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Criminal Practice – Right to Counsel – Invocation & Police Interaction – Sentencing

Criminal Practice – Right to Counsel – Invocation & Police Interaction – Sentencing

Defendant spoke to the police, invoked his right to counsel, spoke to the police chief, and then later waived his right to counsel again. In rejecting defendant’s motion to suppress his statements to police, the trial court failed to address defendant’s interaction with the police chief. As a result, this court cannot examine the relevant legal factors applicable to this exchange such as (1) the intent of the police, (2) whether the practice was designed to elicit an incriminating response from the accused, and (3) any knowledge the police may have had concerning the unusual susceptibility of defendant to a particular form of persuasion.

We therefore remand this matter for a new suppression hearing with instructions for the trial court to address the exchange between defendant and the police chief in light of the relevant factors. The trial court, based on those new findings, may again deny the motion to suppress, leaving defendant’s convictions intact, or may grant the motion to suppress in whole or in part and order a new trial.

As the state concedes, the trial court erred by imposing two consecutive sentences of life without parole without stating the evidence supporting or opposing the statutory mitigating factors under G.S. § 15A-1340.19B(c). We vacate defendant’s two sentences of life without parole and remand for a new sentencing hearing.

State v. Santillan (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-155-18, 15 pp.) (Richard Dietz, J.) Appealed from Wake County Superior Court (Paul Gessner, J.) Danielle Marquis Elder for the state; Michele Goldman for defendant. N.C. App.


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