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People v. Mathews

Court of Appeals of Michigan

May 22, 2018

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
LARICCA SEMINTA MATHEWS, Defendant-Appellee.

          Oakland Circuit Court LC No. 2016-260482-FC

          Before: O'Connell, P.J., and Hoekstra and K. F. Kelly, JJ.

          Hoekstra, J.

         Defendant has been charged with open murder, MCL 750.316, discharge of a firearm in a building, MCL 750.234b, and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, MCL 750.227b. Before trial, defendant filed a motion to suppress statements she made to police based on the contention that police failed to adequately advise her of her rights as required by Miranda v Arizona, 384 U.S. 436; 86 S.Ct. 1602; 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966). The trial court granted defendant's motion. The prosecution filed an interlocutory application for leave to appeal in this Court, which we denied.[1] The prosecutor then filed an application for leave to appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court, and in lieu of granting leave, the Supreme Court remanded to this Court for consideration as on leave granting, specifically instructing this Court "to consider whether either of the bases for suppression advanced by the defendant in the trial court rendered the warning in this case deficient" under Miranda. People v Mathews, 501 Mich. 950 (2018). On remand, we find no merit to defendant's assertion that the police were required to inform her that she could cut off questioning at any time during the interrogation. However, because generally advising defendant that she had "a right to a lawyer" did not sufficiently convey her right to consult with an attorney and to have an attorney present during the interrogation, we conclude that the Miranda warnings in this case were defective and we affirm the trial court's suppression of defendant's statement.

         This case arises from the shooting death of defendant's boyfriend, Gabriel Dumas, who was killed in defendant's apartment on August 12, 2016. After the shooting, defendant called 911 and told the dispatcher that she had shot Dumas. Police responded to the scene, and defendant was taken into custody and transported to the Wixom Police Department. At the police station, defendant was interviewed twice. Detective Brian Stowinsky conducted the first interview. During the first interview, Stowinsky presented defendant with a written advice of rights form which stated:

Before any questions are asked of you, you should know: (1) you have a right to remain silent; (2) anything you say may be used against you; (3) you have a right to a lawyer, and (4) if you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided free.
I understand what my rights are and am willing to talk.

         Stowinsky also orally reviewed the statements on the advice of rights form with defendant. Specifically, the following exchange took place:

Detective Stowinsky: OK, um, I'm going to review these, ok?
Defendant: Uh hmm.
Detective Stowinsky: I'm going to read these to you.
Defendant: Uh hmm.
Detective Stowinsky: Um, before I question, start asking you, you should know that you have a right to remain silent.
Defendant: Uh hmm.
Detective Stowinsky: Anything you say maybe [sic] used against you. You have a right to a lawyer, if you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for free. Do you understand your rights?
Defendant: Yes.

         Defendant agreed to talk with Stowinsky and she signed the advice of rights form. During the questioning that followed, defendant told Stowinsky that she quarreled with Dumas, that Dumas attacked her, and that she shot him.

         Later the same day, defendant was interviewed a second time by Sergeant Michael DesRosiers. At the beginning of that second interview the following exchange took place between defendant and DesRosiers:

Sergeant DesRosiers: Alright, so um, Detective Stowinsky, remember he talked about your ...

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