Warren v. State

Decision Date02 May 2012
Docket NumberNo. 1996,Sept. Term, 2009.,1996
Citation205 Md.App. 93,43 A.3d 1098
PartiesKevin Mark WARREN v. STATE of Maryland.
CourtCourt of Special Appeals of Maryland


Gregory W. Gardner (Paul B. DeWolfe, Public Defender, Baltimore, MD, Kenneth E. McPherson, Riverdale, MD, on the brief), for appellant.

Daniel J. Jawor (Douglas F. Gansler, Atty. Gen., on the brief) Baltimore, MD, for appellee.



Following a trial held from March 3, 2009, to March 13, 2009, a jury in the Circuit Court for Charles County convicted Kevin Mark Warren, appellant, of one count of first-degree murder (felony murder), two counts of attempted first-degree murder, three counts of first-degree assault, three counts of attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, three counts of use of a handgun in the commission of a crime, and one count of wearing, carrying, or transporting a handgun.1See Md.Code Ann., Crim. Law Art. (“C.L.”) § 2–201 (first-degree murder); C.L. § 2–205 (attempted first-degree murder); C.L. § 3–202 (first-degree assault); C.L. § 3–403 (attempted robberywith a dangerous weapon); C.L. § 4–204 (use of a handgun in the commission of a crime); C.L. § 4–203(wearing, carrying, or transporting a handgun). On September 28, 2009, the circuit court sentenced appellant to life imprisonment for first-degree murder, two life sentences consecutive for attempted first-degree murder, and twenty years' imprisonment concurrent for use of a handgun in a crime of violence.2 Appellant noted an appeal raising three issues, which we rephrased and reordered into four: 3

I. Whether the circuit court erred in finding that appellant voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently waived his Miranda4 rights before speaking to law enforcement officers?

II. Whether the circuit court erred in allowing the prosecutor to cross-examine appellant about prior statements to other people, which appellant characterizes as “inadmissible testimonial hearsay”?

III. Whether the circuit court deprived appellant of the right to a fair trial by: (A) permitting incorrect testimony which was later corrected by a stipulation; and (B) allowing the prosecutor to cross-examine appellant regarding the invocation of the right to remain silent?

IV. Whether the circuit court erred in allowing the prosecutor to make alleged improper remarks during closing and rebuttal argument?

We answer all four questions in the negative and, therefore, affirm the judgments of conviction.


On September 17, 2007, appellant was indicted in connection with a robbery and shooting that occurred at Robinson Place in Waldorf, Maryland, that resulted in the death of Briona Porter, a thirteen-year-old girl.

Reading of Appellant's Miranda Rights

Prior to trial, appellant moved to suppress statements he made to Detective John Elliott at the Charles County Police Headquarters Building on July 6, 2007. On April 18, 2008, the circuit court conducted a hearing on the motion. As a witness for the State, Detective Elliott testified as follows:

Before I asked [appellant] any questions I read him his Miranda Rights and a right for his Prompt Presentation before a District Court Commissioner.

* * *

I read word for word from my Rights card and I stated to [appellant], “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say, can and will be used against you in court. You have the right to consult with a lawyer before answering any questions and to have a lawyer with you during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you. If you want to answer questions now without a lawyer present, you will still have the right to stop answering questions at any time.”

The State questioned Detective Elliott, in pertinent part, as follows:

[PROSECUTOR:] Okay. Now, after you advised him of these rights, what, if anything did you ask him?

[DETECTIVE ELLIOTT:] I asked him if he understood his right [sic] and he said, “yes.”

* * *

[PROSECUTOR:] Okay. Let me ask you this. Are you familiar with individuals under the influence of alcohol?


[PROSECUTOR:] All right. Did you have, did [appellant] appear to be under the influence of any alcohol?

[DETECTIVE ELLIOTT:] No sir, he did not.

[PROSECUTOR:] Or any drugs?


* * *

[PROSECUTOR:] Did he appear to understand you?


* * *

[PROSECUTOR:] Okay. Can you continue with what happened after you advised [appellant] of his Miranda Rights and Right to Prompt Presentment?

[DETECTIVE ELLIOTT:] I asked [appellant] where he had been up to the week leading to where he was arrested. [Appellant] explained to me that he had seen his picture on the news Monday or Tuesday, the previous Monday or Tuesday, and that he was wanted for murder, and that he was visiting family.

[PROSECUTOR:] Okay. And what else?

