (D.C.1995) (defining "exigent circumstances" as a "hot pursuit" situation, likely destruction of evidence, or protection of persons insi......
  • State v. Demarco, No. 18738.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • April 22, 2014
    ...he is charged with the collective knowledge of the police department at the time [of the emergency search]”); Oliver v. United States, 656 A.2d 1159, 1166 and n. 14 (D.C.1995) (applying collective knowledge doctrine in assessing reasonableness of emergency search); State v. Lemieux, 726 N.W......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
33 cases
  • State v. Brunetti, No. 16788.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • July 11, 2006
    ...an important attenuating factor in the analysis." Page 25 United States v. Cherry, supra, at 1212; see also Oliver v. United States, 656 A.2d 1159, 1172 n. 22 (D.C.App.1995) ("[m]any courts have found that the acquisition of probable cause through independent means is a powerful f......
  • State v. Matthews, No. 20020261.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • July 16, 2003
    ...246, 347 N.E.2d 607 (1976); People v. Bondi, 130 Ill.App.3d 536, 85 Ill.Dec. 773, 474 N.E.2d 733 (1984); Oliver v. United States, 656 A.2d 1159 [¶ 21] In Chaney v. State, 612 P.2d 269 (Okla.Crim.App.1980), an Oklahoma court upheld the defendant's arrest in a kidnapping case, holding there w......
  • Womack v. US, No. 93-CF-1548.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • March 14, 1996
    ...that warrantless searches and seizures inside a home are unreasonable absent exigent circumstances." Oliver v. United States, 656 A.2d 1159, 1164 (D.C.1995) (defining "exigent circumstances" as a "hot pursuit" situation, likely destruction of evidence, or protection......
  • State v. Demarco, No. 18738.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • April 22, 2014
    ...he is charged with the collective knowledge of the police department at the time [of the emergency search]”); Oliver v. United States, 656 A.2d 1159, 1166 and n. 14 (D.C.1995) (applying collective knowledge doctrine in assessing reasonableness of emergency search); State v. Lemieux, 726 N.W......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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