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Name: People v. Delgado
Case #: C082480
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/01/2018
Summary

In murder prosecution, trial court erred by not excluding defendant’s un-Mirandized inculpatory statements, but the error was harmless because of defendant’s voluntary post-Miranda confession. Delgado was found guilty of two counts of special circumstance murder after he confessed to shooting two people in the middle of a drug deal. On appeal, he argued his inculpatory statements to police should have been excluded because he was questioned in violation of Miranda v. Arizona (1969) 396 U.S. 868, and his post-Miranda statements were tainted by the procedures employed by detectives. Held: Affirmed on this point. In Missouri v. Seibert (2004) 542 U.S. 600, the Court barred admission of warned statements, whether voluntary or not, that are obtain by a deliberate attempt to thwart the Miranda safeguards. In this case, Delgado was arrested and brought to the police station. Though told he was not under arrest, police demanded access to his cell phone and indicated he could only leave after the data was obtained. Thus, he was effectively not free to leave and was in custody. He was interrogated and made admissions of guilt; then given Miranda warnings and interrogated again, where he repeated and elaborated on his admissions. Under these circumstances, he should have been given Miranda warnings before being interrogated. However, his post-Miranda statements were admissible. While mistakes were made by the officers, no deliberate techniques were employed. Since the defendant’s warned statements fully encompassed his unwarned statements, the erroneous admission of defendant’s unwarned statements was harmless. [Editor’s Note: The case was remanded for a juvenile transfer hearing and to allow trial court to consider striking gun use enhancements, but these sections of the opinion were unpublished.]

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/archive/C082480.PDF