Submitted: June 27, 2018
Defendant's Motion to Suppress GRANTED, IN PART &
DENIED, IN PART
C. Cohee & Stephen E. Smith, Deputy Attorneys General,
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Dover, Delaware, Attorneys for the
D. Donovan, Esquire, OFFICE OF CONFLICTS COUNSEL, Dover,
Delaware, & Zachary A. George, Esquire, HUDSON, JONES,
JAYWORK & FISHER, Dover, Delaware, Attorneys for the
OPINION & ORDER
JEFFREY J CLARK JUDGE.
State charges Defendant Raymond Ward (hereinafter "Mr.
Ward") with Murder in the First Degree for his alleged
participation in the 2017 murder of Dequan Dukes. Mr. Ward
moves to suppress statements made to the Dover Police
pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona (hereinafter
referred to as "Miranda"). Based on the
evidence presented at a suppression hearing, Mr. Ward argues
that he did not waive his rights, and if he did, he later
sought to invoke them twice but the interrogating officer did
not scrupulously honor his invocation of those rights.
State argues that the evidence at the suppression hearing
established that Mr. Ward expressly waived his rights. The
State concedes, however, that at two points later in the
interview, Mr. Ward ambiguously invoked his right to stop the
interrogation. Nevertheless, the State argues that at both
points, the detective clarified that Mr. Ward wanted to
considering the evidence presented, the Court finds that the
State met its burden of proving by a preponderance of the
evidence that Mr. Ward waived his Miranda rights.
Furthermore, the Court finds that after Mr. Ward first
ambiguously asserted his rights, he signaled his desire to
continue the session. After the second ambiguous assertion,
however, the detective did not ask clarifying questions to
establish Mr. Ward's intent. As a consequence, any
statements made after Mr. Ward's second invocation of his
right to remain silent, must be suppressed from use at trial.
For these reasons and those that follow, Mr. Ward's
motion to suppress pursuant to Miranda is
GRANTED, IN PART, and DENIED, IN
of Fact after the Suppression Hearing
13, 2018, the Court held a suppression hearing and finds the
following facts by a preponderance of the evidence. The State
charges Mr. Ward with the felony murder of Dequan Dukes, who
was shot and killed on June 27, 2017. The State also charges
Mr. Ward with Attempted Robbery First Degree, Possession of a
Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, and Conspiracy
Second Degree. At the time the police took him into custody,
he allegedly illegally possessed a firearm that was
unassociated with the Dequan Dukes shooting.
detective conducted a custodial interrogation of Mr. Ward at
the Dover Police station (hereinafter the
"station"). Although the interrogating detective
did not participate in Mr. Ward's arrest, he volunteered
to question Mr. Ward because they went to the same high
school and played on the same high school basketball team.
The record of the custodial interrogation is divided into two
segments. The first segment is a video recording that takes
place in an interview room at the station. The second segment
is an audio recording of the second portion of the
interrogation taking place in another room at the station.
detective began the questioning by telling Mr. Ward that he
had to read him his Miranda rights before
continuing. Upon entering the room, the detective's
demeanor and body language were familiar and non-threatening.
After reading Mr. Ward his Miranda rights, the
detective asked him "do you understand these rights that
I have explained to you?" Based upon the detective's
testimony at trial and the Court's review of the video,
the Court finds that Mr. Ward nodded affirmatively.
the detective asked Mr. Ward: "having these rights in
mind, do you wish to talk to me know? Just about what, what,
like I said downstairs, about today." The detective
testified that Mr. Ward responded "oh yeah,"
although the detective admitted he did not have an
independent recollection as to what Mr. Ward said until he
reviewed the video. After reviewing the video several times,
the Court cannot discern what Mr. Ward said. Nevertheless, he
responded to the waiver request by leaning back casually,
stating something that under the circumstances sounded and
appeared in the video to be an affirmative response, and then
calmly began answering the detective's questions.
detective then began the interrogation by discussing Mr.
Ward's recent marriage and other routine matters. He then
asked Mr. Ward questions regarding the circumstances
surrounding his arrest,  such as where and when he was arrested.
The detective then told Mr. Ward that a gun was found in the
home and asked about it. Mr. Ward readily answered the
detective's questions about the firearm, confirmed that
it was his, where it was found, and its caliber. He further
stated that he just obtained the firearm, that is was for his
protection, and that it had not been used for any
detective then steered the questioning toward the homicide:
Detective: You just got it?
Mr. Ward: Protection for me and my cousin.
Detective: I'm with you. Well, you wonder why? Because
your names are coming up in all this other stuff.
Mr. Ward: Everything, my name come up in everything.
Detective: Well, do you want to talk about those situations?
Mr. Ward: No, there's probably cameras all in here. I
point, the State concedes that Mr. Ward ambiguously asserted
his Miranda rights. The detective then sought to
clarify Mr. Ward's intent. Namely, he specifically asked
Mr. Ward if he wanted to continue the questioning, and if he
did not, the detective told him he could speak to him in jail
at another time. The detective then began to leave the room;
Mr. Ward, however, stopped him and signaled for him to come
back. At that point, the following exchange took place:
Mr. Ward: Let me talk to you.
Detective: Alright - what's that?
Mr. Ward: Let me talk to you.
Detective: What's up?
Mr. Ward: I'll wait until you get back.
Detective: No, I'm good. What's up?
Mr. Ward: You get my bail down, I'll talk to you.
this exchange, the detective explained the bail process and
indicated that he could not promise to reduce his bail. The
detective told Mr. Ward that when he had an attorney he could
request to speak with him later, or Mr. Ward could speak to
him now to help himself. At that point, the State conceded in
its written submission that there was a second ambiguous
assertion of Mr. Ward's right to remain silent. Namely,
the next exchange included the following:
Detective: What I can tell you is that if you get an
attorney, when you get an attorney, you want to come talk and
you want to come talk to me, you can request that. I will go