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State v. Castillo

Court of Appeals of Oregon

November 28, 2018

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
RICHARD CASTILLO, Defendant-Respondent.

          Argued and submitted September 18, 2018.

          Jackson County Circuit Court 14CR22804; Timothy Barnack, Judge.

          Doug M. Petrina, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for appellant. Also on the briefs were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General.

          Anne Fujita Munsey, Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for respondent. Also on the brief was Ernest G. Lannet, Chief Defender, Criminal Appellate Section, Office of Public Defense Services.

          Before Hadlock, Presiding Judge, and DeHoog, Judge, and Aoyagi, Judge.

         Case Summary: This is a state's appeal of an order granting a motion to suppress in a criminal trial. Defendant is charged with 12 counts of first-degree assault of his infant son. Before trial, defendant moved to suppress his statements from three police interviews, asserting that all of the statements were made involuntarily and that some were made after he invoked his right to remain silent under Article I, section 12, of the Oregon Constitution. The trial court granted defendant's motion in part. It concluded that defendant had equivocally invoked his right to remain silent during the third interview, that the police had failed to ask clarifying questions, and that the statements after the invocation therefore should be suppressed. As to voluntariness, the court ruled that all of defendant's statements before the invocation were voluntary, and it did not decide on the voluntariness of his statements after the invocation because it had already ruled to suppress those statements. Held: In the context in which it was made, defendant's statement that he was "tired of these interviews" and "want[ed] to be with [his] family" was not an equivocal invocation of the right to remain silent. In any event, defendant promptly clarified his own intent by requesting to proceed with a polygraph, which obviated any need for the officers to ask clarifying [295 Or.App. 122] questions. The trial court erred in suppressing defendant's statements after the alleged invocation. The alternative issue of voluntariness should be addressed in the first instance by the trial court on remand.

         Reversed and remanded.

         [295 Or.App. 123] AOYAGI, J.

         This is a state's appeal of an order granting defendant's motion to suppress. See ORS 138.045(1)(d). Defendant is charged with 12 counts of first-degree assault, ORS 163.185. Before trial, he moved to suppress evidence of statements that he made during three police interviews, asserting that all of the statements were made involuntarily and that some of the statements were made after he invoked his right to remain silent. The trial court granted in part and denied in part defendant's motion. It concluded that defendant had equivocally invoked his right to remain silent during the third interview and that the police had failed to ask clarifying questions, so it suppressed defendant's statements after the invocation. As to voluntariness, the court concluded that all of defendant's statements before the invocation were voluntary, and it did not rule on the voluntariness of his statements after the invocation because it had already ruled to suppress those statements. The state appeals the order granting defendant's motion to suppress. For the reasons that follow, we reverse and remand.

         FACTS

         The relevant facts are undisputed. On September 22, G, a three-month old baby, was admitted to Rogue Valley Medical Center with serious injuries. G had a subdural hematoma and had eight bone fractures to his skull, arms, shoulders, ribs, and one leg. G also was suffering from anemia, vomiting, fever, and a bulging fontanelle. The next day, G was transported to OHSU Doernbecher Hospital in Portland for additional treatment. He was discharged from that hospital on September 25, but then was readmitted on September 30 because he was having seizures. On October 3, G was again discharged and returned home with his mother.

         During the same time period, the police interviewed defendant, G's father, on three occasions. The first two interviews took place at the hospital in Portland on September 24 and 25. The details of those interviews are not relevant to our resolution of this appeal. The third interview took place at the sheriff's office in Medford on September 30. That [295 Or.App. 124] interview began at 12:33 p.m. After defendant heard and waived his Miranda rights, Detective Denney questioned defendant regarding G's life, G's current situation, and what could have caused G's injuries. Along the way, Denney told defendant that, based on her conversations with the doctors and a child abuse specialist, "there's absolutely no way this child was injured accidentally or by a child." Denney also said that "the more the doctors know about how [the brain injury] was caused, the better they can treat that and so we've got to find that out." Defendant denied any knowledge of how G had been injured, [1] and he agreed to take a polygraph examination.

         At 1:57 p.m., after a short break, Denney said that they had a few more questions while the polygraph was being set up. Detective Sigler-who had been present during Denney's earlier questioning-then gave a lengthy explanation as to why he felt that defendant's demeanor was inconsistent with his claims that he knew nothing about how G was injured. Sigler stated that he found defendant's description of his weekends alone with five children difficult to believe, given his own experiences alone with two children. Sigler noted defendant's lack of emotion and seeming lack of interest in the details of G's injuries, which was "not normal" in Sigler's view and "tells me some things and tells Detective Denney some things." He also pointed out to defendant that defendant had "never expressed any anger over how this might have happened to [his] child, which is very telling." All of that led Sigler to conclude that defendant was "the reason that [G] has his injuries," and he encouraged defendant to admit if he was lying and had lost his temper. After hearing out Sigler, defendant responded:

"[Defendant]: I'm sorry that-and anybody who knows me will vouch for this, I am very reserved. Am I pissed? Absolutely. Am I sad? Absolutely. I don't know what to do at this point. I'm tired of these interviews. I want to be with my family.
"[Sigler]: Okay.
[295 Or.App. 125] "[Defendant]: And bring in a lie detector test. I don't know. I'm at-I-I want my-I want ...

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