Written waiver not required for valid confession


In 2010, parked cars were obstructing traffic outside a night club so officers called a tow truck to assist. As the tow truck driver was attaching a vehicle to his wrecker, a Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Ivana Merritt, struck the side of the wrecker and ran over Robert Bounds (he survived), carrying him about one and one-half car lengths down the road.

Merritt then sped away, ran red lights and side swiped a concrete barrier before stopping and throwing her keys to the ground. Merritt reeked of alcoholic beverages, had bloodshot eyes, and slurred her speech. Officer Chris Godfrey Mirandized her after handcuffing her and she then admitted to having fourteen drinks that night – ten shots of vodka and four Budweiser beers. A half empty bottle of vodka was also found on the floor in the truck.

She was convicted of aggravated DUI and sentenced to 20 years. On appeal, she argued her Miranda waiver was not in writing. MCOA affirms.


Godfrey testified that Merritt would have had to be taken out of the handcuffs to sign the waiver.

In Taylor, the MSC held that oral Miranda warnings and waivers are effective if proven to the satisfaction of the trier of fact. At the suppression hearing, Godfrey’s account was un-contradicted. We find no merit to this issue.