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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On Feb. 11, 2004, a Bexar County grand jury returned an indictment charging Mark Anthony Ramos with the murder of Tracy Ortiz under Texas Penal Code �19.02(b)(1)-(3). Ramos later filed a pretrial motion to suppress a written statement that he had given to police shortly after he had been taken into custody. In that motion, which consisted entirely of boilerplate with no specifics, Ramos alleged that his statement had been the product of custodial interrogation and that it was inadmissible in court, because, among other things: 1. it had been given after he had invoked his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent; 2. it had been the fruit of an “illegal seizure.” On July 19, 2004, the trial court held an evidentiary hearing on Ramos’ motion to suppress. At that hearing, the state called Troy Ragland and Tim Angell, and Ramos called Becky Muniz and Mary Muniz. Ragland, a San Antonio police officer, testified that on Nov. 19 and 20, 2003, he assisted detective John Slaughter in the investigation of a drive-by shooting that had occurred on Delgado Street in San Antonio. In the course of the investigation, Slaughter directed him to locate Ramos, who was known to be a member of a street gang. During his efforts to locate Ramos, he received information that Ramos might be residing with Muniz, his sister. He and several other police officers then went to Muniz’s residence shortly before 1 a.m. on Nov. 20, 2003. With Muniz’s permission, they searched the residence but did not find Ramos. Ragland remained behind in the hope that Ramos might soon arrive. About 30 minutes later, Ramos arrived at the Muniz residence. Ragland then asked Ramos to go to the downtown police station to answer some questions “about an incident that [had] happened on Delgado,” and Ramos voluntarily agreed to do so. He then handcuffed Ramos, put him in the back of a patrol car that he had summoned by radio and had him transported to the downtown police station. Upon Ramos’ arrival at the downtown police station, police officers removed his handcuffs and placed him in an interview room. Angell, a detective, testified that Slaughter asked him to question Ramos about a recent drive-by shooting. Slaughter informed him at that time that Ramos “was possibly the shooter.” Angell questioned Ramos alone in an interview room. Slaughter was, at that same time, questioning Ramos’ girlfriend Camelle Gallegos in a separate room. Before Angell questioned Ramos, he told him that he was not under arrest. Angell also explained Ramos’ Miranda rights to him and Ramos indicated that he understood those rights. During the first part of the questioning, Ramos “denied any involvement in [the drive-by shooting] or knowledge about it,” and provided an alibi. After about 45 minutes, Angell left the interview room to speak again with Slaughter. Slaughter advised him that Camelle Gallegos indicated that she was in the vehicle involved in the drive-by shooting and that Ramos was the person who shot the weapon. Angell then told Ramos that Gallegos indicated he was the shooter. Ramos rejected the idea and declined to speak further with Angell, saying “I don’t want to talk about that anymore.” A few minutes later, Angell continued the interview, and Ramos confessed to the crime and then signed a written confession. Muniz testified that when Ragland stayed behind at her house, Ragland told Ramos upon his arrival to come in and sit down and then asked him to give his name. When Ramos told Ragland his name, Ragland told him to stand up and turn around, and he handcuffed his hands behind his back. Ragland then informed Ramos that “he was going down for questioning” and put Ramos in a patrol car. The trial court denied Ramos’ motion to suppress. The trial court explained that, although “the defendant was in custody,” his statement to Angell that he no longer wanted to talk “was ambiguous enough that the officer was not obliged under the case law to stop questioning.” On Oct. 25, 2004, the state brought Ramos to trial before a petit jury on his plea of not guilty. In the course of the guilt stage of the trial, Ramos’ written statement was admitted in evidence as state’s exhibit No. 98. After hearing all of the evidence at the guilt stage, the jury found Ramos guilty of murder as charged in the indictment. Later, after hearing additional evidence at the punishment stage, the jury assessed Ramos’ punishment at imprisonment for 99 years. On direct appeal, Ramos brought two points of error. In his first point of error, Ramos argued that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress and admitting his written statement in evidence, because the statement was obtained after police began questioning him again after he had asserted his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. In his second point of error, Ramos argued that the trial court erred by admitting his written statement in evidence, because it was the result of custodial interrogation following an illegal, warrantless arrest. Ramos’ argument continued: “Appellant’s arrest [by Officer Ragland] was made without probable cause and without a warrant. It was presumptively illegal. The State put on no evidence to prove the legality of the arrest.” In an unpublished opinion, a panel of the 4th Court of Appeals, with one justice concurring in the result, overruled Ramos’ two points of error and affirmed the judgment of the trial court. The 4th Court stated: “A reasonable officer in Angell’s position could have interpreted Ramos’ statements in numerous ways and not solely as an unmistakable and unequivocal insistence on terminating the interview.” HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. A trial court’s ruling admitting or excluding evidence, the CCA stated, is reviewed on appeal for abuse of discretion. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the CCA stated, provides that “[n]o person . . . shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” This guarantee was made applicable to the states by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. Consistent with this Fifth Amendment guarantee, law enforcement officials, before questioning a person in custody, must inform him that he has the right to remain silent and that any statement he makes may be used against him in court. Under the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court decision Miranda v. Arizona, “If the individual [in custody] indicates in any manner, at any time prior to or during questioning, that he wishes to remain silent, the interrogation must cease.” The suspect need not use any particular phraseology to invoke the right to remain silent, the CCA stated. But an interrogating officer, the CCA stated, need not stop his questioning unless the suspect’s invocation of rights is unambiguous, and the officer is not required to clarify ambiguous remarks. If a person in custody does invoke his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, then the admissibility in court of statements obtained thereafter depends on whether the person’s right was “scrupulously honored.” In the instant case, the state’s own evidence at the suppression hearing established that Ramos, in the course of Angell’s questioning of him, told Angell that he did not want to talk to him. Ramos’ statement to Angell that he did not want to talk to him was an unambiguous, unequivocal and unqualified assertion of his right to remain silent. A reasonable police officer in Angell’s position would not have found Ramos’ assertion of his right to be ambiguous. Any ambiguity in Ramos’ other statement to Angell, that he did not want to talk about “it” anymore, was, in context, entirely irrelevant. Because the police officers did not honor scrupulously Ramos’ invocation of his right to remain silent, the CCA held that his subsequent written statement was inadmissible at his trial. Consequently, the CCA held that the trial court abused its discretion in denying Ramos’ motion to suppress and in admitting his written statement in evidence at his trial, and the 4th Court erred in holding otherwise. OPINION:Holcomb, J., delivered the opinion of the court in which Keller, P.J., and Price, Womack, Johnson, Keasler, Hervey and Cochran, JJ., joined. DISSENT:Meyers, J., dissented without opinion.

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