State v. Franklin

Decision Date02 May 1989
Docket NumberNo. 23058,23058
Citation382 S.E.2d 911,299 S.C. 133
CourtSouth Carolina Supreme Court
PartiesThe STATE, Respondent, v. Willie Edward FRANKLIN, Appellant. . Heard

Deputy Chief Atty. Elizabeth C. Fullwood, of S.C. Office of Appellate Defense, Columbia, for appellant.

Atty. Gen. T. Travis Medlock, Asst. Attys. Gen. Harold M. Coombs, Jr., and William Edgar Salter, III, Columbia; and Sol. Robert J. Harte, Aiken, for respondent.

TOAL, Justice:

On July 13, 1987, Leroy Moore, the night auditor of the Holiday Inn in Aiken, was murdered by strangulation and the hotel cash register and a money box were stolen. Willie E. Franklin and three other men, Rodney Franklin, Keith Odom and James Washington, were involved in the commission of the crime.

Willie E. Franklin was convicted of murder, grand larceny and second degree burglary. On appeal, he challenges the admissibility of incriminating statements made to police officers and the jury charge on the principles of accomplice liability.

1. Incriminating Statements

Franklin contends that the trial court erred in admitting two inculpatory statements. We disagree.

A. July 15 Statement

On July 15, 1987, Willie Franklin was arrested pursuant to a warrant. He was taken to the office of Wayne Huff, a criminal investigator with the Aiken County Sheriff's Department, for questioning. Investigator Derrick was also present. Huff advised Franklin that he was under arrest for the charge of murder and that Huff was investigating the homicide at the Holiday Inn. Franklin responded, "I ain't did nothing." Huff stated that he wanted to give Franklin his rights, to which Franklin responded, "What do I need rights for?" Huff said that it appeared that the man was beaten to death. Franklin said, "I ain't beat nobody. All I did was hold him while Rodney hit him." Huff told Franklin that he wanted to give him his rights and that he should not say anything else. Franklin stated, "I don't have anything else to say. I want to see an attorney." All interrogation was ceased and Franklin was taken to the county jail.

Following a suppression hearing, the trial judge ruled that these statements were admissible as spontaneous utterances. Franklin contends that the statements fell within the scope of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966), and, therefore, should have been excluded.

Under Miranda, "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." 384 U.S. at 444, 86 S.Ct. at 1612. In discussing confessions and voluntary statements, the Supreme Court noted that:

[C]onfessions remain a proper element in law enforcement. Any statement given freely and voluntarily without any compelling influence is, of course, admissible in evidence. The fundamental import of the privilege while an individual is in custody is not whether he is allowed to talk to the police without the benefit of warnings and counsel, but whether he can be interrogated.... Volunteered statements of any kind are not barred by the Fifth Amendment and their admissibility is not affected by our holding today.

384 U.S. at 478, 86 S.Ct. at 1630. [Emphasis added.]

In Rhode Island v. Innis, 446 U.S. 291, 100 S.Ct. 1682, 64 L.Ed.2d 297 (1980), the Supreme Court defined "interrogation" and held that:

The Miranda safeguards come into play whenever a person in custody is subjected to either express questioning or its functional equivalent. That is to say, the term "interrogation" under Miranda refers not only to express questioning, but also to any words or actions on the part of the police (other than those normally attendant to arrest and custody) that the police should know are reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response from the suspect.

446 U.S. at 300, 100 S.Ct. at 1689.

The State contends that the conversation that took place between Huff and Franklin did not constitute "interrogation" or its "functional equivalent." Reading or attempting to read the Miranda rights form would be communication normally incident to arrest. We conclude that the State met its burden by a preponderance of the evidence and that the trial court properly determined that the statements made by Franklin when he interrupted Huff were voluntary and that Huff's responses were not of such nature that he should have known that they would elicit an incriminating response. Therefore, we hold that the July 15 statement was properly admitted.

B. July 20 Statement

On July 20, 1987, Franklin asked to speak to Huff again. According to Franklin, he wanted to make a telephone call to find out the condition of his girlfriend. She was expecting a baby and he had received information from his brother that she was in the hospital. His request to make a phone call had been denied and he thought Huff would allow him to make the call.

Franklin, Huff and Investigator Derrick went to Huff's office for the interview. Franklin was read the Miranda warnings, indicated that he understood them and signed a waiver of rights.

Franklin first made a statement which was not recorded. He then gave a statement which was tape recorded and later transcribed. The recorded statement indicated that Franklin killed Moore. Huff testified that both statements were consistent. Franklin contends that in the first statement, he denied any knowledge of what happened to Moore and that after this statement was made, Huff told Franklin that he could make a phone call after he told Huff what he wanted to hear. Franklin claims that he confessed to the murder just so he could make a phone call. In contrast, Huff testified that Franklin was allowed to make several phone calls, including one made before the first statement was given.

Following a suppression hearing, the trial judge ruled that the recorded July 20 statement was admissible on the grounds that Franklin had been advised of his rights and had indicated that he understood them and that the statement was made freely and voluntarily without any threats or promises.

