Appeal from the 22nd Judicial District Court In and for the
Parish of St. Tammany State of Louisiana Trial Court No. 598,
521 Honorable Scott Gardner, Judge Presiding.
H. Winston New Orleans, LA James E. Boren Baton Rouge, LA
Attorneys for Defendant -Appellant, Ronald St. Cyre
L. Montgomery District Attorney Matthew Caplan Assistant
District Attorney Covington, LA Attorneys for Appellee, State
BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, PENZATO AND LANIER, JJ.
defendant, Ronald St. Cyre, was charged by bill of
information with possession of a firearm by a convicted
felon, a violation of La. R.S. 14:95.1. He pled not guilty
and, following a jury trial, was found guilty as charged. The
defendant filed a motion for postverdict judgment of
acquittal and/or new trial, which was denied. The trial court
sentenced the defendant to fifteen years imprisonment at hard
labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of
sentence. The trial court also imposed a $1, 000 fine. The
State filed a habitual offender bill of
information. In exchange for a "double bill"
and an agreed upon sentence, the defendant admitted to the
prior convictions in the habitual offender bill of
information. The trial court adjudicated the defendant a
second-felony habitual offender. The trial court vacated the
previous sentence and resentenced the defendant to thirty
years imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole,
probation, or suspension of sentence. The defendant now
appeals, designating seven assignments of error.
January 2018, the defendant was on parole for having
previously committed the crime of possession of a firearm by
a convicted felon. Agent Steve Everly, with the Department of
Public Safety and Corrections, Division of Probation and
Parole, supervised the defendant's felony parole. On
January 9, 2018, the defendant's wife, Chelsea, drove him
to the office of Agent Everly on Columbia Street in
Covington, Louisiana, in order to fill out paperwork to
facilitate a relocation to Georgia to live with a relative.
Chelsea drove the defendant's aunt's Honda Accord
because his truck was in the shop being repaired. When the
defendant arrived at Agent Everly's office, he was on
crutches because he suffered a gunshot wound to the leg. The
defendant told Agent Everly that his wife had driven him to
order to process the paperwork for the defendant's
transfer to Georgia, the defendant was required to pay a fee.
Therefore, the defendant left the parole office and went to
the post office to obtain a $150.00 money order for the
transfer fee. While the defendant was gone, Agent Everly
obtained approval from his supervisor, Agent Lindy Lousteau,
with the Department of Public Safety and Corrections,
Division of Probation and Parole, to search the vehicle in
which the defendant had arrived (the Accord). When the
defendant returned from the post office, Agent Everly told
him he was going to search the vehicle. Agent Everly asked
the defendant if there was anything in the vehicle that he
should not have, and the defendant replied that there was
not. The defendant then began texting on his phone. When
Agent Everly observed the defendant texting, he took the
defendant's phone. When Agent Everly looked at the phone
screen, he saw that the defendant sent a text to Chelsea
which said, "Get that gun from underwear rite
[sic]," and that Chelsea responded, "Put it wear
reading the text messages, Agent Everly brought the defendant
to Supervisor Lousteau's office. Agent Everly then
enlisted the help of two other agents, including Agent
Christopher Howell, with the Department of Public Safety and
Corrections, Division of Probation and Parole. The three
agents went to the parking lot to search the vehicle. While
they were in the parking lot, Chelsea called the
defendant's phone, which was still in the possession of
Agent Everly. Agent Everly answered the phone and asked
Chelsea where she was located. Chelsea then directed the
agents to her location. The agents approached the Accord,
Agent Everly asked Chelsea where the gun was, and she told
him that it was underneath the driver's seat. Agent
Howell removed the gun from the car, a .40 caliber Glock
handgun, and gave it to Agent Everly.
Everly returned to Supervisor Lousteau's office. He
Mirandized the defendant and asked him about
the gun. The defendant told him that his aunt bought the gun
and gave it to him "for safety, because he was in fear
of his life." The defendant was subsequently arrested.
testified at trial that the defendant did not know about the
gun in the vehicle until they had arrived at the post office,
and Chelsea had told him that she inadvertently discovered
the gun under the seat. Priscilla Vaughn, the defendant's
aunt whose Accord the defendant had borrowed, testified at
trial that she bought the Glock gun and kept it in her
vehicle for her protection when going to work. She indicated
that she did not give the gun to the defendant.
defendant did not testify at trial.
