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JAMES MOORE v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

SEPTEMBER 10, 1986

JAMES MOORE
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE WALKER, C.J., DAN LEE AND GRIFFIN, JJ.

GRIFFIN, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

The appellant was convicted in the Circuit Court of Scott County of burglary of a dwelling and sentenced to ten (10) years. He appeals, and we affirm.

Several questions are presented; however, only one is worthy of consideration, i.e., whether the defendant's confession was freely and voluntarily given. His guilt is established at least beyond a reasonable doubt.

 Our question is whether or not the confession was admissible under the rule announced in Miller v. State, 243 So.2d 558 (Miss. 1971), and Hicks v. State, 355 So.2d 679 (Miss. 1978).

 There is testimony that one officer, Edwards, a member of the Mississippi Highway Patrol, may have stepped over the line by indicating to the defendant that it would be" easier on him if he told the truth ". We have no question concerning the mental capacity of the appellant to make a confession. The record indicates to the contrary, inasmuch as he very artfully articulated every act of the police officer that would result in an inadmissible confession. All of these acts are denied and the denials are supported by an overall view of the record.

 We are required to look at the totality of the circumstances, as stated by Judge Robertson in Neal v. State, 451 So.2d 743 (Miss. 1984):

 We emphasize that the mere giving of the Miranda warnings, no matter how meticulous, no matter how often repeated, does not render admissible any inculpatory statement thereafter given by the accused. The rights of which the accused is Miranda-warned must thereafter be waived - intelligently, knowingly and

 voluntarily. Whether there has been an intelligent, knowing and voluntary waiver is essentially a factual inquiry to be determined by the trial judge from the totality of the circumstances. Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 486 n. 9, 101 S. Ct. 1880, 1885 n. 9, 68 L.Ed.2d 378, 387 (1981).

 451 So.2d at 753.

 We now examine the evidence. The appellant was arrested in Rankin County and there jailed and was given the requisite warnings of Miranda [Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S. Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966)]. The waiver of rights was not signed. The appellant contends that he requested an attorney. Both officers Edwards and Thornton stated he did not request an attorney, at no time indicating that he desired an attorney. The questioning commenced; however the defendant did not make any statement. Two days later, he was again advised of his Miranda rights and began to make statements concerning burglaries in Rankin County, the reason for his arrest. Also during this interview he made a statement concerning another burglary to the east, which the officers recognized as being the burglary in question. Apparently the happening had been communicated in law enforcement circles. Questioning on this matter ceased, and the sheriff of Scott County was called.

 The next day, Scott County officers carried the appellant from Brandon to Forest, and a full confession was given. There is no issue concerning the conduct of the officers in Scott County. The issue is whether or not the confession is admissible because of the prior conduct of the Rankin County officers.

 The defendant contends that Officer Thornton made a statement to him that it would go lighter or be easier on him if he confessed to all of the crimes. Officer Thornton denied this. His testimony is to the effect that he never indicated to the defendant at any time that it would go easier on him but simply stated at one point that it would be better if the defendant got all of" his eggs in one basket "when the appellant began to confess to several crimes. We consider this a mere exhortation or adjuration to speak the truth. Robertson v. State, 247 Miss. 609, 157 So.2d 49 (1963).

 The problem lies with a statement of Officer Edwards. On direct examination, Edwards was more than once asked

 the question" Did you tell him it would be better for him ", speaking of confessing, and his answer at one point was" No, sir. I just told him that he should go ahead and tell the truth. ...


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