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Taylor v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma

February 23, 2018

EDWARD ANTHONY TAYLOR
v.
THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA, Appellee.

          DAVID KANEHL COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT

          ALAN D. ROSENBAUM ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY COUNSEL FOR STATE

          NEILSON LEA COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT

          MIKE HUNTER OKLAHOMA ATTORNEY GENERAL ASHLEY L. WILLIS ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE

          SUMMARY OPINION

          ROWLAND, J.

         ¶1 Appellant Edward Anthony Taylor was convicted by jury in the District Court of Caddo County, Case No. CF-2016-56, of Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance with Intent to Distribute, in violation of 63 O.S.Supp.2012, § 2-401 (A)(1). The jury assessed punishment at fifteen years imprisonment and a $20, 000.00 fine. The Honorable Wyatt Hill, Associate District Judge, presided at trial and sentenced Taylor accordingly. Taylor appeals, raising the following issues:

(1) whether the district court erred in denying his motion to dismiss because he was denied his Fifth and Sixth Amendment right to counsel during custodial interrogation; and
(2) whether he was denied the effective assistance of counsel.

         ¶2 We find reversal is not required and affirm the Judgment and Sentence of the district court.

         1. Motion to Dismiss

         ¶3 Taylor argues the district court erred in denying dismissal of his drug charge to remedy the violation of his Fifth and Sixth Amendment right to counsel during a pretrial custodial interrogation that occurred while he was represented by counsel. We review the district court's ruling on a motion to dismiss for an abuse of discretion. See Sanders v. State, 2015 OK CR 11, ¶ 4, 358 P.3d 280, 283. "An abuse of discretion is any unreasonable or arbitrary action taken without proper consideration of the facts and law pertaining to the matter at issue or a clearly erroneous conclusion and judgment, one that is clearly against the logic and effect of the facts presented." Id.

         ¶4 Taylor filed a motion to dismiss the case because of the prosecutor's "flagrant" violation of his right to counsel. That motion alleged the prosecutor ordered a deputy sheriff to interview Taylor, knowing that Taylor had counsel, in violation of the rule in Michigan v. Jackson, 475 U.S. 625, 106 S.Ct. 1404, 89 L.Ed.2d 631 (1986). Taylor simultaneously filed a motion to suppress any statements made during the interrogation. At the hearing on those motions, the prosecutor conceded that the proper remedy to correct the constitutional violation of Taylor's right to counsel was to suppress Taylor's statement. The district court sustained Taylor's motion to suppress, but denied his motion to dismiss. No evidence of the interrogation was admitted at trial.

         ¶5 It is undisputed that the deputy sheriff interviewed Taylor after criminal proceedings had begun on his drug charge and defense counsel had entered an appearance. Taylor maintains he is entitled to relief because the acquisition of information during the custodial interrogation in violation of his right to counsel resulted in the assigned prosecutor refusing to offer a more attractive plea bargain. This claim is without merit because there was no constitutional violation of Taylor's right to counsel. [1]

         ¶6 This case gives occasion to compare the rights to counsel embodied in the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, respectively. The Fifth Amendment right arises when one who is in custody is interrogated. See Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 469-70, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 1625-26, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966) (holding the Fifth Amendment right to interrogation counsel is triggered by the advice of constitutional rights that police must give before any custodial questioning.) Under Miranda, no statement obtained through custodial interrogation may be used against a defendant without a knowing and voluntary waiver of those rights. Id., 384 U.S. at 444, 86 S.Ct. at 1612. The Sixth Amendment right to trial counsel is triggered by the initiation of adversarial judicial proceedings, which may be initiated by way of formal charge, preliminary hearing, indictment, information, or arraignment. Montejo v. Louisiana,556 U.S. 778, 786, 129 S.Ct. 2079, 2085, 173 L.Ed.2d 955 (2009); United States v. Gouveia,467 U.S. 180, 187--88, 104 S.Ct. 2292, 2297, 81 L.Ed.2d 146 (1984). Both the Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights to counsel apply to custodial interrogations post initiation of adversarial judicial proceedings, and each is invoked and waived in exactly the same manner--under the Fifth Amendment prophylactic Miranda rules. See Montejo, 556 U.S. at 786-87, 129 S.Ct. at 2085. Here, it is neither disputed that Taylor was in custody and interrogated, nor is there any claim that ...


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