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Caputo v. Nelson

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
455 F.3d 45 (2006)


Facts

After Michael Caputo’s (petitioner) estranged wife and mother-in-law were found stabbed to death in an apartment by Boston police, the officers found an address in the apartment for Caputo in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Boston police notified the Plymouth Police Department that Caputo was a suspect in a double homicide, but did not provide details. Six Plymouth police officers arrived at Caputo’s home and asked to be let in. Caputo agreed. Once inside the home, one of the officers, Sergeant Richard Dorman informed Caputo that they were investigating a double homicide in Boston and, from a printed card, he read Caputo his Miranda rights. Eventually, Caputo acknowledged that he understood his rights and declined to say anything further. The officers then stopped all questioning of Caputo. When Caputo asked who was killed, Dorman said he did not know and called the Plymouth police station to obtain further information, without success. Thereafter, Dorman went outside to check Caputo’s vehicle, which matched the description provided by Boston police. The engine was warm to the touch and the car had two different license plates. Dorman re-entered the house and asked Caputo to use the telephone. Caputo agreed and Dorman telephoned the police station to inform his lieutenant of the suspicious nature of the vehicle. Caputo overheard the conversation and spontaneously proceeded to tell the officers a false story to explain where he had been. The officers did not ask any questions in response to Caputo’s statement. Caputo was indicted on two counts of first-degree murder. Caputo’s motion to suppress his statements made at his home was denied by the trial court and he was convicted. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts affirmed Caputo’s convictions. Thereafter, Caputo filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in federal district court. The district court denied Caputo’s petition and he appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Stafford, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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