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Mobile App. Tweets Tittle. On appeal, appellant raises the following question: Did the trial court err in denying appellant's motion to suppress?
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Finding no error, we shall affirm the judgments of the circuit court. Ramos was carrying his wife's purse, which contained her Verizon cell phone. They were approached by two individuals who demanded the purse, one of whom pointed a handgun at them. Ramos handed over the purse, and the suspects fled. The stolen cell phone remained active for a week following the robbery. Detective Timothy Zombro of the Baltimore County Police Department subpoenaed the records of the stolen cell phone, which showed that, following the robbery, the phone had been used to make calls.
The detective contacted individuals who had received calls from the stolen cell phone, and they identified appellant as the individual who had called them. Appellant was subsequently arrested in Baltimore City on an unrelated charge. Detective Zombro, along with two other officers from the Baltimore County Police Department, transported appellant from the Baltimore City Detention Center to the police station for questioning regarding the robbery.
While in transit, Det. Appellant indicated to the detective that he could not read, but he stated that he understood his rights as the detective had read them to him. Appellant initialed each section of the Miranda form, "LL". When the detective asked appellant why he used the initials "LL" since appellant's initials are "LW" , appellant responded, "oh, they call me 'Little Lar. Appellant agreed to waive his rights and was questioned during the ride to the police station. See Miranda v.
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Arizona , U. Appellant admitted to Det. Zombro that he and his friend, Rashid, robbed the victims at Lansdowne, and that Rashid pointed the gun at the victims and took the pocketbook and cell phone from them. Upon arrival at the police station, the officers removed appellant's handcuffs and offered appellant a snack, a drink, and two cigarettes, which he smoked. Appellant was placed in an interview room where the detective reviewed the Miranda waiver form with appellant again.
Zombro then discussed the information that appellant provided in the car, and asked appellant if he would like to write a statement. Appellant agreed, but he indicated that "he didn't write too well.
When the statement was complete, Det. Zombro read the statement back to appellant. Appellant then signed the statement, as did the detective and his partner. The defense called Dr. Michael O'Connell, an expert in forensic psychology. O'Connell testified that appellant completed the eighth grade with special education services. He stated that appellant receives Supplemental Security Income SSI for a diagnosis of mental retardation, and that appellant's finances are managed by a family representative. O'Connell determined that appellant has a very low IQ and that his verbal abilities, reasoning, judgment, working memory, and his ability to pay attention and process information were "low" or "extremely low.
O'Connell also administered a test for Miranda comprehension, and found that appellant demonstrated a lack of understanding of his rights.
Although he understood that he did not have to speak to police, appellant, according to Dr. O'Connell, did not realize that his statements to police could be used against him.
O'Connell determined that appellant had a high level of suggestability, which, coupled with the over-confidence that individuals with learning deficits commonly use to compensate for their shame over their intellectual deficits, would make it difficult for appellant to assertively declare his lack of understanding. Ultimately, Dr. O'Connell opined that appellant did not validly waive his Miranda rights.
In rebuttal, the State called Dr. Brian Zimnitzky, an expert in forensic psychiatry, who also administered the Miranda comprehension test to appellant. Zimnitzky testified that he read appellant each enumerated Miranda right and asked appellant to explain what he understood the right to mean. He stated that appellant explained his understanding of his right to remain silent as, "I have the right to say nothing.
Not to tell them nothing.
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Right means do the right thing. And when they ask me something I ain't gotta say nothing. Admitting to something and I, and they can hold me accountable for it. If given the lawyer you don't pay for it.
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Not say nothing else to the police. When they ask me questions I can stop. Zimnitzky scored appellant at a 9 out of a possible 10 points on the Miranda comprehension test, which placed appellant above the mean for adult offenders sampled. Zimnitzky asked appellant what "afford" meant, and appellant responded, "if you can pay for it. Appellant moved to suppress his statement to police on the ground that he was unable to understand and appreciate his rights at the time he gave his statement.
The court denied the motion to suppress, finding that appellant demonstrated a sufficient level of understanding of his rights, and holding that he had waived those rights knowingly and voluntarily. In considering the denial of a motion to suppress evidence, we review only the record of the suppression hearing.
State v. Nieves , Md. State , Md.