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Outlaw v. United States

September 05, 2002

DOMINIQUE E. OUTLAW, APPELLANT,
v.
UNITED STATES, APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (F-5992-99) (Hon. Lee F. Satterfield, Motions Judge) (Hon. Michael L. Rankin, Trial Judge)

Before Steadman and Reid, Associate Judges, and King, Senior Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reid, Associate Judge

Argued June 18, 2002

Appellant Dominique E. Outlaw challenges his convictions on the lesser included offense of second-degree murder, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, and carrying a pistol without a license. *fn1 He primarily contends that the trial court erred by not suppressing his videotaped confession due to a violation of his procedural rights relating to extradition from the State of Maryland. We hold that the trial court erred in finding no violation of federal rules governing extradition and the right to a probable cause hearing in the jurisdiction of arrest (Maryland), where Mr. Outlaw signed a waiver form after being given materially inaccurate information pertaining to his procedural rights. Finding no prejudice, however, we affirm his convictions and the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress his videotaped confession because: (1) Mr. Outlaw received comparable rights in the District of Columbia to the federal procedural extradition rights since his arrest warrant was based on probable cause and he subsequently had a preliminary, probable cause hearing in the District; (2) there was no unnecessary delay in presentment; and (3) he voluntarily and knowingly waived his Miranda rights in the District. Mr. Outlaw also argues that his convictions should be reversed because the trial court failed to give the jury his requested self-defense instruction. We conclude that if such error occurred, it was harmless.

FACTUAL SUMMARY

Testimony given at a hearing to suppress Mr. Outlaw's videotaped confession shows that on August 17, 1999, he was arrested at his home in Capitol Heights, Maryland on a District of Columbia warrant relating to the fatal shooting of James Stocks in the District on April 15, 1999. Present at the time of Mr. Outlaw's arrest were District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department ("MPD") detectives, FBI agents, and several Prince George's County police officers. FBI Agent John Cox, MPD Detective Johnny Watson and others went to the basement of Mr. Outlaw's residence. Agent Cox

explained to [Mr. Outlaw] that he had a right to be brought to a court in Maryland where he could basically contest his identity. If he wasn't the person wanted in the warrant, he could contest that. If the Court determined that he was the person wanted in the warrant, then the agency that wanted him would have a certain number of days to come pick him up and bring him to the jurisdiction that wanted him, . . . the District of Columbia. Or, he could sign the form and go straight to the District of Columbia . . . .

Mr. Outlaw signed the waiver form. *fn2 Contrary to Mr. Outlaw's testimony, Agent Cox denied "threaten[ing Mr. Outlaw] into signing the [waiver] form" which permitted his transport to the District. Agent Cox and Detective Watson also signed the form as witnesses.

Agent Cox was "not sure" whether he used the words "extradition hearing" in explaining Mr. Outlaw's rights, and "[did not] recall" whether he told Mr. Outlaw that he had a right to a preliminary hearing, or explained the nature of a bond hearing. Nonetheless, he "discuss[ed] [extradition] with [Mr. Outlaw] in substance." Mr. Outlaw maintained that Agent Cox told him not to say anything because law enforcement agents were aware that he acted in self-defense.

Detective Watson, who was assigned to the team investigating the death of Mr. Stocks, also testified at the suppression hearing. As part of his duties as a member of the investigating team, Detective Watson assembled a photo array, which included the picture of Mr. Outlaw. He showed the photo array to various witnesses. One of the witnesses, who had known Mr. Outlaw for about a year, viewed the photo array and stated, without hesitation: "That's Dominique [Outlaw], the one who shot James [Stocks]." The witness was located across the street from the site of the shooting, had an unobstructed view in good lighting, and saw Mr. Outlaw fire a gun at Mr. Stocks. A second witness who looked at the photo array commented: "[T]hat's the one who shot James. That's the one who beat up my stepson." That witness, who also had known Mr. Outlaw for more than one year and who was approximately fifteen feet away from Mr. Outlaw at the time of the shooting, identified Mr. Outlaw's photograph. *fn3

When asked what Mr. Outlaw had been told about his rights to have an extradition hearing, Detective Watson testified that he was informed of his "right to an extradition hearing and he was showed this [waiver] form and they explained to him the form." Initially, he did not "recall" whether Mr. Outlaw was advised that "he had the right to an attorney." Upon additional questioning by defense counsel, Detective Watson acknowledged that Mr. Outlaw was not advised of his right to an attorney at the extradition hearing, and that the waiver of rights form did not mention an extradition hearing. *fn4

After he executed the waiver form in Maryland, Mr. Outlaw was taken to Detective Watson's vehicle; Detective Gina Powell also was present. Detective Watson stated: "[W]e sat with him in my vehicle, and then we transported him to the Cold Case Unit" in the District, at 300 Indiana Avenue, N.W. At 7:27 a.m., Mr. Outlaw signed a waiver of rights card, which was witnessed by Detectives Watson and Powell. There was no indication that Mr. Outlaw did not understand the waiver of rights card. In response to questions three and four on the card, he indicated that he did not wish to answer any questions, and that he was unwilling to answer any questions without the presence of a lawyer. After being told that the detectives could not talk with him in light of his responses to questions on the waiver of rights card, Mr. Outlaw "said he wanted to talk about the case." Detective Watson told Mr. Outlaw that, "if he want[ed] to talk about it, the[n] he [would] have to change his answer three and four to, yes." Mr. Outlaw changed his responses to those questions at 7:30 a.m. He claimed that he changed his responses because Agent Cox pressed him to reveal what had happened when Mr. Stocks was killed, and also pushed him in the chest while he was handcuffed to a chair, causing him to teeter backwards and injure his leg on a table.

Mr. Outlaw was questioned from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. He then decided to make a videotaped statement, rather than allowing the detectives to take his statement. The videotaped statement began around 10:00 a.m. and lasted approximately fifteen minutes. Mr. Outlaw described why and how he shot Mr. Stocks. At the end of the videotape, he was asked about the waiver of rights card and the change he made to his responses. He acknowledged that he changed his answers, and initialed the changes, so that he could speak with the law enforcement agents. When asked if anyone "harass[ed]" him "or ma[d]e [him] . . . talk to" the law enforcement agents, or "threaten[ed]" him, he responded, "No, sir." He also agreed that he was "treat[ed] . . . respectfully" and offered food and drink. In response to the question: "[D]id we also unhandcuff you[,]" Mr. Outlaw said: "Yes, sir."

At the conclusion of the suppression hearing and after remarking that there were some inaccuracies and flaws in the information given to Mr. Outlaw in Maryland, the trial judge concluded, in part:

Given the facts of this case[,] and the Court has to consider the totality of the circumstances[,] and the totality of the circumstances are that this defendant, Mr. Outlaw, doesn't appear to have any mental problems, doesn't appear to have any deficiencies in his ability to understand things and he was told that he could stay and go before a judge in Maryland for purposes of determining whether or not he would be removed back to [the District of Columbia]. He wasn't told of what the standard would be for determining that, but that he could have a hearing there.

I think there are some flaws, but the Court is satisfied that the totality of the circumstances indicate that he was aware that he could have a hearing before being removed to the District of Columbia and that hearing could be in the State of Maryland if he chose to do so or he could choose to come ...


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