People v. Briggs, No. 83SC134

Docket NºNo. 83SC134
Citation709 P.2d 911
Case DateNovember 18, 1985
CourtSupreme Court of Colorado

Page 911

709 P.2d 911
54 USLW 2314
The PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, Petitioner,
v.
Paul Alan BRIGGS, Respondent.
No. 83SC134.
Supreme Court of Colorado,
En Banc.
Nov. 18, 1985.

Page 913

Duane Woodard, Atty. Gen., Charles B. Howe, Deputy Atty. Gen., Joel W. Cantrick, Sol. Gen., Maureen Phelan, Asst. Atty. Gen., Denver, for petitioner.

Gerash & Robinson, P.C., Scott H. Robinson, Denver, for respondent.

NEIGHBORS, Justice.

We granted certiorari to review the court of appeals' decision in People v. Briggs, 668 P.2d 961 (Colo.App.1983). The court reversed the defendant's conviction and ordered a new trial, holding that certain testimonial and real evidence must be suppressed because it was derived from involuntary statements that were obtained from the defendant. The court ruled that a witness' testimony compelled by the grant of immunity from prosecution is not a sufficient act of free will on the part of the witness to dissipate the taint of illegality for purposes of the attenuation doctrine. The court also concluded that the inevitable discovery issue had not been properly preserved by the People for appellate review. We reject the per se rule adopted by the court of appeals and formulate appropriate standards to be used by the trial court in determining whether the disputed evidence has been purged of the taint of illegality by significant intervening events. We agree with the court of appeals that the inevitable discovery question was not presented to the trial court. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the court of appeals in part and reverse in part, and we remand to the court of appeals with directions to return the case to the district court for further findings.

I.

The defendant, Paul Briggs, was charged with first-degree murder 1 by an information filed in the Douglas County District Court. Briggs was sentenced to life imprisonment after the jury found him guilty of the crime. His motion for a new trial was denied and he appealed to the court of appeals.

The following are the facts pertinent to the issues upon which we granted certiorari review. The victim, Harry Dewey, died from a gunshot wound to the head on or about November 22, 1979. Investigating officers determined that the murder weapon was likely to have been a rifle reported stolen during the burglary of a mountain cabin in which Dewey was suspected of having participated. 2 The investigation into Dewey's death thus focused on his friends and associates, with a view toward discovering a possible connection between the burglary and Dewey's murder.

Briggs and Dewey had briefly lived together shortly before the homicide. During the investigation Briggs was questioned by detectives several times. On December 19 and 20, 1979, he was interviewed

Page 914

in connection with the general investigation of Dewey's friends and associates. On the afternoon of December 20, Briggs was taken to the police station, advised of his Miranda 3 rights, and questioned. The advisement form given to Briggs states "that you are being questioned in connection with the crime of burglary, theft by receiving, murder and you may be a possible suspect of this crime." On January 4, 1980, Briggs was again taken to the police station. The trial court found that he was given no Miranda warnings, and that, in return for information about the burglary, Briggs was promised immunity from prosecution for that crime "as well as the promise of whatever he [the defendant] said, would not be used against him." Briggs admitted that he and Dewey had committed the burglary and that a friend, Kirk Martin, had taken some of the stolen property to Indiana. 4

Pursuing this lead, the police officers immediately confronted Martin with Briggs' statements and questioned him in an effort to gather further facts about the murder and/or the burglary. Martin informed the officers that he had sold a number of the stolen items to a friend in Indiana, Bill Neeley. On January 7, a detective went to Indiana and questioned Neeley, who related certain statements made to him by Martin to the effect that Martin and Briggs had planned to kill an individual in order to silence what Briggs viewed as that person's indiscreet bragging about his participation with Briggs in a burglary.

When confronted by the officers with this information on January 9, Martin requested and was granted "immunity" 5 and disclosed that Briggs had discussed with him the contemplated murder of Dewey. Martin related that, on the evening of the murder, he had driven Dewey's roommate around Denver in order to prevent the roommate from interfering with Briggs' plan to kill Dewey. When Martin and Briggs met afterward, the latter described to Martin the details of Dewey's murder.

