People v. Wood, 05SA251.

Docket NºNo. 05SA251.
Citation135 P.3d 744
Case DateMay 30, 2006
CourtSupreme Court of Colorado
135 P.3d 744
The PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, Plaintiff-Appellant,
David H. WOOD, Defendant-Appellee.
No. 05SA251.
Supreme Court of Colorado.
May 30, 2006.

Page 745


Page 746

Mitchell R. Morrissey, District Attorney, Evan W. Jones, Deputy District Attorney, Denver, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

David S. Kaplan, Colorado State Public Defender, T. Marshal Seufert, Deputy State Public Defender, Kevin Pauly, Deputy State Public Defender, Denver, for Defendant-Appellee.

MARTINEZ, Justice.

This case comes before the court on an interlocutory appeal from the trial court, pursuant to C.A.R. 4.1. The People challenge an order of the trial court suppressing statements made by the defendant on the day of his arrest. The trial court suppressed the statements for being involuntary and for violating the defendant's rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966). We find that the statements were made voluntarily but that many of the statements were obtained in violation of Miranda's procedural safeguards. We affirm the order of the trial court in part and reverse in part.

I. Facts and Proceedings Below

On December 1, 2004, Defendant, David Wood, was arrested pursuant to an arrest warrant at a Denver homeless shelter. Wood was transported to Denver Police Department headquarters for questioning. He was initially taken to a holding cell. Later that evening, Wood met with Detective Mark Crider in a stationhouse interview room.

At the beginning of the interview, Detective Crider told Wood that the purpose of the interview was to "just have a conversation," and "to hear [Wood's] side of the story." Detective Crider also stated that before they could begin, he needed to read "a couple forms." He then informed Wood that they were being video and audio taped.

Before Detective Crider could proceed with the interview, the conversation became sidetracked when Wood expressed concerns about the Denver Police Department's booking policy with respect to personal belongings and cash. While answering Wood's questions, Detective Crider attempted to return to the forms, stating "let me get this going and we'll talk." After answering Wood's questions, Detective Crider again indicated "all we want to do now is just hear your side of the story . . . about what happened." Before continuing, Detective Crider said "Let me read this video form first and we'll move on." He then told Wood his "job is just to investigate and to get both sides of the stories," and the "[o]ne side I don't have is your side."

Next, Detective Crider twice stated he needed to "read off a form." Detective Crider

Page 747

then returned to the preliminaries of the interview. He noted the time and that the investigation concerned a homicide. However, he did not advise Wood of his Miranda rights or indicate that the "form" concerned Wood's rights.

After Detective Crider mentioned that the investigation concerned a homicide, Wood expressed shock and became visibly upset by the news. Shortly thereafter, Wood stated, "it was self-defense" and "it was an accident." In response to Wood's statement that it was self-defense, Detective Crider stated "that's what we need to hear. That's what we want to talk about, ok?" He then told Wood he would finish with the sheet and then "we'll move on and we'll discuss what happened, ok?" Detective Crider asked Wood "to try and be strong" and encouraged Wood to take his time and collect himself before proceeding. Wood continued to make incriminating statements, including "I killed him," and "he provoked it, it was self-defense, but I didn't mean to take his life." Detective Crider interrupted Wood and told him that "before we can talk about this, I need to make sure you understand your rights. Let me finish reading this advisement form, okay?" Although Detective Crider mentioned Wood's rights for the first time at this point in the interview, he again failed to complete the Miranda advisement.

Wood continued to make a number of comments, stating: "it's [sic] an accident," "he's the one that provoked it," "I didn't know he died, though," and "he was the aggressor." Detective Crider reiterated that he wanted "to find out what happened" and "get to the bottom of it," but did not complete the Miranda advisement until nearly twenty minutes into the interview.

After Detective Crider read the Miranda advisement, Wood acknowledged that he understood his rights and signed the form. Detective Crider went on to read the advisement that the interview was being made voluntarily. At that point, Wood interrupted to ask Detective Crider about a lawyer, "I definitely need a lawyer, right?" Detective Crider did not stop the interview, but responded by telling Wood that the decision to have counsel present was entirely up to him and made it clear that if he wanted a lawyer present, the interview would end. Detective Crider then attempted to reassure Wood by emphasizing that he wanted to hear Wood's side of the story.

In assuring Wood that everything was "above board," Detective Crider reminded Wood that he was being audio and video taped and that everything Wood said was being recorded. Detective Crider then left Wood alone in the interview room for approximately thirty seconds. When Wood was alone in the interview room, he spontaneously said, "Jesus, he died. Wow, I killed a man. Wow." When Detective Crider returned to the room, he reminded Wood that the interview was voluntary and he was free to have an attorney present. Wood then stated, "I'd rather have an attorney to represent me." Detective Crider stopped the interview, and Wood was taken to a holding cell.

