final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit,
Palm Beach County; Samantha Schosberg Feuer, Judge; L.T. Case
Haughwout, Public Defender, and Shari Vrod, Assistant Public
Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Mark J. Hamel,
Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for appellee.
appeals his conviction for first-degree murder, arguing the
trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress
statements he made to the police after his arrest. He claims
that he did not waive his right to remain silent because his
response to Miranda warnings was ambiguous or
equivocal. We find that when appellant agreed to talk with
the police "about certain things, " he agreed to
selectively waive his right to remain silent. We affirm the
trial court's denial of appellant's motion to
suppress. We find the other issue raised by appellant to be
without merit and affirm that issue without further
was indicted for first-degree murder of his girlfriend.
Shortly after his arrest, the police read appellant his
Miranda rights. Appellant confirmed that he
understood each of the rights. The detective then asked,
"You're okay talking to me and telling - and
answering my questions?" Appellant responded,
"About certain things, yes." When the detective
again asked, "Are you willing to talk to me
understanding your rights; are you willing to talk to me,
" appellant said, "Yes, like I have said we could
talk about certain things."
trial, appellant moved to suppress statements he made during
the interview. Appellant argued that his agreement to talk
"about certain things" was ambiguous and therefore
not a proper waiver of his right to remain silent. The trial
court denied the motion to suppress, finding that there was
no ambiguity and that appellant knowingly, intelligently, and
voluntarily waived his rights.
interrogation tape played by the state for the jury,
appellant admitted that he had recently fought with the
victim and that he was not "happy" that she was
pregnant. Appellant admitted to swinging a machete, but
claimed he had not meant to swing it at the victim. Appellant
also discussed past domestic violence issues between him and
the victim and explained that he was angry because he did not
want the victim to go to the prosecutor's office and
testify against him in a different case. The medical examiner
testified that a cut to the victim's neck severed her
jugular vein and was the cause of her death. Additionally,
DNA testing matched the victim's blood to the blade and
handle of the machete.
jury found appellant guilty as charged. This appeal follows.
standard of review applied to orders denying a motion to
suppress is mixed: the court's factual findings are
accorded deference and will be upheld if supported by
competent, substantial evidence; legal conclusions, however,
are reviewed de novo." State v. Weiss, 935
So.2d 110, 115 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006).
fundamental issue in this case is whether appellant's
statements were ambiguous and equivocal. If they were
ambiguous or equivocal then the police officer was required
to inquire further before initiating further questioning.
See Alvarez v. State, 15 So.3d 738, 745 (Fla. 4th
DCA 2009) ("[A]n ambiguous waiver must be clarified
before initial questioning."). Appellant argues that
when he agreed to talk "about certain things, " it
was ambiguous and equivocal requiring the officer to clarify
further before proceeding with questioning. We disagree.
appellant agreed to talk "about certain things, "
he selectively waived his Miranda rights. In fact,
there was nothing ambiguous about what he said. Appellant
waived his rights regarding "certain things" but
not about other matters. Further, he declared his willingness
to talk except for "certain things" without
hesitation or equivocation.
United States v. Krug, No. CR 09-01148 MMM, 2012 WL
12951703 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 30, 2012), the defendant was read
his Miranda rights and inserted the following on his
advice of rights card: "I am willing to answer
some questions without a lawyer." Id.
at *2, 9. The defendant argued that the insertion of the word
"some" on the rights card made his ...