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State v. Vanek

April 18, 2008

STATE OF KANSAS, APPELLANT,
v.
ERNIE WAYNE VANEK, APPELLEE.



Appeal from Geary District Court; MARITZA SEGARRA, judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. In reviewing a district court's decision regarding suppression of evidence, an appellate court reviews the factual underpinnings of the decision by a substantial competent evidence standard and the ultimate legal conclusion by a de novo standard with independent judgment. An appellate court does not reweigh evidence, pass on the credibility of witnesses, or resolve conflicts in the evidence.

2. When the material facts to the district court's decision on a motion to suppress evidence are not in dispute, the question of whether to suppress is a question of law over which an appellate court has unlimited review.

3. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution prevents any person from being compelled to be a witness against himself or herself in a criminal case. Section 10 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights recognizes the same guarantee.

4. Courts have recognized a distinction between a custodial interrogation and an investigatory interrogation. A custodial interrogation is defined as questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his or her freedom of action in any significant way. An investigatory interrogation is the questioning of a person by a law enforcement officer in a routine manner before the investigation has reached the accusatory stage and where the person is not in legal custody or deprived of his or her freedom in any significant way.

5. A person can be seized without being under arrest, making the encounter an investigatory detention. A seizure occurs if there is a show of authority which, in view of all the circumstances surrounding the incident, would communicate to a reasonable person that he or she is not free to leave.

6. A person is considered under arrest by a law enforcement officer when the person is physically restrained or otherwise deprived of his or her freedom of action in any significant way or when he or she submits to the officer's custody for the purpose of answering for the commission of a crime. The test for determining whether a person has been placed under arrest is not based on the officer's subjective belief. Rather, the test for whether an arrest has occurred is based on what a reasonable person would believe under the totality of the circumstances surrounding the incident.

7. During a lawful traffic stop, a law enforcement officer is not required to Mirandize an individual before asking routine investigatory questions where the individual is not in legal custody or deprived of his or her freedom in any significant way. This is true even though the officer suspects the individual may have committed a crime, and even though the individual is not free to leave during the lawful detention.

8. During a lawful traffic stop, a law enforcement officer is required to Mirandize an individual before questioning can continue once the individual is accused of a crime and has been arrested and taken into custody.

9. Under the facts and circumstances of this case, a law enforcement officer who was investigating the defendant for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol was not required to Mirandize the defendant before asking him whether he had been drinking alcohol.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Malone, J.

Reversed and remanded.

Before HILL, P.J., MALONE, J., and BUKATY, S.J.

Ernie Wayne Vanek was charged in Geary County District Court with felony driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), a third offense, and related traffic infractions. The State filed this interlocutory appeal after the district court suppressed Vanek's statements during the traffic stop because Vanek was not Mirandized before questioning. See Miranda v. ...


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