Criminal: Miranda Warnings, self-incrimination — Kareem Ali Henry v. Com. of Kentucky (SC 12/18/2008)

Kareem Ali Henry v. Com. of Kentucky
Criminal:  Miranda Warnings, self-incrimination
Questions Presented:
Criminal Law. Miranda Warnings. Vehicle Search. Double Jeopardy. On appeal of criminal conviction pursuant to conditional guilty plea, issues relate to the "public safety" exception to mandated Miranda warnings, the warrantless search of automobile incident to recent occupant's arrest, and whether claim of double jeopardy is waived upon entry of guilty plea. 


Jefferson County - 
Date Rendered: 12/18/2008

Opinion by Justice Abramson; Justice Schroder not sitting; Justice Noble concurs in part and dissents in part by separate opinion. When arresting Henry outside a gas station, police officers had reason to believe Henry had discarded a handgun nearby moments 3 earlier. Before advising Henry of his Miranda rights, the officers asked him three times regarding the whereabouts of the handgun. In response, Henry made some incriminating statements. On appeal, Henry argued that his statement should have been suppressed by the trial court. The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court, holding that the police’s questioning fell within the “public safety exception” of Quarles and was therefore lawful under federal and state constitutions. The Supreme Court noted that, as in Quarles, the officers had reason to believe the suspect had abandoned a gun in an area accessible to the public and had limited their pre-Miranda questioning to locating and removing the hazard. In her dissent, Justice Noble stated that the immediacy and exigency of the public hazard in Quarles was not present in this case, noting that the police knew before they apprehended the suspect that he did not have the weapon and where he had abandoned it. 

Henry was also convicted of two counts of firearm possession by a felon. Both counts concerned the handgun recovered at the crime scene. After his arrest and indictment on the charges outlined above, Henry was indicted by a separate division of Jefferson Circuit Court after the serial number on the handgun matched that of a weapon previously reported stolen from an acquaintance of Henry. In reversing the second conviction, the Supreme Court cited Fulcher, which states “uninterrupted possession of the same contraband over a period of time is but one offense constituting a continuing course of conduct, precluding convictions of multiple offenses for possession of the same contraband on different dates.” Accordingly, the Supreme Court reversed the second conviction for firearm possession by a felon on double jeopardy grounds. 

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