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Robinson v. United States

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

July 14, 2016


          Argued February 2, 2016

         Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Criminal Division (CF2-20421-12) (Hon. Stuart G. Nash, Trial Judge)

          Daniel S. Harawa, Public Defender Service, with whom James Klein and Samia Fam, Public Defender Service, were on the brief, for appellant.

          Peter S. Smith, Assistant United States Attorney, with whom Vincent H. Cohen, Jr., Acting United States Attorney at the time the brief was filed, and Elizabeth Trosman, Suzanne Grealy Curt, and Erik Kenerson, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the brief, for appellee.

          BEFORE: Fisher and Blackburne-Rigsby, Associate Judges; and Pryor, Senior Judge.


         This case came to be heard on the transcript of record and the briefs filed, and was argued by counsel. On consideration whereof, and as set forth in the opinion filed this date, it is now hereby

         ORDERED and ADJUDGED that the case is remanded to the trial court with instructions to allow appellant to withdraw his pleas, if he elects to do so.


          Fisher, Associate Judge:

         After entering conditional pleas of guilty to three charges involving illegal possession of a pistol and ammunition, appellant David Robinson now appeals the trial court's ruling denying his motion to suppress statements. Robinson argues that the statement he made on May 11-12, 2012, should have been suppressed because he did not validly waive his Miranda rights, see Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), and that the statement he made on November 27, 2012, should be suppressed because he was subjected to custodial interrogation without being given Miranda warnings. We agree that the May statement should be suppressed, but decline to suppress the November statement.

         I. Background

         On January 3, 2012, Howard Sampler was shot and killed in the District of Columbia. On May 11 of that year appellant David Robinson was arrested for a violation of probation and taken to the First District police station. Upon learning of Robinson's arrest, Homicide Detective Anthony Patterson, a thirty-eight-year veteran of the Metropolitan Police Department, went to the First District interrogation room where Robinson was detained and "told him that I was investigating the murder of Howard Sampler and I believed that he had some involvement." Detective Patterson also told Robinson that "it might help him if he were to talk, " but that Patterson would first "have to advise [Robinson] of his rights." When Robinson indicated he would like to talk, Detective Patterson took him to an interrogation room on the Homicide Branch side of the building for a taped interview.

         Before they entered the Homicide Branch interrogation room, Detective Patterson "may have" shown Robinson a quote on "a printout" of a Facebook page that seemed to indicate Robinson was guilty. Robinson told Detective Patterson that he shot in self-defense.

         Once they were in the interrogation room, Detective Patterson read Robinson his Miranda rights from a PD-47 advice of rights form and then added, "[n]ow, we don't provide you a lawyer here." Robinson interjected "Yeah, " and Patterson continued: "But if . . . we ask you something and you don't want to talk about it you can say look, I don't have anything to say about that. Okay?" Detective Patterson next read Robinson the first three questions on the PD-47. Robinson answered "yes" to each question, both orally and by putting a checkmark next to the corresponding "yes" on the form. Patterson deliberately omitted reading the fourth question, and Robinson did not respond to that question on the form.[1]

         According to the government's proffer of facts supporting the guilty pleas, Robinson admitted to carrying a .40 caliber pistol "from one location in the Kenilworth neighborhood of Washington, D.C., to the 1500 block of 45th Street NE, Washington, D.C." and, after an altercation with Howard Sampler at that location, to firing the pistol "multiple times." Robinson claimed that he acted in self-defense.

         From the time he spoke to Detective Patterson in May until late November, Robinson remained incarcerated for violating his probation. On November 27, 2012, a "couple days" after Robinson had been released, Detective Patterson both called Robinson and went to his mother's house (where Robinson was baby-sitting his two-year-old daughter) to tell him that they needed to speak. When Robinson did not come to the police station, ...

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