OF ERROR NO. 1
first assignment of error, the defendant argues that the
trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the
evidence. Specifically, the defendant contends that there was
no reasonable suspicion to search the vehicle; that the
search was not of the defendant's vehicle; and that no
consent was given to search the vehicle.
courts are vested with great discretion when ruling on a
motion to suppress. State v. Long, 2003-2592 (La.
9/9/04), 884 So.2d 1176, 1179, cert. denied, 544
U.S. 977, 125 S.Ct. 1860, 161 L.Ed.2d 728 (2005). When a
trial court denies a motion to suppress, factual and
credibility determinations should not be reversed in the
absence of a clear abuse of the trial court's discretion,
i.e., unless such ruling is not supported by the evidence.
See State v. Green, 94-0887 (La. 5/22/95),
655 So.2d 272, 280-81. However, a trial court's legal
findings are subject to a de novo standard of
review. See State v. Hunt, 2009-1589 (La. 12/1/09),
25 So.3d 746, 751. In determining whether the ruling on
defendant's motion to suppress was correct, we are not
limited to the evidence adduced at the hearing on the motion.
We may consider all pertinent evidence given at the trial of
the case. State v. Brooks, 92-3331 (La. 1/17/95),
648 So.2d 366, 372.
motion to suppress hearing, Agent Everly established the
following. The defendant arrived at his office on crutches.
The defendant, who had been shot two months before, explained
to Agent Everly that his wife, Chelsea, drove him to the
office. Agent Everly ran a drug screen on the defendant, who
tested positive for marijuana, benzodiazepine, and oxycodone.
The defendant told Agent Everly that he had prescriptions for
the benzodiazepine and oxycodone, but did not have those
prescriptions with him. Agent Everly and the defendant filled
out paperwork that would enable the defendant to transfer to
a different jurisdiction, namely Atlanta, Georgia. Agent
Everly then texted Supervisor Lousteau to see if he should
search the vehicle in which the defendant had arrived
Supervisor Lousteau approved the search of the vehicle. As
Agent Everly walked out of his office to go to the vehicle,
he noticed that the defendant stayed behind and was texting
on his phone. Agent Everly took the defendant's phone and
saw the following text: "Get that gun from underwear
rite [sic]." The reply to this was, "Put it wear
[sic]." With his own phone, Agent Everly took a screen
shot of this text.
Everly enlisted the help of two other agents to conduct the
search. The agents went outside to find the vehicle in which
defendant arrived. Agent Everly still had the defendant's
phone. Chelsea called the defendant's phone, and Agent
Everly answered the phone and asked Chelsea where she was
located. Chelsea signaled her position, and the agents went
to the vehicle. Agent Everly directed Chelsea to tell him
where the gun was located. Chelsea told Agent Everly that the
gun was under the driver's seat. Agent Howell removed the
gun and gave it to Agent Everly, who unloaded the gun before
going back inside. According to Agent Everly, the handgun was
a .40 caliber Glock, fully loaded; that is, it had a full
magazine with a round in the "pipe."
defendant argues in brief that there was no reasonable
suspicion to search the vehicle. According to the defendant,
evidence of his gunshot wound and positive drug screen had no
connection to the vehicle. Further, the defendant avers that
there was no reasonable suspicion that evidence would be
found in the vehicle because of the length of time that had
passed. Specifically, the defendant pointed out that it had
been 65 days since the gunshot wound occurred, and that
marijuana can stay in your system for up to ten days after
Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and
Article I, § 5, of the Louisiana Constitution protect
people against unreasonable searches and seizures. Subject
only to a few well-established exceptions, a search or
seizure conducted without a warrant issued upon probable
cause is constitutionally prohibited. Once a defendant makes
an initial showing that a warrantless search or seizure
occurred, the burden of proof shifts to the State to
affirmatively show it was justified under one of the narrow
exceptions to the rule requiring a search warrant. State
v. Lowery, 2004-0802 (La.App. 1st Cir. 12/17/04), 890
So.2d 711, 717, writ denied, 2005-0447 (La.
5/13/05), 902 So.2d 1018. See La. Code Crim. P. art. 703(D);
State v. Hood, 2012-0006 (La.App. 1st Cir. 6/8/12),
2012 WL 2061512 *2 (unpublished), writ denied,
2012-1579 (La. 1/25/13), 105 So.3d 64.
parolee has a reduced expectation of privacy, subjecting him
to reasonable warrantless searches of his person and
residence by his parole officer. See State v.
