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2010-UP-200 - State v. Ronnie Painter

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE. IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

The State, Respondent,

v.

Ronnie Painter, Appellant.


Appeal From Spartanburg County
Roger L. Couch, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2010-UP-200
Submitted March 1, 2010 – Filed March 12, 2010   


AFFIRMED


Appellate Defender Kathrine H. Hudgins, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Attorney General Henry Dargan McMaster, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Salley W. Elliott, and Assistant Attorney General Julie M. Thames, all of Columbia; and Solicitor Harold W. Gowdy, III, of Spartanburg, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Ronnie Painter appeals his convictions and sentences for first-degree burglary and petit larceny, arguing the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his statement on the ground that it was taken in violation of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).  We affirm.[1]

Painter's refusal to sign the pre-interrogation waiver form was not a clear invocation of either his right to remain silent or his right to counsel.  An assertion of the right to counsel should "reasonably be construed to be an expression of a desire for the assistance of an attorney."  State v. Kennedy, 333 S.C. 426, 430, 510 S.E.2d 714, 715 (1998); see also State v. McCray, 332 S.C. 536, 546, 506 S.E.2d 301, 306 (1998) ("A valid waiver of the right to counsel will not be presumed simply from the silence of the accused after Miranda warnings are given.").  Likewise, regarding an assertion of the right to remain silent, "before law enforcement officers are required to discontinue questioning, the suspect must clearly articulate his desire to end the interrogation."  State v. Aleksey, 343 S.C. 20, 31, 538 S.E.2d 248, 253 (2000); see also State v. Reed, 332 S.C. 35, 42, 503 S.E.2d 747, 750 (1998) ("Law Enforcement officers are not required to terminate an interrogation unless there is an unambiguous invocation of the right to remain silent.").  Here, Painter did not clearly communicate a desire to either remain silent or speak to an attorney.  Additionally, even if Painter properly invoked his Miranda rights, Painter validly waived his rights before making his statement when he told the police he wanted to speak about the crime and signed the waiver form, thereby knowingly and intelligently waiving his rights.  See Aleksey, 343 S.C. at 31, 538 S.E.2d at 254 ("Officers do not fail to 'scrupulously honor' an invocation of rights when they engage in conversation initiated by the suspect.").

AFFIRMED.

HUFF, THOMAS, and KONDUROS, JJ., concur.


[1]  We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.