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Name: People v. Perdomo
Case #: B186098
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 02/13/2007

Appellant was convicted of felony vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated following a jury trial in which his statements to police were admitted. The statements were the result of an interrogation in the hospital while appellant was recovering from surgery and heavily sedated with pain medications. On appeal, he contended that the statements were involuntary and therefore admitted in error. The appellate court disagreed and affirmed. The record was devoid of any suggestion that the officers resorted to physical or psychological pressure to elicit the statements. Absent some indication of coercive police activity an admission or confession cannot be deemed involuntary. The statements were tape recorded, and the officers’ tone appeared conversational and not threatening. Appellant did not express distress or otherwise indicate an unwillingness to talk to officers. Further, even if the statements were involuntary, their admission was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. The physical and testimonial evidence was sufficient in itself to establish guilt even without appellant’s statements.