Malone, 403 So.2d 1234, 1238 (La. 1981); State v.
Hamilton, 2002-1344 (La.App. 1st Cir. 2/14/03), 845
So.2d 383, 387, writ denied, 2003-1095 (La.
4/30/04), 872 So.2d 480. The reduced expectation of privacy
is a result of the parolee's conviction and agreement to
report to a parole officer and to allow that officer to
investigate his activities in order to confirm compliance
with the provisions of his parole. Hamilton, 845
So.2d at 387. A parole officer's powers, however, are not
without some restraints. A parole officer may not use his
authority as a subterfuge to help another police agency that
desires to conduct a search, but lacks the necessary probable
cause. The parole officer must believe that the search is
necessary in the performance of his duties and reasonable in
light of the total circumstances. Id.
an appropriate function of a parole officer to conduct
unannounced, random checks on parolees. A parolee agrees to
submit to such unannounced visits from his parole officer as
a condition of parole. Hamilton, 845 So.2d at 387. A
probationer has essentially the same status as a parolee.
Malone, 403 So.2d at 1238; Hood, 2012 WL
2061512 at *2. A probation officer's decision to search
must be supported by something more than a mere hunch;
however, a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is
occurring will suffice. The officer is not required to have
probable cause to conduct the search. To require otherwise
would place unnecessary obstacles in the path of a probation
officer who is performing his job of supervising the
individual assigned to him. Malone, 403 So.2d at
matter, the defendant, a parolee, had just recently been
involved in a shooting, he was on parole for a previous
conviction of La. R.S. 14:95.1 (possession of a firearm by a
convicted felon), and he had just tested positive for having
marijuana in his system. Agent Everly noted as much at the
motion to suppress hearing when he explained that he had
texted his supervisor about searching the vehicle because the
defendant "was involved in a shooting, and he tested
positive for marijuana."
fact, the defendant's positive drug screen for marijuana,
alone, provided Agent Everly with reasonable suspicion that
the defendant, a parolee, had committed a crime. Whatever
other subjective motivations Agent Everly may have had to
search the vehicle, such as the text message, were of no
consequence. The fact that the officer does not have the
state of mind that is hypothecated by the reasons that
provide the legal justification for the officer's action
does not invalidate the action taken as long as the
circumstances, viewed objectively, justify that action.
Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806, 813, 116 S.Ct.
1769, 1774, 135 L.Ed.2d 89 (1996). Subjective intentions play
no role in ordinary, probable cause Fourth Amendment
defendant suggests in brief that a "positive drug screen
does not give rise to reasonable suspicion that criminal
activity is occurring," particularly
for marijuana since, according to the defendant, a casual
user of marijuana may test positive for marijuana "up to
10 days after consumption." (Emphasis in original).
Whether the defendant smoked marijuana just prior to entering
Agent Everly's office or hours before is of no moment.
That the defendant possessed marijuana at some point in the
recent past was enough to establish that a crime had been
committed while the defendant was on parole, rather than
was occurring at that moment, as suggested by the
defendant. When the defendant was released on parole in
December of 2015, he signed a Department of Public Safety and
Corrections Diminution of Sentence form, which provided a
list of conditions under which parole was granted. The ninth
condition in this list provides: "I agree to visits at
my residence or place of employment by my Parole Officer at
any time. I also agree to searches of my person, property,
residence, and/or vehicle, when reasonable suspicion exists
that I am or have been engaged in criminal activity."
See La. R.S. l5;574.4.2(A)(2)(i).
similar case of State v. Thomas, 96-2006 (La.App.
