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People v. Elmarr

181 P.3d 1157 (2008)

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People v. Elmarr

Colorado Supreme Court

181 P.3d 1157 (2008)

Facts

In 1987, the ex-wife of Kevin Elmarr (defendant) was found dead, and police officers came to Elmarr’s house to inform him of her death. The police asked Elmarr some questions in his home and then asked him if he would be willing to come to the sheriff’s department to answer further questions. Elmarr agreed and rode to the sheriff’s department in the back of a police car. Elmarr was not handcuffed but was subjected to a pat-down search upon arrival and placed in a small interrogation room with two officers. One of the officers gave Elmarr an partial, improper Miranda warning. The officers interrogated Elmarr for approximately an hour, employed a “good cop/bad cop” technique in their questioning, were increasingly skeptical of his statements, and eventually asked Elmarr if he had killed his ex-wife. Elmarr was never told that he was not under arrest or that he was free to leave. Elmarr eventually asked for a lawyer but was kept in the closed-door interview room for almost another hour until his lawyer arrived. During that time, Elmarr was asked to remove his clothes for some pictures and told “You really don’t have a choice right now.” Elmarr finally left the station with his lawyer. In 2007, 20 years later, Elmarr was charged with first-degree murder in his ex-wife’s death. The trial court ruled that all of Elmarr’s statements made at the sheriff’s department must be suppressed because they were the product of a custodial interrogation made without a proper Miranda warning. The prosecution (plaintiff) filed an interlocutory appeal regarding this suppression order.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rice, J.)

Dissent (Eid, J.)

Dissent (Coats, J.)

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