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State v. Inman

February 17, 2005

STATE OF MINNESOTA, RESPONDENT,
v.
DANIEL GREG INMAN, APPELLANT.



Heard, considered, and decided by the court en banc.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

Failure to record a custodial interview at a place of detention is a violation of State v. Scales, The opinion of the court was delivered by: Meyer, Justice.

Took no part, Anderson, G. Barry, J.

Affirmed.

OPINION

Daniel Inman seeks review of an unpublished court of appeals decision affirming his convictions of first-degree manufacture and fifth-degree possession of methamphetamine. Inman argues that the interrogating officer's failure to record his custodial interrogation constituted a substantial violation of Scales such that the statement should have been suppressed. We affirm the court of appeals.

In the late afternoon of April 19, 2001, police officers entered the home of Paul and Kelly Becksted and executed a search warrant. The warrant was based on information received from a confidential informant that for some months methamphetamine had been sold from the Becksted residence. The officers found Paul Becksted and Inman in a downstairs bedroom, standing near a collection of tubing and containers that appeared to be a homemade methamphetamine laboratory. Based on this information and an incriminating statement made by Paul Beckstad after his arrest, Inman was charged with one count of first-degree manufacture of a controlled substance, one count of fourth-degree aiding and abetting sale of a controlled substance, and one count of fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance.

At a contested omnibus hearing, Inman moved to suppress a statement he had made in an interview with the police after he was arrested and transported to the Scott County law enforcement center. Inman asserted that the statement was inadmissible because it was unrecorded, and the failure to record substantially violated our recording requirement in Scales.

The interview was conducted in the Scott County jail interview room by Deputy Doug Schmidtke of the Carver County Sheriff's Office. At the omnibus hearing, Schmidtke testified that he had a tape recorder with him in the interview room but did not turn it on during the interview. Schmidtke testified that after he read the Miranda warning to Inman, Inman told him that he did not wish to have his statement recorded, but that he would give Schmidtke some information. According to Schmidtke, Inman admitted the following:

[Becksted and Inman] had only cooked [methamphetamine] a few times a couple of weeks ago prior to this date, and then they were cooking for the second time when we raided the house. Talked about finding the recipe at Mystic Lake on a card or something, that they found it on a card in the parking lot or something like that. And they bought some ingredients, him and Paul Becksted, not knowing if they really had the right stuff, and they were experimenting.

Schmidtke initially testified that he did not take notes during the interview but later testified that he had taken notes but destroyed them after typing up his post-interview report. No transcription or other documentation of the interview exists aside from Schmidtke's typewritten report. Inman did not testify at the omnibus hearing. Based upon the evidence presented at the hearing, the omnibus court found that Inman's statement was "knowing, voluntary, and given with full knowledge of his constitutional rights." The court then refused to suppress the statement, concluding that the "lack of recording does not rise to the level of a substantial violation where the defendant requested that he not be recorded."

Schmidtke's trial testimony was essentially the same as it was at the omnibus hearing; he gave Inman the Miranda warning, Inman agreed to talk if he was not recorded, and Inman then confessed to "cooking meth" with Becksted. After the state rested its case, Inman testified. He agreed that Schmidtke gave him a Miranda warning. He also agreed that he did not want to be recorded. However, he denied that he gave any further information and otherwise disputed the substance of Schmidtke's testimony:

[Inman]: I told him I didn't - I don't want to be recorded. * * * I said, all I care about is my girlfriend's baby, would be my son, my baby. My daughter was pregnant at the same time. ...


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