4th Cir. 11/6/96), 683 So.2d 885, defendant, a probationer,
met her probation and parole officer, Agent Morantine at her
office. A routine urine test was conducted, and defendant
tested positive for cocaine. While Agent Morantine waited for
the police to come and arrest defendant, two other probation
officers searched the vehicle defendant had driven to the
office. The officers seized defendant's purse from the
vehicle, emptied it, and discovered a matchbox that held a
glass container with burnt residue on it. Defendant was
arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. Id.
at 886. The fourth circuit found that a search of
defendant's vehicle and belongings after she tested
positive for drugs, done in accordance with the usual
practice of the probation office, was entirely reasonable and
did not require a warrant. Id. at 888.
defendant in brief cites to State v. Clay, 2017-424
(La.App. 5th Cir. 5/23/18), 248 So.3d 665, 667-69, wherein
defendant, a parolee, was subjected to a warrantless search
of his residence and vehicle, referred to by the State as a
compliance check. The search of defendant's vehicle
resulted in the seizure of a handgun. At the hearing on the
motion to suppress the evidence, it was learned that Gretna
Police Department Detective Alfred Disler (who was handling
defendant's case) was contacted by Jefferson Parish
Sheriff's Office Agent Pat DiGiovanni, who stated he had
spoken to an informant who told him that a suspect in an
"unrelated investigation," identified as defendant,
was involved in an armed robbery in Lafourche Parish.
Detective Disler also learned from Agent DiGiovanni that the
informant had advised him that defendant was selling guns
from a residence located behind a Circle K convenience store.
They conducted a computer search and learned that defendant
was on parole for a previous 2004 armed robbery conviction.
At that point, Detective Disler contacted Agent Justin
Edgecombe of the Louisiana Department of Probation and Parole
to advise him of the investigation involving defendant. Agent
Edgecombe confirmed to Detective Disler that defendant was on
parole and provided him with the address defendant had listed
with Probation and Parole. According to Detective Disler, he
also contacted other members of the Gretna Police Department
to assist in the anticipated compliance check of
defendant's residence, where officers found marijuana, a
pipe, a drug test kit, and a scale. The trial court denied
the motion to suppress.
fifth circuit reversed the trial court's ruling, finding
that defendant's parole officer used his authority as a
subterfuge to help another police agency that desired to
conduct a search, but lacked the necessary probable cause.
Clay, 248 So.3d at 679. The fifth circuit found
there was no justification for any search because there was
no reasonable suspicion of any criminal activity by
defendant. The fifth circuit stated: "In short,
reviewing the totality of the circumstances, we find a
complete lack of evidence to prove that Probation and Parole
had reasonable suspicion that criminal activity was occurring
prior to participating in the compliance check and subsequent
warrantless search of defendant's residence and
vehicle." Id. at 680.
defendant's reliance on Clay is
misplaced. In the instant matter, the positive drug screen
test revealed to Agent Everly that the defendant had
committed a crime, namely possession of marijuana, and was
therefore in violation of his parole at that moment, even
before the vehicle was searched. In Clay,
the State failed to show that any of the officers involved in
the search of defendant's residence and vehicle had any
reasonable suspicion whatsoever (much less probable cause)
that defendant had committed any crime. As the fifth circuit
in Clay pointed out, "[t]here is a
complete lack of evidence in the record establishing that the
agents from Probation and Parole possessed sufficient-or
any-reasonable suspicion that criminal activity was occurring
that would justify their warrantless search of
defendant's residence and vehicle." Clay,
248 So.3d at 683.
defendant further argues in brief that the search of his cell
phone did not cure the lack of reasonable suspicion. The
defendant notes that the warrantless search of a cell phone
is unconstitutional even when incident to a lawful arrest.
See Riley v. California, 573 U.S. 373, 386, 134
S.Ct. 2473, 2485, 189 L.Ed.2d 430 (2014) (holding that
officers must generally secure a warrant before conducting a
search of data on cell phones).
discussed above, Agent Everly had reasonable suspicion that
the defendant had committed a crime (possession of marijuana)
before he took the defendant's phone. That is,
notwithstanding any text that may or may not have been
observed, Agent Everly, based on reasonable suspicion of a
crime, was heading to the vehicle in which defendant had
arrived. Moreover, it is not clear that Agent Everly searched
the defendant's phone for Fourth Amendment purposes.
Agent Everly explained that when he saw the defendant texting
in his office, he told the defendant he was not allowed to
text and took the phone. When Agent Everly looked at the
phone screen, he saw the text from the defendant stating
"Get that gun" and the reply text of "Put it
exception to the search warrant requirement is the plain-view
exception. Two conditions must be satisfied to trigger the
applicability of the doctrine: (1) there must be a prior
justification for an intrusion into the protected area; (2)
it must be immediately apparent without close inspection that
the item is evidence or contraband. See Horton v.
