FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND
DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED
appeal from the Circuit Court for Alachua County. Robert
Thomas, Public Defender, Christopher F. Busch and Benjamin R.
Kelley, Special Assistant Public Defenders, Busch &
Kelley, P.A., Tallahassee, for Appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Tayo Popoola, Assistant
Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.
Keenon Lamar Rhodes, appeals his conviction of the following
offenses: (I) - (II) burglary while armed with a firearm;
(III) possession of a controlled substance without a
prescription; and (IV) resisting an officer without violence.
We reverse due to trial court error in denying
Appellant's Motion to Suppress, which sought to suppress
statements he made during a custodial interrogation by
police. The following exchange is under review:
Appellant: Man, I'm not no lawyer.
Officer: What's up?
Appellant: I said I'm not no lawyer. I need to see a
Officer: Okay. Well, what I'm telling you is this. They
said you were observed in a vehicle, rummaging through a
Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination requires an
accused person be made aware that he is entitled to counsel
during a custodial interrogation. Moss v. State, 60
So.3d 540, 542 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011) (citing Miranda v.
Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 467-72 (1966)). Once the right to
counsel is invoked, police questioning is required to cease.
Moss, 60 So.3d at 543 (citing Black v.
State, 59 So.3d 340, 345 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011)). There are
no magic words an accused person must use in order to invoke
their right to counsel. State v. Owen, 696
So.2d 715, 719 (Fla. 1997). Whether an accused person has
invoked his right to counsel hinges on whether the invocation
is clear and unambiguous. Spivey v. State,
45 So.3d 51, 54 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010). "'[A]t a
minimum, some statement that can reasonably be construed to
be an expression of a desire for the assistance of an
attorney' is a sufficient invocation of rights to require
the cessation of further interrogation." Moss,
60 So.3d at 543 (quoting McNeil v. Wisconsin, 501
U.S. 171, 178 (1991)).
present case, a review of the Appellant's interrogation
establishes he made a clear, unequivocal request for counsel
when he stated, "I need to see a lawyer." The
officer disregarded Appellant's invocation of his right
to counsel and continued the conversation without
acknowledging the statement. A lengthy interrogation
followed, during which inculpatory statements were made by
Moss, the Fourth District reversed the denial of a
motion to suppress and noted, "[i]t is hard to imagine
more unequivocal statements, " than "I want a
lawyer, " and "I want to talk to a lawyer." 60
So.3d at 543. Similarly, here, because Appellant's
statement, "I need to see a lawyer, " was a clear
and unequivocal request for counsel, we hold that the trial
court erred in denying Appellant's Motion to Suppress.
and remanded for a new trial. Appellant's Motion to
Suppress is hereby granted, and all portions of the recorded
interview after Appellant's ...