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Collins v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

October 29, 2014

Collins
v.
State

Page 200

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 201

APPEAL FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SEVENTH DIVISION. NO. 60CR-2013-671. HONORABLE BARRY A. SIMS, JUDGE.

Digby Law Firm, by: Bobby R. Digby II, for appellant.

Dustin McDaniel, Att'y Gen., by: Nicana C. Sherman, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

ROBERT J. GLADWIN, Chief Judge. PITTMAN and WYNNE, JJ., agree.

OPINION

Page 202

ROBERT J. GLADWIN, Chief Judge

Appellant Wade Collins appeals from the Pulaski County Circuit Court's denial of his motions to suppress evidence filed in conjunction with his conditional plea on charges of possession of cocaine with purpose to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana with purpose to deliver, and possession of firearms by a certain person, for which he was sentenced as a habitual offender to 216 months' imprisonment on each charge to be served concurrently. He argues that the officers' failure to provide Miranda warnings prior to his custodial interrogation requires the exclusion of all statements and evidence obtained during the search of his residence and storage units. We affirm.

On December 6, 2012, appellant arrived at his residence while it was being searched by several Little Rock Police Department officers pursuant to a search warrant. After appellant approached the officers to determine what they were doing, a patrol officer asked for his name. After giving his name, but before appellant could leave, an officer said, " Hold him." Appellant remained on the porch, allegedly not knowing whether he was free to leave, but without asking whether he was required to stay. Patrol officers sat with appellant on his porch until he was questioned by Detective Mark Welborn.

Detective Welborn had been actively investigating appellant prior to December 6, 2012, and as a result, he learned that appellant had sold cocaine and utilized a storage unit related to the sale of this cocaine. Detective Welborn was part of the group of officers searching the residence when appellant arrived. He wanted to search the storage units as well and attempted to get appellant's consent during the initial discussion. Detective Welborn questioned appellant about the existence of a storage unit at the U-Haul facility, and appellant confirmed his rental of a storage unit. Detective Welborn asked to search the unit; appellant agreed, and Detective Welborn directed appellant to get into the back of a patrol car to ride to the storage facility. Appellant was not instructed on whether he was free to leave, and there is no indication that he was permitted to take his own car. It is undisputed that neither Detective Welborn nor any other officer gave appellant Miranda warnings at that time.

Upon arriving at the U-Haul facility, appellant signed a consent form for the search of unit 600. The unit was opened, and no contraband was found. Detective Welborn testified that he gave appellant Miranda warnings at this time; however, the record indicates that he failed to document these warnings in his report despite acknowledging both the relevance and his habit of doing so.

Detective Welborn then instructed an assisting officer to go to the front office and determine whether appellant had any other storage units. Officers learned of a second storage unit, number 556, and confronted appellant about its existence. Appellant confirmed its existence, but, according to him, he initially denied giving consent to search it. Detectives Mark Welborn and Stephen Montgomery, however, testified that appellant consented to the search of storage unit 556. The consent to search also included a written notation for unit 556; however, this notation was not written by Detective Welborn nor was it initialed or signed by appellant. Appellant eventually agreed to open the unit but, according to him, only after Detective Welborn said he would tear off the padlock of the unit if appellant did not

Page 203

open it. Appellant was not told that he could voluntarily leave the storage facility, and officers remained in close ...


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