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Name: People v. Polk
Case #: A117633
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 12/13/2010

Defendant’s failure to make a timely and specific objection on the ground asserted on appeal makes that ground not cognizable. Appellant was charged with her husband’s murder. The first trial resulted in a mistrial when defense counsel suffered a family tragedy. Appellant represented herself at the second trial. At both trials, a Miranda issue was raised, specifically contending appellant’s statements to the police were coerced. Following an evidentiary hearing, the court declined to suppress appellant’s statements, finding no coercion. On appeal, appellant claimed that the Miranda warnings were inadequate because appellant was not advised that if she elected to provide a statement, the statement could be used in court against her. Appellant’s statements to the police were introduced by the prosecution. The appellate court agreed that the warning was inadequate and that in such an instance Miranda precludes introduction of the statements in the prosecution’s case-in-chief. However, because appellant failed to raise the specific issue of inadequate Miranda admonishment in the trial court, it was waived for appeal purposes. Under Evidence Code section 353, subdivision (a), a verdict shall not be set aside unless an objection is timely made and “and so stated as to make clear the specific ground of the objection or motion.” And, appellant cannot claim that the issue was cognizable on an ineffective assistance of counsel argument. When a defendant elects to represent herself, she cannot thereafter seek reversal on the ground of her own incompetency. (People v. Bloom (1989) 48 Cal.3d 1194.)