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2011-UP-424 - State v. Murray

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.

Donovan Terrell Murray, Appellant.


Appeal From Charleston County
Deadra L. Jefferson, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2011-UP-424
Submitted April 1, 2011 – Filed September 20, 2011   


AFFIRMED


Appellate Defender M. Celia Robinson, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Attorney General Alan Wilson, Chief Deputy Attorney General John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Salley W. Elliott, and Assistant Attorney General Mark Farthing, all of Columbia; Solicitor Scarlett A. Wilson, of Charleston, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM: Donovan Terrell Murray appeals his conviction and sentence for possession with intent to distribute cocaine and possession with intent to distribute cocaine within the proximity of a school, arguing the trial court erred in admitting (1) his statements in violation of his Miranda[1] rights and (2) evidence and testimony regarding his possession of prescription drugs without a prescription in violation of Rules 403 and 404(b), SCRE.  We affirm.[2]

1.  The trial court properly admitted Murray's three statements regarding the prescription pills.  Murray was not in custody at the time of his first two statements, when he made statements regarding the entry of officers into the hotel room or when he spoke with Officer Patricia Jourdan concerning his lack of prescription for the pills.  Therefore, the officers were not required to administer Miranda warnings.  See State v. Easler, 327 S.C. 121, 127, 489 S.E.2d 617, 621 (1997) (holding Miranda rights are required only in situations involving custodial interrogation, in which a suspect is taken into custody or deprived of his freedom in any significant way); see also Miranda, 384 U.S. at 477-78 ("General on-the-scene questioning as to facts surrounding a crime or other general questioning of citizens in the fact-finding process is not affected by our holding."); State v. Whitner, 380 S.C. 513, 518, 670 S.E.2d 655, 658 (Ct. App. 2008) (holding custodial interrogation requires both custody and interrogation initiated by the law). 

Additionally, Murray's third statement, made after being handcuffed, was admissible because his statements were voluntary and not in response to interrogation.  See State v. Middleton, 288 S.C. 21, 25, 339 S.E.2d 692, 694 (1986) ("In order to secure the admission of a defendant's statement, the State must affirmatively show the statement was voluntary and taken in compliance with Miranda.") (emphasis added); State v. Kennedy, 325 S.C. 295, 307, 479 S.E.2d 838, 844 (Ct. App. 1996) (holding an oral admission not in response to any interrogation is voluntary); State v. Sprouse, 325 S.C. 275, 282, 478 S.E.2d 871, 875 (Ct. App. 1996) (finding the requirement for Miranda warnings do not apply to voluntary statements that are not part of interrogation).

2.  The trial court did not err in admitting evidence and testimony regarding Murray's possession of prescription drugs without a prescription in violation of Rules 403 and 404(b), SCRE.  See State v. Saltz, 346 S.C. 114, 121, 551 S.E.2d 240, 244 (2001) ("The admission or exclusion of evidence is left to the sound discretion of the trial [court], whose decision will not be reversed on appeal absent an abuse of discretion."); Anderson v. State, 354 S.C. 431, 435, 581, S.E.2d 834, 836 (2003) (holding evidence of other crimes is admissible under the res gestae theory when the other actions are so intimately connected with the crime charged that their admission is necessary for a full presentation of the case).  

AFFIRMED.

FEW, C.J., and THOMAS and KONDUROS, JJ., concur.


[1] Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).

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