State v. Garbutt

Decision Date28 December 2001
Docket Number No. 00-556, No. 01-061, No. 01-092.
Citation790 A.2d 444
PartiesSTATE of Vermont v. Patricia M. GARBUTT. State of Vermont v. James W. Waite. State of Vermont v. Michael R. Demarchena.
CourtVermont Supreme Court

William H. Sorrell, Attorney General, and John Treadwell, Assistant Attorney General, Montpelier, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Nicholas L. Hadden, St. Albans, for Defendants-Appellants.

Present: AMESTOY, C.J., DOOLEY, MORSE, JOHNSON and SKOGLUND, JJ.

DOOLEY, J.

Defendants Patricia M. Garbutt, James W. Waite and Michael R. Demarchena filed separate appeals from denials of motions to suppress evidence which was obtained by Vermont state police officers while defendants were detained at United States border stations. We consolidated the appeals because they present similar questions of law. On appeal, defendants argue that the suppression motions should have been granted because: (1) the Vermont state police did not have jurisdiction to enter the border stations and arrest defendants without a warrant, (2) we should overrule our decision in State v. Armstrong, 148 Vt. 344, 533 A.2d 1183 (1987), where we held that state courts retain jurisdiction over offenses committed at United States border stations, and (3) defendants were subjected to custodial interrogation without the benefit of Miranda warnings. We affirm.

The relevant facts are not in dispute and are the same in the three cases. In each case defendants attempted to enter the United States from Canada by automobile at a U.S. border station located in Vermont. Each defendant had driven on a Vermont state road from the Canadian border station to the U.S. border station. U.S. customs inspectors asked defendants the usual screening questions, and each defendant exhibited physical signs of being intoxicated, including slurred speech, watery eyes and the smell of alcohol, which gave the border patrol reason to believe defendants had been operating their cars on a state road under the influence of intoxicating liquor. Accordingly, each defendant was detained for secondary inspection inside the border patrol station, where they were free to walk around, make telephone calls, and leave the building to smoke cigarettes.

In each case, a border patrol officer then called the state police and notified them that they had reason to believe that defendants had been driving in Vermont while under the influence of alcohol. The police officers came to the border stations immediately after being called, taking from twenty-five minutes to seventy-five minutes to arrive. In each case, while still in the border station, a state police officer questioned defendant and asked each to perform sobriety tests, without first giving defendant Miranda warnings. In each case, the information the officer obtained from defendant, coupled with the information received from the customs inspector, gave the officer probable cause to arrest defendant for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor in violation of 23 V.S.A. § 1201(a). The police officers arrested defendants without a warrant and took defendants to the police station, where the officers advised defendants of their rights in compliance with Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966).

In each case, defendant filed a motion to suppress, seeking to exclude evidence obtained as a result of the "unlawful seizure" at the border station. As noted below, however, the grounds for the motions differed. In each case, the trial court denied the motion to suppress.

Defendants raise three reasons why we should reverse the district courts' decisions and grant their motions to suppress. First, they argue that the Vermont state police did not have jurisdiction to enter the federal enclaves in which the border stations lie and to arrest defendants without a warrant. Second, they argue that the state does not have jurisdiction over offenses committed at border stations and that we should overrule our decision in State v. Armstrong, 148 Vt. 344, 533 A.2d 1183 (1987), where we decided that the state does have such jurisdiction. Finally, defendants argue that they should have been given Miranda warnings before the police officers questioned them or asked them to perform field sobriety tests. We review motions to suppress de novo. State v. Graves, 170 Vt. 646, 646, 757 A.2d 462, 463 (2000) (mem.).

Defendants first argue that the state police did not have jurisdiction to enter the border inspection stations and arrest them without a warrant. The border inspection stations are federal enclaves created when Vermont ceded land to the federal government for the use of the Department of Customs. Under article I, section 8, clause 17 of the federal constitution, the federal government retains exclusive jurisdiction over the enclaves unless Congress specifically reserves jurisdiction to the states. Paul v. United States, 371 U.S. 245, 263, 83 S.Ct. 426, 9 L.Ed.2d 292 (1963). Congress has provided for state jurisdiction to arrest and prosecute persons for violation of state law when those persons are within a border inspection station by enacting 8 U.S.C. § 1358, which provides:

The officers in charge of the various immigrant stations shall admit therein the proper State and local officers charged with the enforcement of the laws of the State or Territory of the United States in which any such immigrant station is located in order that such State and local officers may preserve the peace and make arrests for crimes under the laws of the States and Territories. For the purpose of this section the jurisdiction of such State and local officers and of the State and local courts shall extend over such immigrant stations.

8 U.S.C. § 1358.

Vermont has enacted a related statute, 1 V.S.A. § 551, which retains jurisdiction for Vermont over lands sold or ceded by the state to the federal government for the uses set out in article I, section 8, clause 17 of the federal constitution. At the time defendants were arrested, 1 V.S.A. § 551 provided in relevant part:

[C]oncurrent jurisdiction is reserved for the execution upon such lands of all process, civil or criminal, issued by the courts of the state and not incompatible with the cession.

