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Wyche v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

March 26, 2015

BRANDON WYCHE, Defendant-Below, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff-Below, Appellee

Submitted: March 11, 2015.

Case Closed April 13, 2015.

Court Below -- Superior Court of the State of Delaware in and for New Castle County. Cr. ID No. 1208026082A.

Santino Ceccotti, Esquire, Office of the Public Defender, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for Defendant-Below, Appellant.

Andrew J. Vella, Esquire, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for Plaintiff-Below, Appellee.

Before STRINE, Chief Justice, HOLLAND, and VALIHURA, Justices.

OPINION

Page 163

HOLLAND, Justice:

A Grand Jury returned a four-count indictment against Brandon Wyche (" Wyche" ) charging him with Murder First Degree, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony (" PFDCF" ), Possession of a Deadly Weapon by a Person Prohibited (" PDWBPP" ), and Possession of a Firearm By a Person Prohibited (" PFBPP" ). The case proceeded to a jury trial, which resulted in a hung jury on June 24, 2013. On February 17, 2014, Wyche filed a motion in limine to exclude the prior recorded statement of a witness for the State, Carlyle Braithwaite (" Braithwaite" ). The Superior Court denied the motion and the matter proceeded to a second trial. A jury found Wyche guilty of Murder First Degree and PFDCF.[1] The Superior Court sentenced Wyche to be

Page 164

incarcerated for a term of life plus 25 years.

In this appeal, Wyche argues that Braithwaite's statement to the police was involuntary because the police failed to administer Miranda warnings prior to questioning him. Wyche relies on Taylor v. State [2] in support of his contention that an unwarned statement made by a witness in custody is always presumptively involuntary. That broad argument is inconsistent with our limited holding in Taylor.

The record supports the Superior Court's conclusion that Braithwaite's statement, which was not self-incriminating, was the product of an uncoerced and voluntary decision to speak with the police. Therefore, the Superior Court properly admitted Braithwaite's statement into evidence under 11 Del. C. ยง 3507 (" Section 3507" ). ...


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