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State v. O'Connell

Superior Court of Maine, Cumberland

December 11, 2017

STATE OF MAINE
v.
SEAN O'CONNELL Defendant

          ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS

          Jed J. French Untied Criminal Court Judge.

         Defendant's Motion to Suppress came before the court for hearing on December 7, 2017. Defendant, Sean O'Connell, was present with his lawyer, Attorney Adam Sherman. Assistant District Attorney Carlos Diaz appeared on behalf of the State. The court heard testimony from Maine State Trooper Patrick Flanagan and viewed a video recording of Defendant's questioning by Trooper Flanagan in chambers after the hearing concluded. Defendant contends that he was subjected to custodial interrogation without having been provided the required Miranda warnings, and that accordingly the statements he made to Trooper Flanagan should be suppressed.

         "In order for the statements made prior to a Miranda warning to be admissible, the State must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the statements were made while the person was not in custody, or was not subject to interrogation." State v Bridges, 2003, ME 103, 829 A.2d 247, 254. The appropriate analysis for this determination is set forth in State v. Dion, 2007 ME 87, ¶ 23, 928 A.2d 746, in which the Law Court explained:

A person not subject to formal arrest may be "in custody" if a reasonable person standing in the shoes of the defendant would have felt he or she was not at liberty to terminate the interrogation and leave or if there was a restraint on freedom of movement of the degree associated with a formal arrest. This test is an objective one, and we have stated in analyzing whether a defendant is in custody, a court may consider the following factors:
1) the locale where the defendant made the statements;
2) the party who initiated the contact;
3) the existence or non-existence of probable cause to arrest (to the extent communicated to the defendant);
4) subjective views, beliefs, or intent that the police manifested to the defendant to the extent they would affect how a reasonable person in the defendant's position would perceive his or her freedom to leave;
5) subjective views or beliefs that the defendant manifested to the police, to the extent the officer's response would affect how a reasonable person in the defendant's position would perceive his or her freedom to leave;
6) the focus of the investigation (as a reasonable person in the defendant's position would perceive it);
7) whether the suspect was questioned in familiar surroundings;
8) the number of law enforcement officers present;
9) the degree of physical restraint placed upon the ...

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