JUVENILES AND MIRANDA WARNINGS: CUMMINGS V. COMMONWEALTH (SC 6/21/2007)

CUMMINGS V. COMMONWEALTH
CRIMINAL:  MIRANDA WAIVER; SENTENCING; JUVENILE ADJUDICATIONS
2005-SC-000479-MR.pdf
PUBLISHED: AFFIRMING IN PART, REVERSING IN PART, AND REMANDING
MAJORITY OPINION BY MCANULTY
LOWER: JEFFERSON
DATE RENDERED: 6/21/2007

SC affirmed TC’s denial of Cummings’ motion to suppress incriminating statements given to police.  In order to use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, made by a defendant subjected to custodial interrogation, the prosecution must demonstrate that the Appellant was advised of his Fifth Amendment rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. Miranda v. Arizona , 384 U .S. at 444, 88 S . Ct. at 1612, 16 L. Ed . 2d 694. These rights may be waived and the statements may be used against the defendant if the waiver is knowing, voluntary, and intelligent. Id . Once an accused has expressed a desire to deal with the police only through counsel, he is not subject to further interrogation by the authorities until counsel has been made available to him, unless the accused himself initiates further communication, exchanges, or conversations with the police. Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S . 477, 484-485, 101 S. Ct. 1880, 1885, 68 L. Ed. 2d 378 (1981).

In the present case, Appellant has failed to show there was clear error in the trial judge’s factual findings . The trial judge found that Appellant initiated conversation with detectives after invocation of the right to counsel, and that Appellant’s waiver was not coerced . Although Appellant contended that he did not initiate conversation and that Detective Arnold threatened him, there was no evidence in the lengthy interrogation transcript to support this contention . In contrast, the testimony of the detectives and the transcript of the interrogation supported the trial court’s findings . Taking note of the fact that the record contained transcriptions of the interviews in which Appellant was repeatedly advised of his rights, the trial judge commented that this was one of the best cases in terms of proof she had ever had. Given the unique position of the trial judge to assess the credibility of the witnesses’ testimony on this issue, and the lack of support for Appellant’s version of events, we conclude there was substantial evidence to  accept the facts as the trial judge found them .

Offenses committed while one is a juvenile do not trigger the provision in KRS 533.060(2) requiring consecutive sentences.  The maximum sentence that Appellant should have received in this case was 70 years.

By Scott Byrd @ www.OlginandByrd.com

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are inappropriate, offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.