In 2008, Timmy Whitaker drove Samuel Patterson and Danny (Timmy’s brother) to William Clark’s house in search of money to purchase drugs. Danny said if Clark would not give them money, they would take it. They stopped to pick up a crowbar and a pipe from Patterson’s workplace.
Whitaker then dropped Danny and Patterson off at Clark’s trailer, where they broke in, severely beat Clark, and took his wallet containing several hundred dollars. Whitaker returned to pick up Danny and Patterson approximately 20 minutes after he had dropped them off. Clark later died from his injuries.
About three months later, Detective Jerry Rogers picked up Whitaker to question him about the crime. Whitaker was Mirandized, but he did not give a statement. The next day, while Whitaker was in the hospital and taking morphine and lortab to control his pain, he requested to speak to Rogers.
Rogers verbally Mirandized Whitaker, who then proceeded to give a statement about his involvement in the crime. Though he confessed, Whitaker refused to sign the statement. He was convicted of burglary and assault and sentenced to 45 years. On appeal, he argued his confession was involuntary. MCOA affirmed.
The United States Supreme Court announced in Miranda: There is no requirement that police stop a person who enters a police station and states that he wishes to confess to a crime, or a person who calls the police to offer a confession or any other statement he desires to make. Volunteered statements of any kind are not barred by the Fifth Amendment, and their admissibility is not affected by our holding today.
The voluntariness of a waiver, or of a confession, is a factual inquiry that must be determined by the trial judge from the totality of the circumstances. No one factor is dispositive in the totality of circumstances test.
The MSC said in State v. Williams, 208 So. 2d 172 (Miss. 1968): The fact that the accused is under the influence of liquor or drugs, which affect his recollection, does not make his confession inadmissible. The intoxicated condition of the accused at the time of making a confession does not, unless such intoxication goes to the extent of mania, affect the admissibility in evidence of such confession if it was otherwise a voluntary one, although the fact of intoxication may affect its weight and credibility with the jury.
In this case, testimony established that Whitaker was the one who initiated the conversation the day he confessed. Moreover, Rogers gave Whitaker a verbal Miranda warning in front of others, which Whitaker stated he understood. Whitaker did not appear to be intoxicated, nor has he asserted that his intoxication was to the extent of mania. Therefore, the circuit judge properly admitted the confession and allowed the jury to weigh its credibility.