Later that evening, Wood indicated to an officer that he wished to speak with Detective Crider again. Detective Crider went to Wood's holding cell. According to Detective Crider's testimony, Wood indicated uncertainty about whether he would speak with Detective Crider. Detective Crider advised Wood to speak with him only if Wood was certain, and told Wood he would not speak with him further because Wood had requested an attorney. Without prompting, Wood then offered to provide information about illegal drug activity for assistance with the murder case. Detective Crider told Wood he would not speak with him further.

Wood was charged with first degree murder. At trial, Wood moved to suppress the statements he made during the interview and later in the holding cell, arguing they were obtained in violation of his Miranda rights and his right to counsel.

The trial court granted Wood's motion to suppress all of the statements made while in the interview room, along with statements made to Detective Crider upon reinitiation of contact later that same evening. The People filed an interlocutory appeal challenging the suppression of Wood's statements, asserting Wood's statements were offered voluntarily

Page 748

and spontaneously and were not the product of interrogation or official coercion. Following two subsequent remands, the trial court issued a written order detailing its findings.

We now review the People's interlocutory challenge of the trial court's decision.

II. Trial Court Orders

Initially, we note the trial court's orders blur the distinction between suppressing Wood's statements on the basis of Miranda or on grounds that the statements were made involuntarily. The court's original order was an oral order issued on July 18, 2005. A subsequent written order making additional findings was issued on March 13, 2006. The court's written order states in relevant part:

Under the totality of circumstances, this Court finds that the Defendant's statements should not be allowed as part of this case. They were not voluntary. People v. Klausner, 74 P.3d 421 (Colo.App.2003), People v. Valdez, 969 P.2d 208 (Colo.1998). At no time did the Defendant waive his right to remain silent or to be represented by an attorney. Under no fair interpretation can the Defendant's statements made in a state of shock, distress and dismay while in the presence of an investigating detective who persisted for over 20 minutes to complete an advisement be viewed as fairly obtained in this custodial police interrogation. The statements were obtained in direct response to shocking, surprising and distressful facts presented to Defendant by the investigating detective who for over 20 minutes tried to complete a proper advisement (and, in the process, kept the "conversation" going). They were also obtained as a result of repeated inquisitive police comments/questions such as, "we want to hear your side of the story" (i.e., "What happened?" or "Tell us what happened?").

(Emphasis added). In this written order, the trial court concludes the statements were not voluntary and cites two cases which turn upon voluntariness and not Miranda. Next, the court finds that Wood did not waive his right to remain silent or to be represented by an attorney—considerations central to a Miranda analysis.

In contrast, the trial court's earlier oral order suppressing the statements indicated that Wood's statements were "clearly voluntary," but suppressed all of Wood's statements on the basis that Wood requested counsel. While the oral order suppressed Wood's statements solely on an alleged violation of Wood's right to counsel, the written order implicates both voluntariness and Miranda. Statements may be suppressed when the defendant does not make a statement voluntarily or when the statement is obtained in violation of Miranda. Although these inquiries are similar, they are distinct and independent grounds for suppression.

As the trial court's written order was issued subsequent to the oral order and pursuant to an order from this court to "[make] findings of fact and conclusions of law identifying with specificity each statement suppressed and stating the factual and legal grounds for suppressing each such statement," we view it as controlling wherever the trial...

To continue reading

Request your trial
29 cases
  • State v. Gonzalez, 18070.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • September 6, 2011
    ...that it is his opportunity to tell his side of the story constitutes the functional equivalent of interrogation. See People v. Wood, 135 P.3d 744, 751–52 (Colo.2006); State v. Monroe, 103 Idaho 129, 130, 645 P.2d 363 (1982); State v. Hebert, 277 Kan. 61, 70, 82 P.3d 470 (2004); State v. Dou......
  • People v. Wakefield, Court of Appeals No. 15CA0654
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals of Colorado
    • March 22, 2018
    ...of a suspect's "volunteered, non-compelled statements." People v. Gonzales , 987 P.2d 239, 241 (Colo. 1999) ; see also People v. Wood , 135 P.3d 744, 752 (Colo. 2006) ("A defendant's spontaneous utterances will not be excluded where there is no interrogation."). ¶ 49 Whether a custodial int......
  • People v. Redgebol, 07SA112.
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • May 27, 2008
    ...and subsequently waiving his or her Miranda rights, then the evidence is inadmissible in the prosecution's case-in-chief. People v. Wood, 135 P.3d 744, 749 (Colo. Here, the parties agree that Redgebol's questioning constituted a custodial interrogation. In addition, the trial court found, a......
  • People v. Alemayehu, Court of Appeals No. 17CA1745
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals of Colorado
    • May 20, 2021
    ...the suspect was warned about and validly waived certain Fifth Amendment rights. 384 U.S. at 444, 86 S.Ct. 1602 ; see People v. Wood , 135 P.3d 744, 749 (Colo. 2006) (same).9 Two prerequisites must therefore exist before a Miranda warning is required: the defendant must be in custody and sub......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT