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Name: People v. Thomas
Case #: S067519
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/23/2012
Summary

The rule of Edwards v. Arizona (1981) 451 U.S. 477 does not preclude questioning about a different criminal investigation after the suspect reinitiates contact with police. In this death penalty case, appellant moved to exclude statements as violative of Edwards; the motion was denied and the statements introduced at trial. Affirmed. Thomas turned himself in to Oakland police about a murder at a BART station. He was already a suspect in an attempted robbery being investigated by Hayward police. During questioning about the attempted robbery, appellant invoked the right to counsel and the police terminated the interview. He later reinitiated contact with a detective. Appellant indicated that he had invoked his right to counsel, he had spoken to an attorney, and he now wanted to talk and set things right. He was advised of his Miranda rights again and he confirmed several times that he now wanted to talk without counsel present. He then discussed the attempted robbery. Two days later, sergeants investigating the BART murder met with appellant. They advised him of his Miranda rights without mentioning what specific case they were investigating. Appellant waived his rights and ultimately made incriminating statements about the BART murder. The Edwards rule did not preclude introduction of the statements. There was no indication of police badgering; there was no reason to doubt that Thomas could have invoked his right to counsel since he had previously stopped the interrogation by that means; and, there was no affirmative limit to questioning as Thomas had reinitiated it. The purpose of the Edwards rule would not be served by excluding appellant’s confession. His failure to mention other crimes could not be understood as an assertion that questioning about other crimes would be off limits.