Interlocutory Appeal from the District Court Jefferson County District Court Case No. 13CR2913. Honorable Philip J. McNulty, Judge.
During a custodial interrogation, investigators provided Carrion, a native
Spanish speaker, with a written Miranda advisement in English. The supreme court holds that the trial court's factual findings are supported by the record and are not clearly erroneous. The trial court found that Carrion had difficulty with the English language and that there was insufficient evidence before the court that Carrion could read English. Accordingly, the trial court suppressed statements made by Carrion during the custodial interrogation. Because the trial court's factual findings are supported by the record, the supreme court affirms the trial court's order.
Attorneys for Plaintiff-Appellant: Peter A. Weir, District Attorney, Donna Skinner Reed, Chief Appellate Deputy District Attorney, Golden, Colorado.
Attorneys for Defendant-Appellee: Douglas K. Wilson, Public Defender, Miriam Stohs, Deputy Public Defender, Golden, Colorado.
[¶1] This interlocutory appeal challenges the trial court's order suppressing statements made by Luis Carrion, the defendant, during custodial interrogation. Interrogating officers gave Carrion an oral Miranda advisement and provided him an English language written advisement on a waiver form, which he signed. After finding the oral Miranda advisement deficient and that the prosecution presented insufficient evidence Carrion was able to read English, the trial court suppressed statements he made during the interrogation. The prosecution argues that the suppression order is erroneous because the trial court's factual findings are not supported by the record. We hold that the trial court's factual findings are supported by the record and are not clearly erroneous. We therefore affirm the trial court's order.
[¶2] On October 25, 2013, the police arrested Carrion pursuant to an arrest warrant for one count of sex assault on a child -- pattern of abuse. That night, Lee Hoag and Matt Clark, investigators with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, interrogated Carrion at the Denver Police Department. The interview was audio recorded and conducted entirely in English. Investigator Hoag advised Carrion that he did not have to talk to them, he did not have to answer their questions, he could stop the interview at any time, and he had a right to have a lawyer present during questioning. However, neither investigator orally advised Carrion that if he could not afford an attorney one would be appointed to represent him nor that anything he said could be used against him in court.
[¶3] Carrion was born in Puerto Rico, his native language is Spanish, and he speaks English with an accent. Near the beginning of the interrogation, Investigator Hoag asked Carrion if he could read and write, to which Carrion responded, " I read, um, well, so-so writing" and he could " write my name, address, and a little bit in the computer." After the oral advisement, Investigator Hoag gave Carrion a waiver of rights form written in English and asked him, " Can you read this or do you want me to read this for you?" to which Carrion responded, " Okay." Neither of the investigators read the written Miranda advisement aloud to Carrion, nor did they ask him if he understood the rights listed on the waiver form.
[¶4] After briefly looking at the waiver form, Carrion signed it and proceeded to make incriminating statements. On July 15, 2014, Carrion filed a motion to suppress his statements, alleging that he did not voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently waive his Miranda rights. During the hearing on that motion, the trial court observed, and the prosecution did not dispute, that the oral Miranda advisement was legally deficient because the investigators never told Carrion that if he could not afford a lawyer one would be appointed for him. However, the prosecution alleged that the ...