Appeal from the 10th District Court Galveston County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. 16-CR-1600
consists of Justices Christopher, Jewell, and Hassan.
made custodial statements to two different interrogators in
two different settings, but only the second interrogator
warned appellant of his rights under Miranda v.
Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). Appellant moved to
suppress both of his statements, claiming that the
interrogators had circumvented Miranda by subjecting
him to the two-step technique that is sometimes known as
"question first, warn later." In response to
appellant's motion, the State stipulated that certain
pre-Miranda statements were inadmissible, but it
argued that the post-Miranda statements should be
admitted because appellant voluntarily waived his rights
under Miranda. The trial court agreed with the State
and denied appellant's motion to suppress. Appellant now
complains of that ruling in this appeal from his conviction
for theft. For reasons explained more fully below, we
conclude that the trial court's ruling was not an abuse
early hours of the morning, several men broke into a
motorcycle shop by sawing through a metal wall panel. The
break in was immediately detected by an alarm company, which
promptly notified the police.
police raced to the scene with their sirens off, hoping to
establish a perimeter before engaging the burglars. When they
arrived, the police found appellant standing out front and
serving as a lookout. Appellant initially ran away, but then
he turned around and walked towards the police with his hands
up. The police saw a black object in appellant's hand
(later determined to be a cellphone) and ordered appellant to
stop and get on the ground. When appellant failed to follow
these instructions, he was tackled by an officer and a
detective, the two individuals who would later interrogate
was arrested, handcuffed, and secured in the backseat of a
patrol car, but according to the officer who arrested him, he
was not warned of his rights because the scene was still
active. The remaining burglars had taken off on foot, and the
police were still searching for them in a nearby field. The
police called in a canine unit to aid in the search, and as
that search continued, appellant was transported to the
police station for processing.
The Custodial Statements to the Officer
officer who arrested appellant also transported him to the
police station. The officer's patrol car was equipped
with an interior video camera, which recorded his interaction
camera recorded roughly thirty-seven minutes of footage,
beginning with the officer's race to the motorcycle shop.
Appellant was apprehended approximately five minutes into the
recording, and he was secured in the backseat of the patrol
car another five minutes after that. He then sat alone for
the next seventeen minutes as the police continued to search
officer returned to his patrol car at about the twenty-seven
minute mark, and then he drove away without making any
comments to appellant. The detective was not present at this
officer drove in silence for a full minute, and then
appellant broke that silence by asking, "Did y'all
get him?" The officer tersely responded, "Working
on it." When appellant asked, "Huh?" the
officer explained that there were two dogs on the scent, and
that "he's gonna get bit."
officer then began his own series of questions, asking
appellant whether he lived in the La Marque area, where the
motorcycle shop was located. Appellant answered that he was
from Houston, but that he happened to be in the La Marque
area that evening. Without providing full context to his
answer, appellant added that "they came down to pick
[him] up" and asked him "to stand out there and
wave for them." The officer asked how many other men
were out there, and appellant said "about seven."
The officer continued, "Where did all the rest of them
go?" Appellant answered, "They seen y'all
next minute, the officer drove in silence, and then appellant
restarted the conversation. "How many did they
apprehend?" he asked. The officer said, "You're
the first." Appellant continued, "What were they
actually trying to do?" The officer responded,
"What everybody else does there in the middle of the
night- trying to steal shit." When appellant asked what
they were specifically trying to steal, the officer said,
"All that place has got is ATVs and bikes."
point, appellant heard over the officer's radio that only
two men were seen running away, and one of them was wearing a
white shirt, while the other was wearing all dark clothing.
Appellant then volunteered, "Oh that's the one they
call Joe. He had on all black. . . . And the white shirt.
That's Joe and George." The officer asked whether
those suspects were from the local area or from Houston, and
appellant said he did not know, but that they had picked him
up. Appellant added, "So that's what they were up
receiving another update over the radio, the officer told
appellant that the dogs were closing in on the other burglars
and that "somebody's about to get bit." The
officer then asked, "So how'd you get blood on your
hands?" Appellant said, "My knife," which he
indicated he had "probably dropped."
another extended period of silence, appellant asked,
"What actually did they do though? That's what
I'm trying to figure out." The officer responded,
"That's what we're still trying to figure out.
We're just trying to get ...