State v. Cavallaro

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 03-09-2016
  • Case #: A155552
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Shorr, J. for the Court; Sercombe, P.J.; & Tookey, J.

Under Article I, section 12 of the Oregon Constitution and the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, a trial court must suppress incriminating statements made by a criminal defendant after that defendant unequivocally invokes the right to counsel, unless the defendant subsequently waives the right to counsel by evincing a “willingness and a desire for a generalized discussion about the investigation” that would lead a reasonable officer to believe that Defendant had waived his constitutional right to counsel.

Defendant appealed the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress incriminating statements, arguing that admitting the statements violated his Fifth Amendment rights and rights under Article I, section 12 of the Oregon Constitution. Defendant was arrested on suspicion of sexual abuse, and, after his arrest, invoked his right to counsel. Later, officers read Defendant his Miranda rights; Defendant acknowledged that he understood his rights, and agreed to speak with the officers without an attorney present. At trial, Defendant argued that the incriminating statements made in that interview should be suppressed because he had initially unequivocally invoked his right to counsel, and the officers should not have proceeded to interview Defendant without an attorney present. The trial court held that while Defendant had unequivocally invoked his right to counsel, he had reinitiated conversation with the officers, and the admission of the incriminating statements did not violate Defendant’s constitutional rights. On appeal, Defendant argued that he had not reinitiated conversation with the officers; the State conceded this point, but argued that Defendant had not initially unequivocally invoked his right to counsel. The Court held that there was sufficient evidence in the record to prove that the officers believed that Defendant had unequivocally invoked his right to counsel, and that Defendant’s subsequent utterances were insufficient to prove his intention to waive his right to counsel. Accordingly, the Court held that the trial court erred by denying Defendant’s motion to suppress the incriminating statements. Reversed in part, otherwise affirmed.

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