Martin subsequently took two lie detector tests, acceptable performance on which was a condition to the grant of "immunity" approved by the district attorney and offered to Martin by the investigating officers. Because Martin's statements could not be corroborated and both tests were interpreted by experts as indicating deceptive responses by Martin, he allowed himself to be outfitted with electronic sound recording equipment and agreed to engage Briggs in a conversation designed to elicit and surreptitiously record inculpatory statements. Martin successfully initiated such a conversation on January 14, and comments by Briggs were recorded in which he incriminated himself as the sole perpetrator of Dewey's murder.

On the date of the defendant's preliminary hearing, in accordance with the agreement reached between the authorities and Martin, a formal immunity order was entered by the trial court pursuant to section 13-90-118, 6 C.R.S. (1973). The order stated that Martin "shall not be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty of [sic] forfeiture for or on account of any transaction, matter or thing concerning which he testifies, except a prosecution for perjury in the first degree or contempt committed while giving testimony pursuant to this order."

Briggs requested the trial court to suppress the statements first made by him on January 4 and reaffirmed on January 5, on the ground that those statements were induced by promises of immunity. He also contended that the testimony of Martin and the tape-recorded conversation should be suppressed as "fruits" of his involuntary statements. The trial court suppressed

Page 915

Briggs' statements, finding that the promises of immunity made by detectives to elicit those statements rendered them involuntary. The court declined, however, to suppress the tape-recorded conversation and the testimony of Martin, ruling that Martin's "intervening independent act" sufficiently attenuated the causal connection between that evidence and Briggs' involuntary statements.

The suppression of Briggs' statements was not appealed by the People. However, the Colorado Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's refusal to suppress Martin's testimony and the tape recording. The court held that evidence was directly and immediately derived from the defendant's illegally-obtained statements. In ordering Martin's statements to the police officers, his testimony, and the tape recording suppressed, the court of appeals further held that the grant of immunity to Martin precluded a finding that the exercise of his free will attenuated the taint of the initial illegality.

II.

The People contend that the court of appeals erred in holding that the suppressed evidence was not sufficiently attenuated from Briggs' statements to allow its admission. We conclude that the trial court must first resolve the attenuation issue by the application of appropriate standards to the evidence.

A.

Both the fifth amendment to the United States Constitution and article II, section 18 of the Colorado Constitution contain provisions establishing a constitutional privilege against self-incrimination. 6 Each constitution guarantees that a person shall not be compelled to provide any evidence to the government which it might use to obtain his or her conviction of a crime. Each of the respective provisions contains an implied self-executing exclusionary rule: Evidence obtained in violation of the constitutional provision may not be used in criminal proceedings. "The Fifth Amendment, ... is by its terms an exclusionary rule...." United States v. Kurzer, 534 F.2d 511, 516 (2d Cir.1976).

It is a longstanding principle in this state that article II, section 18 of the Colorado Constitution "was not intended to merely protect a party from being compelled to make confessions of guilt, but protects him from being compelled to furnish a single link in a chain of evidence by which his conviction of a criminal offense might be secured." Tuttle v. People, 33 Colo. 243, 255, 79 P. 1035, 1039 (1905). Accord Hoffman v. United States, 341 U.S. 479, 71 S.Ct. 814, 95 L.Ed. 1118 (1951); see also Malloy v. Hogan, 378 U.S. 1, 84 S.Ct. 1489, 12 L.Ed.2d 653 (1964).

In order to implement the privilege against self-incrimination, both this court and the Supreme Court have looked to fourth amendment analysis and its exclusionary rule for guidance in developing a principled basis to remedy violations of the self-incrimination privilege. It has long been established under the federal constitution that "knowledge gained by the Government's own wrong cannot be used by it...." Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385, 392, 40 S.Ct. 182, 183, 64 L.Ed. 319 (1920). Thus, the exclusionary rule mandates the suppression not only of evidence obtained by means abridging constitutional rights, but also the "fruits" of that evidence. Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471, 83 S.Ct. 407, 9 L.Ed.2d 441 (1963); People v. Lowe, 200 Colo. 470, 616 P.2d 118 (1980).

