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State v. Ward

Decided: April 30, 1990.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
DARNELL WARD, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County.

King, Baime and Keefe. The opinion of the court was delivered by King, P.J.A.D.

King

The issue in this case is whether defendant was subjected to the functional equivalent of interrogation in violation of his Miranda*fn1 rights. Defendant was found guilty of armed robbery and related offenses after a jury trial. He received a prison term of 15 years with a five-year period of parole ineligibility because of the Graves Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6 d. He contends that the admission into evidence of a statement made while he was in custody violated his Miranda rights. We agree and reverse.

The robbery with which defendant was charged occurred at about 7:30 p.m. on May 8, 1986 at Quick Charlie's Mini Market

at 658 Sanford Avenue, in the Vailsburg section of Newark. Three males, defendant, codefendant Kevin Miller and S.S. (a juvenile) were suspects in the robbery. The victims gave the police certain information about the suspects and the getaway car. A chase ensued and Miller and S.S. were caught. The police claim that defendant-appellant Ward fled and avoided apprehension. Inside the car used by the fleeing suspects, the police found the proceeds of the robbery. Along the escape route they found the discarded weapon used in the holdup. Norris, a victim, identified Miller and S.S. at the scene of their apprehension and again at the police station.

When police interrogated the adult codefendant Miller, he implicated defendant-appellant Ward in the robbery. Another victim of the robbery then identified defendant Ward in a photographic lineup prepared by the police.

On May 14 Detective Scott-Bey found out that defendant was in custody on another, unrelated charge. He went to defendant's jail cell as part of his investigation. The Detective already had Kevin Miller's statement implicating defendant-appellant Ward in the robbery of Quick Charlie's Mini Market on May 8. Thus, defendant Ward was definitely a suspect at that time.

In the cell block Detective Scott-Bey showed defendant the pictures of "the other two individuals that were charged with the particular crime," i.e., Miller and S.S. At the same time he showed the pictures to defendant he told him about the robbery charge being made against him and "where the occurrence of this incident was. I said that these two individuals were also arrested." No Miranda warnings were given to defendant before this statement by the Detective. Nor did Detective Scott-Bey ask defendant any questions.

This is precisely how the Detective described the event.

Q After you gave him the warnings and he stated the names of the two individuals?

A No, he had told me what he did. I told him the place of the occurrence, everything. I put two pictures down in front of him. I told him these two guys were arrested and, "You are going to be charged ...


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