Submitted: September 25, 2017
Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence DENIED in part;
GRANTED in part
Honorable Andrea L. Rocanelli, Judge.
Steven Pierce ("Defendant") was indicted on
December 5, 2016 on charges of Murder in the First Degree and
Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the Commission of a
Felony. On July 6, 2017, Defendant filed a motion to suppress
his interview with police for all purposes, including
impeachment purposes, on the grounds that his constitutional
rights were violated. The State opposes Defendant's
motion seeking admission of Defendant's statement for
impeachment only, if applicable. Upon consideration of the
facts, arguments, and legal authority set forth by the
parties; statutory and decisional law; and the entire record
in this case, the Court hereby finds as follows:
July 9, 2016, Heather Stamper was found murdered in her home.
Defendant had been involved in a relationship with Stamper.
July 10, 2016, Defendant was interviewed by Detectives Csapo
and Grassi of the Delaware State Police (collectively the
the start of the interview, the Detectives advised Defendant
of his Miranda rights. Defendant initially agreed to
give a statement to the Detectives.
About halfway through the interview, Defendant stated,
"Look, can I speak to an attorney." Defendant
followed that request by stating, "I need to speak to an
Detectives did not immediately cease the interview. Instead,
the Detectives informed Defendant that his statements
conflicted with that of other witnesses and asked Defendant
if he would like to keep talking to them. Defendant agreed to
continue the interview.
Shortly thereafter, Defendant again requested an attorney.
Defendant told the Detectives, "An attorney be
good." He followed that statement by stating, "I
want an attorney, " three times.
Detectives again did not immediately cease the interview.
July 6, 2017, Defendant filed a motion to suppress contending
that the Detectives violated his right to counsel and,
therefore, that the State should be prohibited from using
Defendant's interview during its case-in-chief. Defendant
thereafter filed a supplement in support of the motion to
suppress contending that the statement should also be
excluded for impeachment purposes, 9. In its response, the
State concedes that any statements made by Defendant
after he first invoked the right to counsel should
be suppressed. However, the State contends that any
statements Defendant made prior to the first
invocation are admissible in the State's case-in-chief.
In addition, the State argues that the entire statement is
admissible for impeachment purposes, if Defendant elects to
testify and contradicts the statement he gave to the
Miranda requires that police questioning immediately
cease if a defendant invokes the right to
counsel. After a defendant invokes the right to
counsel, the defendant "is not subject to further
interrogation by the authorities until counsel has been made
available to him, unless the accused himself initiates
further communication, exchanges, or conversations with the
statements Defendant made after he first invoked the
right to counsel must be suppressed. Upon Defendant's
first requested for an attorney in this case, the Detectives
were required to cease the interview until counsel was made
available to Defendant. The Detectives failed to do so.
Therefore, the State may not use any ...