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State v. Richardson

Superior Court of Maine, Cumberland

February 2, 2017

STATE OF MAINE
v.
CLIFFORD RICHARDSON

          DEVENS M. HAMLEN, ESQ. ATTORNEY FOR THE DEFENDANT

          MOTION TO SUPPRESS

         NOW COMES Defendant, Mr. Clifford Richardson, by and through counsel Devens M. Hamlen of The H&H LawCenter, and requests that this Honorable Court suppress any statements Mr. Richardson made during the custodial interrogation in Officer Phillip Jones's cruiser as well as at the Bridgton Police Department because those statements were obtained in violation of Mr. Morse's rights under Article 1, Sections 6 and 6-A of the Maine State Constitution and Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

         As grounds for this Motion, Mr. Richardson respectfully states:

         FACTS

         1. The State had charged Mr. Morse with one Class B Felony of Unlawful Sexual Contact and one Class D Misdemeanor of Unlawful Sexual Touching.

         2. According to discovery provided by the State, the following events, relative to this Motion, happened between October 1 and October 31, 2016:

         3. On October 31, 2016, Officer Phillip Jones went to the Richardson's house to talk to Richardson's about allegations made by K.D. Officer Jones told Mr. Richardson that he was not under arrest and they agreed to talk inside Mr. Richardson's home. Mrs. Richardson along with the Richardson's daughter and grandchildren were present in the home. There were also a number of the Richardson's dogs in the house.

         4. Officer Jones explained that he was "used" to people being nervous and that, due to "distractions" is was sometimes "easier" to talk alone with individuals. Officer Jones asked to talk to Mr. Richardson outside and alone.

         5. Once outside, Officer Jones asked Mr. Richardson why he thought the police were at the house. Mr. Richardson explained that he had received some text message regarding K.D.s allegations; he emphatically denied having any sexual contact with K.D.

         6. Officer Jones indicated in his police report that at that point, he offered to talk to Mr. Richardson in his cruiser because it started to rain. He also reports that he again told Mr. Richardson that he was not under arrest.

         7. However, the recorded interview does not comport with this report. In the recording, Mr. Richardson again emphasized that he felt very nervous. More specifically, as Mr. Richardson is explaining the Richardson's relationship with K.D. he states:

Mr. Richardson: From what I understand, she's had a pretty rough time at home with neglect. . . not. . . (eh) don't get me wrong . . . she's not. . . not in a way that she's in harm.
Officer Jones: Right. . .
Mr. Richardson: I mean . . . What I ... I'm sorry, I'm so nervous
Officer Jones: Have a seat. . .come over here . . . you're not in trouble but let's just sit and relax a little bit.

         At that point, Mr. Richardson and Officer Jones got into the police cruiser.

         8. Officer Jones begins by asking about the babysitting arrangements with K.D., how often she was over at the house, and how the Richardson's viewed and treated K.D. Mr. Richardson explained that he and his wife basically treated K.D. as a their own grandchild and treated her with love because they felt as if she was not getting loved at home.

         9. As the interview goes on, Officer Jones talked about people being nervous when he interviews them. About a third of the way through the interview, Mr. Richardson tells Officer Jones that he is "scared to death." Officer Jones tells Mr. Richardson that if he did nothing wrong, "there is nothing to worry about."

         10. Officer Jones explained to Mr. Richardson that there was a forensic interview with K.D. He goes on to say that some of K.D.s clothes were analyzed (it is unclear by who) for mitochondrial DNA. He explained that skin cells go everywhere.

         11. He then touched the dashboard of his cruiser and suggested that his (Officer Jones's) DNA was now on the dashboard. Officer Jones goes on to explain how the State, forensically, can find someone's DNA on clothing, outside of underpants or even inside underpants. He concludes this part of the interview by telling Mr. Richardson that he had reviewed all of the reports before he came to his house. As it turns out, the State never tested K.D.'s clothing for DNA nor were there any reports regarding DNA.

         12. Officer Jones then explains how important it was for Mr. Richardson to tell the truth and that he knew most of the answers to the questions he was asking; he also explains that he saw some inconsistencies between his investigation and what Mr. Richardson was saying. Mr. Richardson continued to deny that any sexual contact had occurred.

         13. Towards the end of the interview, Officer Jones states that Mr. Richardson's denials were getting harder to believe. The interview goes on as follows:

Mr. Richardson: So, I'm going to jail
Officer Jones: No, I didn't say that... If I thought that you needed to go to jail right now, I'd grab my handcuffs, put them on you, and we'd drive to jail.

         14. Officer Jones then explains that he wanted to get to the truth and wanted an open an honest conversation and once that happens "we can think about our options." He tells Mr. Richardson that the "lie is worst part." Mr. Richardson again denies doing anything to K.D.

         15. They then discuss K.D. wearing a dress the last time she was over at the house. Mr. Richardson explains at one point, K.D.'s dress accidentally went up and he pulled her dress down. He explains that any contact was inadvertent as he pulled her dress back down. They then have a discussion about pornography. Mr. Richardson emphatically denies showing any pornography to K.D. As Officer Jones continues to express disbelief in Mr. Richardson's statements, Mr. Richardson says, in resignation, "o.k., I'm sunk."

         16. After some more strong denials, Officer Jones appears to change tactics. He explains to Mr. Richardson that, after interviews such as this one, people tend to go far away or are so depressed that they hurt themselves. Mr. Richardson responds that he has nothing to hide and that he has no intention of hurting himself.

          17. Sensing that Officer Jones was referring to jailing Mr. Richardson, Mr. Richardson responds by saying, "but what you are" saying is that I am looking at jail ...


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