KOSRAE STATE COURT TRIAL DIVISION
Cite as Kosrae v. Erwin
11 FSM Intrm. 192 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 2002)

[11 FSM Intrm. 192]

STATE OF KOSRAE,
Plaintiff,
 
vs.
 
VETO S. ERWIN,
Defendant.
 
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 91-02
 
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE
 
Aliksa B. Aliksa
Associate Justice
 
Hearing: October 1, 2002
 
Decided: October 1, 2002
 
Order Entered: October 9, 2002

APPEARANCES:

For the Plaintiff:                    Paliknoa Welly, trial counselor
                                               State Prosecutor
                                               Office of the Kosrae Attorney General
                                               P.O. Box 870
                                               Lelu, Kosrae FM 96944
 
For the Defendant:              Sean Patrick Lynch, Esq.
                                              Office of the Public Defender
                                              P.O. Box 245
                                              Lelu, Kosrae FM 96944

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HEADNOTES

Criminal Law and Procedure ) Arrest and Custody
      A person is considered arrested for the purpose of the right to be advised of his constitutional rights, when his freedom is substantially restricted or controlled by a police officer who is exercising official authority based upon the officers suspicion that the person may have been involved in the commission of a crime. Kosrae v. Erwin, 11 FSM Intrm. 192, 193 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 2002).
 
Criminal Law and Procedure ) Arrest and Custody; Criminal Law and Procedure ) Interrogation and Confession
     Where a persons freedom was substantially restricted by a police officer when he was placed into a police car and where that person was under the police officers suspicion that he was involved in the crimes committed earlier that evening, he was considered arrested for the purpose of the right to be advised of his constitutional rights to remain silent and to have legal counsel. And when the

[11 FSM Intrm. 193]

police officers failed to advise him of his constitutional rights at the time he was placed in the police car and considered arrested, all his statements made to the police after his arrest and placement into the police car and before he was advised of his constitutional rights, are inadmissible against him. Kosrae v. Erwin, 11 FSM Intrm. 192, 193-94 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 2002).
 
Criminal Law and Procedure ) Interrogation and Confession
     Statements made by an arrested person being questioned by police without having been advised of his constitutional rights violates the law and the Kosrae Constitution, and any such statement made by that person is inadmissible against him. Kosrae v. Erwin, 11 FSM Intrm. 192, 194 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 2002).

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COURTS OPINION

ALIKSA B. ALIKSA, Associate Justice:

     On September 16, 2002, Defendant filed a Motion to Suppress Evidence. On September 30,2002, Plaintiff filed a Memorandum in Opposition to Motion to Suppress Evidence. The hearing on the Motion was held on October 1, 2002. Prosecutor Paliknoa Welly appeared for the State. Defendant was represented by Sean Lynch, Public Defender. Officer Fred Taulung testified at the hearing.

     Based upon the evidence presented at the hearing, the argument of counsel, the file in this matter and in the interests of justice, I granted the Defendants Motion to Suppress Evidence. This memorandum sets forth my reasoning.

     During the evening of August 24, 2002, several crimes were alleged committed at the CAT Camp. Shortly after the incident, the Defendant, who was walking on the road, was stopped by a police patrol car and two Police Officers. Defendant was asked his name, and then placed into the patrol car. Defendant was then asked a series of questions regarding the alleged crimes at the CAT Camp earlier that evening. Defendant was then transported back to the scene of the crimes and made to assist the Police Officers in looking for physical evidence nearby. Defendant was compelled to wait near the police car while the Police Officers collected witness testimony and identification information.

      At the time of the questioning, Defendant was a suspect of the crimes. The Police Officers did not advise or inform the Defendant of his Constitutional right to remain silent, and his right to have legal counsel before placing the Defendant in the police car. The Police Officers did not advise or inform the Defendant of his Constitutional rights before questioning the Defendant. The Police Officers did not advise or inform the Defendant of his Constitutional rights before compelling the Defendant to assist the Police Officers in the search for physical evidence. Defendant was advised of his Constitution rights, the following day, on August 25, 2002 at 11:10 am.

     A person is considered arrested for the purpose of the right to be advised of his Constitutional rights, when the persons freedom is substantially restricted or controlled by a police officer who is exercising his official authority based upon the officers suspicion that the person may have been involved in the commission of a crime. FSM v. Edward, 3 FSM Intrm. 224 (Pon. 1987). Here the Defendants freedom was substantially restricted by a Police Officer when he was place into the police car. Defendant was under the Police Officers suspicion that he was involved in the crimes committed at the CAT Camp earlier that evening. Therefore, the Defendant was considered arrested for the purpose of the right to be advised of his Constitutional rights to remain silent and to have legal counsel.

[11 FSM Intrm. 194]

The Police Officers failed to advise the Defendant of his Constitutional rights at the time Defendant was placed in the police car and considered arrested.

      Statements made by an arrested person being questioned by police without being advised of his Constitutional rights is a violation of law and the Kosrae State Constitution. Any statement made by the defendant is inadmissible against him. FSM v. George, 6 FSM Intrm. 626 (Kos. 1994). Accordingly, all statements made by the Defendant to the Police Officers after his arrest and placement into the police car, before Defendant was advised of his Constitutional rights on August 25, 2002 at 11:10 am, are inadmissible against the Defendant. Furthermore, witness statements and identification testimony taken prior to the time that the Defendant was advised of his Constitutional rights are poisoned by the violation of the Defendants Constitutional protections and must also be suppressed.

      Accordingly, the Defendants Motion to Suppress Evidence is granted. All statements made by the Defendant to the Police Officers prior to August 25, 2002 at 11:10 am are suppressed and inadmissible against the Defendant. All witness statements and identification testimony taken by the Police Officer prior to August 25, 2002 at 11:10 am are also suppressed and inadmissible against the Defendant.

     Trial is set for November 6, 2002 at 9 am.

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