[DETECTIVE ELLIOTT:] I questioned [appellant] specifically about the murder and the incident which occurred on Robinson Place. [Appellant] said that he was there on the scene when it occurred. First he said he was by himself, but then he said, no, he was with a person who he identified as Man and Deonte [sic]. And he explained to me that he was on Robinson Place in the area of what they call “the cut”. And while in “the cut” he observed an ice cream truck drive into Robinson Place, he heard a gunshot, everybody ran and he went to, who he identified as, Little Ray's house.

[PROSECUTOR:] Okay. What else occurred during this interview?

[DETECTIVE ELLIOTT:] I specifically asked [appellant] if he was responsible for this. He denied doing the shooting. And he was unable to provide or identify anyone that was responsible for the shooting.

[PROSECUTOR:] Okay. Anything else that you can recall?

[DETECTIVE ELLIOTT:] At one point during the interview I asked [appellant] to show me the palms of his hands. I asked him what he saw. [Appellant] told me, “fingerprints.” I explained to him, while showing him a picture of a metal cashbox, which was just inside the ice cream truck, the night the incident occurred. I asked him, “Do you realize the significance of your fingerprints on this cash metal box?” He replied to me that it didn't look like a metal box to him. As soon as the questioning stopped he didn't provide an explanation and I didn't question him any further about that issue.

[PROSECUTOR:] Okay. Did there come a time when he indicated that he didn't want to answer any more questions?


* * *

[PROSECUTOR:] What, if any offers of reward did you make to [appellant?]

[DETECTIVE ELLIOTT:] I did not make any.

[PROSECUTOR:] What, if any threats did you make to him?

[DETECTIVE ELLIOT:] I did not make any threats.

[PROSECUTOR:] What, if any inducements did you make to him in order to get him to talk to you?

[DETECTIVE ELLIOT:] None at all.

Detective Elliott testified that [a]t about quarter to [one] in the morning [appellant] told me he didn't want to answer any more questions without a lawyer and I stopped questioning him.” The circuit court ruled orally from the bench, granting the motion, in part, and denying it, in part, as follows:

[I] do find Det. Elliott's testimony to be credible. That he did in fact read [appellant] his Miranda Rights. He read from the card. He read both sides of the card; the Miranda Rights and also the Prompt Presentment Rights. That Det. Elliott stated that he asked the defendant if he understood his rights and he responded, “yes.” Det. Elliott also described how [appellant] did not appear to under [sic] the influence of drugs or alcohol, he appeared to understand his questions when being asked and [appellant] proceeded to give some statements. I find that those statementswere voluntary and that the State has met its burden on that.

I do find, however that when [appellant] stated, ‘I don't want to talk any more,’ or something to the effect, ‘I'm done talking,’ at that point that was his invocation of his right to remain silent and any statements made thereafter, I believe would have required probably a re-Mirandaization or some safeguard. But at this point I find that that was a full invocation of his right to remain silent and anything elicited after this is suppressed.


At trial, as a witness for the State, Charlene Woodland testified that she owned and operated an ice cream truck as a business to help raise money to send her daughter to college. Woodland testified that, as of June 29, 2007, she had not yet operated the truck for ice cream sales during 2007. According to Woodland, that night, after getting the truck's generator fixed, she took the ice cream truck for a “test drive” and ended up at Robinson Place. Woodland's thirteen-year-old daughter, Briona, and Woodland's friend, Tanya Butler, accompanied her in the rear of the truck. Woodland testified that she stopped her ice cream truck at the end of Robinson Place to adjust her side mirrors. According to Woodland, she went in the back of the truck and saw a man, whom she identified at trial as appellant, with a gun in the window. Woodland testified that Butler said they were being robbed and told her to get the money box. Woodland retrieved the money box, shoved it at appellant, ran back to the driver's seat, and started driving away. Woodland testified that she heard gunshots, and that Briona screamed “mommy, he hit me.” Woodland continued driving until she saw a law enforcement officer, who came to her assistance. Briona was taken from the scene by medical personnel and Woodland testified that this was the last time she saw Briona alive.

During appellant's cross-examination of Woodland, the following colloquy occurred:

[APPELLANT'S COUNSEL]: Well, Ms. Woodland, isn't it true that you never told anyone that you could recognize the man who shot your daughter?

[WOODLAND]: It's not true. I told the State.

[APPELLANT'S COUNSEL]: You're saying you told one of the State's Attorneys?

[WOODLAND]: Yes, I did.


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