1 V.S.A. § 551 (1999), amended by 1999, No. 160 (Adj.Sess.), § 1 (Supp.2000). In 2000, the Legislature amended the statute to read as follows:

[C]oncurrent jurisdiction is reserved for the execution upon such lands of all process, civil or criminal, issued by the courts of the state and not incompatible with the cession, and for the enforcement of state law in the federal enclave along the border of Canada and Vermont by [certified] law enforcement officers. . . .

1 V.S.A. § 551 (2001). The revised statute went into effect on May 29, 2000.

Defendants concede that under the revised statute, which merely codifies our holdings, the state now has the power to make warrantless arrests in border stations. The crux of defendants' argument, however, is that before the amended statute went into effect, the state had not reserved the power to make warrantless arrests because the Legislature had required process "issued by the courts of the state." 1 V.S.A. § 551.

We recently decided this question adversely to defendants in State v. Graves, 170 Vt. at 647-48, 757 A.2d at 464. In reaching our decision that police could make warrantless arrests within the federal enclave, we noted that § 551 "uses inclusive language to make clear the broad scope of the State's concurrent jurisdiction," id. at 647, 757 A.2d at 463, and construed the section to "mean[ ] that the exercise of law-enforcement authority must be governed by the procedures established by the Vermont courts." Id.

In Graves, the state officer was at the border station when defendant drove in, and thereafter the officer developed probable cause to believe that defendant committed the crime of DUI in his presence. Since the power to arrest in such circumstances is created by V.R.Cr.P. 3(a), a Court rule, and the officer acted pursuant to the rule, we held that the warrantless arrest was authorized by § 551. Id. at 647-48, 757 A.2d at 464.

In these cases, the state police officers did not observe defendants' operation of their vehicles. This is, however, a distinction from Graves without a difference. V.R.Cr.P. 3(a)(5) authorizes a law enforcement officer to arrest a person without a warrant "when the officer has probable cause to believe a person has committed or is committing a violation of ... 23 V.S.A. § 1201," Vermont's DUI statute. It is uncontested that the state police officers, based on their own observations and information from the federal officers, had probable cause to believe defendants were operating their vehicles under the influence of alcohol. Therefore, the officers acted pursuant to Criminal Rule 3(a)(5) and had the judicial authorization required by § 551. The trial courts properly found that the state police officers were authorized to arrest defendants without warrants.

Second, defendants argue that the state does not have jurisdiction to prosecute these offenses because they occurred at the border inspection stations, which are federal enclaves. Defendants acknowledge that we decided this issue against their position in State v. Armstrong, but urge us to overrule Armstrong.

Whatever the merits of defendants' arguments, we do not reach them. In one of the cases, State v. James Waite, defendant failed to raise the issue below so it is not before us. In the other two cases, the respective district courts found that after entering the United States the defendant crossed a strip of land in Vermont before reaching the federal enclave. Defendants have not challenged these findings. Thus, on the records before us, the findings support the courts' conclusions that these two defendants committed DUI in Vermont outside the federal enclave. See State v. Dreibelbis, 147 Vt. 98, 99, 511 A.2d 307, 307-08 (1986) (d...

To continue reading

Request your trial
19 cases
  • State v. Oney
    • United States
    • Vermont Supreme Court
    • November 25, 2009
    ...an attorney. No such requirement exists, however, for suspects who are not in custody." (citations omitted)); State v. Garbutt, 173 Vt. 277, 282, 790 A.2d 444, 448 (2001) ("Suspects not in custody are not entitled to Miranda ¶ 10. Whether a suspect is in custody requires "an objective inqui......
  • State v. Muntean
    • United States
    • Vermont Supreme Court
    • November 5, 2010
    ...of the interrogation,” Stansbury v. California, 511 U.S. 318, 323, 114 S.Ct. 1526, 128 L.Ed.2d 293 (1994); State v. Garbutt, 173 Vt. 277, 282, 790 A.2d 444, 448 (2001), and decide whether they suggest a “restraint on freedom of movement of the degree associated with a formal arrest.” Califo......
  • State v. Delaoz
    • United States
    • Vermont Supreme Court
    • July 16, 2010
    ...of law de novo.” (quotation omitted)). ¶ 13. Once a suspect is in custody, he is entitled to Miranda warnings. State v. Garbutt, 173 Vt. 277, 282, 790 A.2d 444, 448 (2001). Here, the trial court found that defendant was in custody as soon as the officer told him of the potential warrant for......
  • State v. Pontbriand
    • United States
    • Vermont Supreme Court
    • February 18, 2005
    ...(1991) (suspect cannot preemptively invoke Miranda rights by requesting counsel before custody is established); State v. Garbutt, 173 Vt. 277, 282, 790 A.2d 444, 448 (2001) (noting that Miranda warnings are not required for suspects not in custody). A defendant seeking to suppress statement......
  • 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