This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat.§ 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).




State of Minnesota,



Anthony Cortez Williams,


Filed April 22, 1997


Kalitowski, Judge

Dakota County District Court

File No. K0961978

Hubert H. Humphrey III, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for Appellant)

James C. Backstrom, Dakota County Attorney, Lawrence F. Clark, Assistant County Attorney, Dakota County Judicial Center, 1560 West Highway 55, Hastings, MN 55033 (for Appellant)

Cean F. Shands, Neighborhood Justice Center, 500 Laurel Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for Respondent)

Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Toussaint, Chief Judge, and Mansur, Judge.[*]



Appellant argues the district court's conclusion that respondent Anthony Williams' waiver of his Miranda rights was not knowing, intelligent, and voluntary is clearly and unequivocally erroneous and has a critical impact on the state's case against Williams. We affirm.


In order to prevail on a pretrial appeal from an order suppressing evidence in a criminal prosecution, the state must clearly and unequivocally establish that the trial court's ruling was erroneous and the trial court's ruling, unless reversed, will have a critical impact on the trial. State v. Joon Kyu Kim, 398 N.W.2d 544, 547 (Minn. 1987). On appeal, a reviewing court will accept the trial court's findings of facts surrounding the giving of the statement unless those findings are clearly erroneous. State v. Williams, 535 N.W.2d 277, 286 (Minn. 1995). But this court makes an independent determination of whether the state has proven, by a preponderance of the evidence, the defendant knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived his rights. State v. Linder, 268 N.W.2d 734, 735 (Minn. 1978).

For a confession obtained from a defendant during a custodial interrogation to be admissible, the state must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived his rights and that the confession was freely and voluntarily given. Williams, 535 N.W.2d at 286. In Linder, the court stated:

In an ordinary case if the prosecutor shows that the [Miranda] warning was given and that the defendant stated he understood his rights and then gave a statement, the state will be deemed to have met its burden of proof, unless there is other evidence indicating that there was no knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver.

However, if there is other such evidence, then the trial court must make a subjective factual inquiry to determine whether under the totality of the circumstances the waiver was knowing, intelligent, and voluntary. This is the same kind of inquiry basically that is made to determine whether a statement is "voluntary" within the meaning of the traditional voluntariness requirement. Factors to be considered include age, maturity, intelligence, education, experience, ability to comprehend, lack of or adequacy of warnings, length and legality of detention, nature of interrogation, physical deprivations, limits on access to counsel and friends, and others.

Linder, 268 N.W.2d at 735 (citations omitted).

Here, the police did not administer the Miranda warning at the beginning of the interrogation. Rather, they asked Williams numerous questions about his background, date of birth, residence, employment, criminal history, and why he was in custody, including a request to hear his "side of the story" concerning the alleged rape that was under investigation. After Williams began making statements that could be incriminating, the police detective read Williams the Miranda warning. The detective stated to Williams:

Okay. Tony, I'm gonna read you your rights. Okay, so I can ask you some questions, okay? The following seven statements must be fully understood before we can continue. If you do not understand a statement, ask that it be explained. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an lawyer and have him present with you while you're being questioned. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you before any questioning, if you wish. You can decide at any time to exercise these rights without answering any questions or make any statements. Tony, do you understand each of these rights I'm giving you?

Williams responded to this question with a "Uh-huh." The following exchange then occurred:

Detective: Having these rights in mind, do you wish to talk to us about this?

Williams: Huh?

Detective: Do you want to talk to us about this now?

Williams: I just told you what happened.

Detective: No, we need to ask you questions to though. See, I -- I need to get this off the -- get this on the record here that we've read this to you before I can really ask questions and what not.

Williams: Yeah.

Detective: So you want to talk to us? That was a "yes."

Williams: About?

Detective: About what happened last night.

Williams: This - this what happened.

In suppressing Williams' statement in its entirety, the district court stated:

It is obvious from [the transcript] that defendant was confused and did not understand his rights. On page 8 of the statement, defendant, in response to this police question of his understanding of the rights under the Miranda warning, "Having these rights in mind, do you wish to talk to us about this?" defendant responded "Huh?" which shows his lack of understanding. The police then asked, "You want to talk to us about this now?" Defendant replied, "I just told you what happened." Prior to Miranda, defendant had told the police about the girl, the men present, the apartment, the drinking, etc. Since he had already told the police about where he had been and who was present, he was confused as to why he should tell them again. This clearly indicates that defendant didn't understand his rights under Miranda (Exhibit 1, page 8).

Later defendant responded, "Yeah" to this police statement: "No, we need to ask you questions to though. See, I -- I need to get this off the -- get this on the record here that we've read this to you before I can really ask you questions and what not.["]

Defendant's "Yeah" refers to his understanding of the police need, not that he agreed to give up his right to remain silent.

After an independent review of the record, we cannot say the district court clearly and unequivocally erred in determining Williams did not knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waive his rights. Williams' confusion appears to have arisen from the police officers' failure to inform Williams of his rights at the beginning of his custodial interrogation. The failure to administer the Miranda warning does not necessarily taint subsequent admissions made after the warning. State v. Moorman, 505 N.W.2d 593, 599 (Minn. 1993). In this case, however, the police tactics created confusion that prevented Williams from knowingly and intelligently waiving his rights.

Because we have determined the district court did not err, we need not address the critical impact of the suppressed evidence. We note, however, that the supreme court has consistently recognized that the confession of a criminal defendant is the type of evidence that, if suppressed, will have a critical impact on the prosecution. See State v. Zanter, 535 N.W.2d 624, 630 (Minn. 1995) (recognizing confession of criminal defendant as the type of evidence that is critical to the state's case).


[ ]* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.