subject with a limited understanding of English made a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver of his Miranda rights


On January 17, 2021, thirteen-year-old M.D. was living with her father, Gustavo Galvan, and Galvan’s girlfriend (Tracey Waiter) in Neshoba County. That day, M.D. accompanied Galvan to a local Walmart, where she attempted to exchange phone numbers with a boy. Displeased, Galvan confiscated M.D.’s cell phone. After they returned home, M.D. told Galvan that she would do anything to get her phone back. Galvan told M.D. to pull her breasts out of her shirt and then sucked on M.D.’s breasts, leaving “hickeys.” Galvan then inserted two fingers into M.D.’s vagina. Finally, he penetrated M.D.’s vagina with his penis, telling M.D. to “shut up and be quiet” while he raped her.

The next morning, M.D. told one of her friends what Galvan had done to her. The friend’s mother picked up M.D. and called law enforcement. A rape kit was performed on M.D., and a forensic interview was conducted a few days later. Galvan was arrested, waived his Miranda rights, and agreed to speak to law enforcement. In his initial interview, Galvan confessed and signed a written confession. Several days later, Galvan again waived his Miranda rights, confessed again, and signed a second written confession.

A Neshoba County grand jury indicted Galvan for statutory rape (Count I), sexual battery (Count II), gratification of lust (Count III), and incest (Count IV). Following a jury trial, Galvan was convicted of all counts. The court sentenced Galvan to concurrent terms in the custody of the Department of Corrections of forty years with fifteen years suspended and twenty-five years to serve for Count I, forty years with fifteen years suspended and twenty-five years to serve for Count II, ten years to serve for Count III, and ten years to serve for Count IV. On appeal, Galvan argues that the trial court erred by admitting his statements to law enforcement. MCOA affirmed.


At trial, the State introduced two statements that Investigator Adkins drafted to memorialize Galvan’s oral confessions. Galvan argues that the trial court erred by admitting those two statements because (1) he could not fully understand English well enough to make a knowing and intelligent waiver, and (2) the statements were not given voluntarily because he only waived his rights thinking he would be released.

Galvan made the first statement two days after the incident while in custody. Adkins advised Galvan of his Miranda rights, and Galvan acknowledged that he understood his rights and signed a written Miranda waiver. Galvan then confessed that he had sucked M.D.’s breasts, leaving “hickeys,” and had inserted at least one finger into her vagina, while expressing remorse for his actions. Adkins reduced Galvan’s statement to writing and read it to him. Galvan stated that he understood and agreed with the statement, and he signed and initialed it.

Several days later, Adkins and Sheriff Clark interviewed Galvan. Galvan was again advised of his Miranda rights, acknowledged that he understood his rights, and signed a Miranda waiver. Galvan again confessed orally, and Adkins reduced Galvan’s confession to writing. In his second statement, Galvan again confessed to leaving hickeys on M.D.’s breast and inserting his finger into her vagina. Galvan also confessed that he inserted his penis into M.D.’s vagina and had sex with her for one or two minutes. Adkins read the statement to Galvan, and Galvan stated that he agreed with the statement and signed and initialed it.

Both Adkins and Clark testified at the suppression hearing that Galvan understood his rights, spoke to them only in English, and voluntarily waived his Miranda rights without coercion or promises of leniency from them. In contrast, Galvan claimed that he did not understand his rights and could not fully understand what was occurring at the time. The trial court found that the testimony of Adkins and Clark was detailed, consistent, and credible, whereas Galvan’s claim of coercion lacked detail and specificity. The trial court further found that Galvan’s waivers and statements were all given knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily. Therefore, the trial court denied Galvan’s motion to suppress.

A waiver of Miranda rights must be made voluntarily, intelligently, and knowingly. See MCOA Brown. A waiver is voluntary if it is the product of a free and deliberate choice rather than intimidation, coercion or deception. A waiver is knowing and intelligent if it is made with a full awareness both of the nature of the right being abandoned and the consequences of the decision to abandon it.

In a similar case, our Supreme Court affirmed a trial court’s finding that a defendant with a limited understanding of English had made a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver of his Miranda rights. See Chim. In that case, the officers who questioned the defendant testified that they did not threaten the defendant or offer any promises to him. In addition, the defendant’s wife testified that she was not fluent in Spanish; hence, she and the defendant communicated in English. Based on this testimony, the trial court denied the defendant’s motion to suppress, and the Supreme Court affirmed.

Galvan’s case is no different. During the suppression hearing, Adkins and Clark both testified that they did not make any threats or promises, that Galvan spoke to them in English, that he understood his Miranda rights, and that he voluntarily waived those rights. Prior to trial, the trial court also heard the testimony of other witnesses regarding Galvan’s ability to comprehend and communicate in English. There is substantial evidence to support the trial court’s finding that Galvan’s Miranda waivers and oral and written confessions were given knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily. Therefore, the trial court did not err by denying Galvan’s motion to suppress.