California, 496 U.S. 128, 135-137, 110 S.Ct. 2301, 2307,
110 L.Ed.2d 112 (1990); State v. Howard, 2001-1487
(La.App. 1st Cir. 3/28/02), 814 So.2d 47, 53, writ
denied, 2002-1485 (La. 5/16/03), 843 So.2d 1120. While
the text itself was not contraband, it was evidence that
there was likely contraband in the car the defendant was in.
Accordingly, the viewing of the text on the cell phone
arguably fell under the plain view exception to the warrant
requirement. In any event, as noted, Agent Everly was going
to search the vehicle, regardless of the discovery of any
text messages; as such, the gun inevitably would have been
found. See Nix v. Williams, 467 U.S. 431, 444, 104
S.Ct. 2501, 2509, 81 L.Ed.2d 377 (1984).
the defendant argues in brief that no consent was given to
search the vehicle, and Agent Everly should not have had the
right to search a third-party vehicle that did not belong to
the defendant. Regarding consent, Agent Everly was not
required to obtain consent from either the defendant or
Chelsea to search the vehicle. By virtue of the Diminution of
Sentence form the defendant signed as a parolee, he gave his
consent to search the moment there was reasonable suspicion
that he was engaging or had been engaging in criminal
activity. Moreover, when Agent Everly learned that there was
a gun in the vehicle, exigent circumstances gave him the
right to search without a warrant or consent. See State
v. Brumfield, 2005-2500 (La.App. 1st Cir. 9/20/06), 944
So.2d 588, 595-98, writ denied, 2007-0213 (La.
9/28/07), 964 So.2d 353.
the defendant's argument that Agent Everly could not
search the vehicle (without consent) because it was not owned
by the defendant is baseless. The vehicle searched was the
vehicle that the defendant rode in to get to Agent
Pennsylvania v. Labron, 518 U.S. 938, 940, 116 S.Ct.
2485, 2487, 135 L.Ed.2d 1031 (1996) (per curiam), the United
States Supreme Court held that if a car is readily mobile and
probable cause exists to believe it contains contraband, the
Fourth Amendment permits the police to search the vehicle
without more. When Agent Everly learned there was a gun in
the vehicle and that the defendant's wife was still in
the vehicle, he had the right to search that vehicle because
he had probable cause to believe the vehicle contained
contraband or evidence of a crime. Ownership of the vehicle
was irrelevant. See State v. Williams, 38, 379
(La.App. 2nd Cir. 11/25/03), 858 So.2d 878, 880-81, writ
denied, 2003-3535 (La. 3/12/04), 869 So.2d 807 (finding
that the facts known to the arresting police officer gave
probable cause to search and seize contraband from the
vehicle, where the non-owner passenger of the car gave
consent after the non-owner driver refused consent). This is
the same principle that allows the police, who have probable
cause to search an entire vehicle, to also open any container
inside the vehicle, without regard to who might own each
container. See United States v. Ross, 456
U.S. 798, 825, 102 S.Ct. 2157, 2172, 72 L.Ed.2d 572 (1982);
State v. Jackson, 2009-1983 (La. 7/6/10), 42 So.3d
368, 374 (per curiam).
on all of the foregoing, Agent Everly had reasonable
suspicion, as well as probable cause, to search the vehicle
and seize the gun that was in it. The trial court did not err
or abuse its discretion in denying the motion to suppress the
this assignment of error is without merit.
OF ERROR NO. 2
second assignment of error, the defendant argues the trial
court erred in denying his motion to suppress his statement
to Agent Everly. Specifically, the defendant contends that he
was not properly Mirandized before being
questioned by Agent Everly.
well-settled the ruling in Miranda v. Arizona, 384
U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966) protects an
individual's Fifth Amendment privilege during
incommunicado interrogation in a police-controlled
atmosphere. In Miranda, 384 U.S. at 444, 86 S.Ct. at 1612,
the Supreme Court defined "custodial interrogation"
as "questioning initiated by law enforcement officers
after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise
deprived of his freedom of action in any significant
way." Thus, before a confession or inculpatory statement
made during a custodial interrogation may be introduced into
evidence, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that
the defendant was first advised of his Miranda rights, that
he voluntarily and intelligently waived those rights, and
that the statement was made freely and voluntarily and not
under the influence of fear, duress, intimidation, menaces,
threats, inducements, or promises. La. Code Crim. P. art.