Although "[t]he cases which mark the origin and development of the tainted fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine involved violations of the Fourth Amendment guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures," United...

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28 practice notes
  • State v. Tanner
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oregon
    • November 17, 1987
    ...287 Ark. 228, 697 S.W.2d 899 (1985); Lockridge v. Superior Court, 3 Cal.3d 166, 474 P.2d 683, 89 Cal.Rptr. 731 (1970); People v. Briggs, 709 P.2d 911 (Colo.1985); State v. Zindros, 189 Conn. 228, 456 A.2d 288 (1983); State v. Deputy, 433 A.2d 1040 (Del.1981); State v. Le Croy, 461 So.2d 88 ......
  • People v. Dandrea, No. 86SA98
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • May 26, 1987
    ...basis that the evidence should be received." Nix v. Williams, 467 U.S. 431, 104 S.Ct. 2501, 2509, 81 L.Ed.2d 377 (1984). People v. Briggs, 709 P.2d 911, 922 (Colo.1985) (emphasis added). We have clarified the inevitable discovery rule by stating that "the central focus should be on what inv......
  • People v. Lewis, No. 98SA336
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • March 22, 1999
    ...satisfaction of this first inquiry, the witness' recollections cannot constitute an independent source. See, e.g., People v. Briggs, 709 P.2d 911, 923 (Colo.1985) (citing Nix, 467 U.S. at 459, 104 S.Ct. 2501 (Brennan, J., dissenting) for proposition that the "independent source" exception i......
  • Miles v. State, No. 42
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • September 18, 2001
    ...Bravo, 158 Ariz. 364, 762 P.2d 1318, 1327 (1988), cert. denied, 490 U.S. 1039, 109 S.Ct. 1942, 104 L.Ed.2d 413 (1989); People v. Briggs, 709 P.2d 911, 917 The first evidence we must consider is that provided by Jona Miles, 781 A.2d 809 who led the police to the discovery of the murder weapo......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
28 cases
  • State v. Tanner
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oregon
    • November 17, 1987
    ...287 Ark. 228, 697 S.W.2d 899 (1985); Lockridge v. Superior Court, 3 Cal.3d 166, 474 P.2d 683, 89 Cal.Rptr. 731 (1970); People v. Briggs, 709 P.2d 911 (Colo.1985); State v. Zindros, 189 Conn. 228, 456 A.2d 288 (1983); State v. Deputy, 433 A.2d 1040 (Del.1981); State v. Le Croy, 461 So.2d 88 ......
  • People v. Dandrea, No. 86SA98
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • May 26, 1987
    ...basis that the evidence should be received." Nix v. Williams, 467 U.S. 431, 104 S.Ct. 2501, 2509, 81 L.Ed.2d 377 (1984). People v. Briggs, 709 P.2d 911, 922 (Colo.1985) (emphasis added). We have clarified the inevitable discovery rule by stating that "the central focus should be on what inv......
  • People v. Lewis, No. 98SA336
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • March 22, 1999
    ...satisfaction of this first inquiry, the witness' recollections cannot constitute an independent source. See, e.g., People v. Briggs, 709 P.2d 911, 923 (Colo.1985) (citing Nix, 467 U.S. at 459, 104 S.Ct. 2501 (Brennan, J., dissenting) for proposition that the "independent source" exception i......
  • Miles v. State, No. 42
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • September 18, 2001
    ...Bravo, 158 Ariz. 364, 762 P.2d 1318, 1327 (1988), cert. denied, 490 U.S. 1039, 109 S.Ct. 1942, 104 L.Ed.2d 413 (1989); People v. Briggs, 709 P.2d 911, 917 The first evidence we must consider is that provided by Jona Miles, 781 A.2d 809 who led the police to the discovery of the murder weapo......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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