Although Franklin testified at the suppression hearing that he was given his Miranda rights, that he signed the waiver form and that he understood his rights, he contends that the statement was not admissible because it was not voluntarily made.

The test of admissibility of a statement is voluntariness. If a defendant was advised of his Miranda rights, but nevertheless chose to make a statement, the "burden is on the State to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that his rights were voluntarily waived." State v. Washington, 296 S.C. 54, 370 S.E.2d 611 (1988) (emphasis in original); State v. Neeley, 271 S.C. 33, 244 S.E.2d 522 (1978). The State bears this burden of proof even where a defendant has signed a waiver of rights form. State v. Goolsby, 275 S.C. 110, 268 S.E.2d 31, cert. denied, 449 U.S. 1037, 101 S.Ct. 616, 66 L.Ed.2d 500 (1980). This Court has held, however, that once a voluntary waiver of Miranda rights is made, that waiver continues until the individual being questioned indicates that he wants to revoke that waiver or circumstances exist which indicate his "will was impaired." State v. Moultrie, 273 S.C. 60, 254 S.E.2d 294 (1979), citing Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218, 93 S.Ct. 2041 36 L.Ed.2d 854 (1973); State v. Tyson, 283 S.C. 375, 323 S.E.2d 770 (1984), cert. denied, 471 U.S. 1006, 105 S.Ct. 1873, 85 L.Ed.2d 165 (1985). The trial judge's determination of the voluntariness of a statement must be made on the basis of the totality of the circumstances, including the background, experience and conduct of the accused. State v. Linnen, 278 S.C. 175, 293 S.E.2d 851 (1982). The trial judge's resolution of the issue will not be disturbed absent an error of law. State v. Atchison, 268 S.C. 588, 235 S.E.2d 294, cert. denied, 434 U.S. 894, 98 S.Ct. 273, 54 L.Ed.2d 181 (1977).

Franklin contends that a statement induced by the police by preying upon a defendant's concern for or desire to contact his family must be excluded from evidence as involuntary. Lynum v. Illinois, 372 U.S. 528, 83 S.Ct. 917, 9 L.Ed.2d 922 (1963); Haynes v. Washington, 373 U.S. 503, 83 S.Ct. 1336, 10 L.Ed.2d 513 (1963). He argues that he was not allowed to make a phone call to find out the condition of his girlfriend until after he made a statement and, therefore, the statement was inadmissible.

In contrast, the State contends that Franklin's statement was voluntary and argues that such voluntariness is indicated by the following evidence: Franklin initiated contact with the Investigator; he was allowed several phone calls to find out...

To continue reading

Request your trial
42 cases
  • State v. Parker
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • December 23, 2008
    ...328 S.C. 187, 193, 493 S.E.2d 349, 352 (1997) (citing State v. Amerson, 311 S.C. at 320, 428 S.E.2d at 873); State v. Franklin, 299 S.C. 133, 138, 382 S.E.2d 911, 914 (1989). "When reviewing a trial court's ruling concerning voluntariness, this Court does not reevaluate the facts based on i......
  • State v. Von Dohlen
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • September 19, 1995
    ...of the totality of the circumstances. Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218, 93 S.Ct. 2041, 36 L.Ed.2d 854 (1973); State v. Franklin, 299 S.C. 133, 382 S.E.2d 911 (1989). The question is whether the defendant's will was overborne when he confessed. Schneckloth, supra. The burden is on the......
  • State v. Santiago
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • June 19, 2006
    ...and conduct of the accused.'" State v. Ledford, 351 S.C. 83, 87, 567 S.E.2d 904, 906 (Ct.App.2002) (quoting State v. Franklin, 299 S.C. 133, 138, 382 S.E.2d 911, 914 (1989)); accord Childs, 299 S.C. 471, 475, 385 S.E.2d 839, 842 (1989); State v. Corns, 310 S.C. 546, 552, 426 S.E.2d 324, 327......
  • State v. Kirton
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • December 17, 2008
    ...S.C. 426, 510 S.E.2d 714 (1998) (citing Rhode Island v. Innis, 446 U.S. 291, 100 S.Ct. 1682, 64 L.Ed.2d 297 (1980); State v. Franklin, 299 S.C. 133, 382 S.E.2d 911 (1989)). The Miranda decision is meant to preserve the privilege against self-incrimination during interrogation of a suspect i......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Miranda and Exceptions
    • United States
    • South Carolina Bar South Carolina Lawyer No. 26-5, March 2015
    • Invalid date
    ...v. State, 316 S.C. 255, 257, 449 S.E.2d 492, 493-94 (1994). [13] Rhode Island v. Innis, 446 U.S. 291, 300-301 (1980); State v. Franklin, 299 S.C. 133, 136, 382 S.E.2d. 911, 912-13 (1989). [14] Innis, 446 U.S. at 301; Franklin, 299 S.C. at 136, 382 S.E.2d at 913. [15] State v. Wannamaker, 34......

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