703(D); La. R.S. 15:451. Hunt, 25 So.3d at 754. See
State v. Patterson, 572 So.2d 1144, 1150 (La.App.
1st Cir. 1990), writ denied, 577 So.2d 11 (La.
1991). Whether or not a showing of voluntariness has been
made is analyzed on a case-by-case basis with regard to the
facts and circumstances of each case. The trial court must
consider the totality of the circumstances in deciding
whether a confession is admissible. State v.
Williams, 2001-0944 (La.App. 1st Cir. 12/28/01), 804
So.2d 932, 944, writ denied, 2002-0399 (La.
2/14/03), 836 So.2d 135.
the burden of proof is generally on the defendant to prove
the grounds recited in a motion to suppress evidence, such is
not the case with the motion to suppress a confession. In a
motion to suppress a purported confession, the burden of
proof is with the State to prove the confession's
admissibility. La. Code Crim. P. art. 703(D). Since the
general admissibility of a confession (or inculpatory
statement) is a question for the trial court, its conclusions
on the credibility and weight of the testimony are accorded
great weight and will not be overturned unless they are not
supported by the evidence. Patterson, 572 So.2d at
1150. In determining whether the ruling on the
defendant's motion to suppress was correct, we are not
limited to the evidence adduced at the hearing on the motion.
We may consider all pertinent evidence given at the trial of
the case. Brooks, 648 So.2d at 372.
defendant argues that Agent Everly "started
questioning" him before advising him of his Miranda
rights. Further, according to the defendant, Agent Everly was
not credible because, while he indicated that a short time
elapsed between the commencement of questioning and the
reading of his rights, the only documentary evidence shows
that he was arrested at 2:00 p.m. and advised of his rights
at 2:00 p.m. The defendant avers that this means that he
waived his rights "at precisely the same time as his
arrest." The defendant notes that Agent Everly testified
that the defendant finished giving his statement before he
was arrested. According to the defendant, even if he was
properly advised of his rights at some point during his
inculpatory statement, the State did not prove which portions
of his inculpatory statement occurred before being advised of
his rights and which portions occurred after being advised of
address first the defendant's assertion that Agent Everly
"started questioning" him before being Mirandized.
After securing the gun, Agent Everly returned to Supervisor
Lousteau's office, where the defendant was located. At
the motion to suppress hearing, Agent Everly testified that
as he "started speaking with the defendant,"
another agent passed the office and asked if Agent Everly had
read him his rights. At that point, Agent Everly Mirandized
the defendant. Agent Everly then testified at the suppression
hearing: "I read him his rights. He stated that his aunt
had bought the gun and given it to him for protection. He was
very, I would say, contrite." Despite the
defendant's contention, there was nothing in this
testimony that indicated the defendant confessed before being
trial, Agent Everly testified that when he got back to
Supervisor Lousteau's office, he informed her about what
he and the other agents had found. He then advised the
defendant of his Miranda rights via a card that he kept in
his wallet. Agent Everly further testified that the defendant
stated that he understood his rights, and that he agreed to
waive those rights and speak to him. When asked what the
defendant said, Agent Everly testified: "He was very
contrite knowing that we found a gun. He said he didn't
want to go to jail, that his aunt had bought the gun and
given it to him for security, for safety, because he was in
fear of his life." Agent Everly further indicated that
he did not record the defendant's statement, and that he
thought Agent Howell heard the defendant's inculpatory
statement because Agent Howell was standing close by
Supervisor Lousteau's office door.
Howell testified at trial that he was actually in Supervisor
Lousteau's office when he heard the defendant say that
his aunt had given him the firearm for protection. Supervisor
Lousteau testified at trial that Agent Everly had the
defendant sit in her office while the vehicle was searched.
According to Supervisor Lousteau, when Agent Everly returned
to her office, he produced the handgun found in the vehicle.
Supervisor Lousteau indicated that at this point, Agent
Everly "read him his Miranda rights and questioned him
about the weapon, about the firearm that he found." When
Supervisor Lousteau was asked on direct examination about
what she heard, the following exchange took place:
A. I remember hearing him acknowledge his rights, and he
admitted that the gun was out there and that there was
attempts to hide it, but at that point, he was willing to
come clean. And he was actually very, you know, sincere and
stayed calm, but he admitted what he did wrong, and he
admitted that he knew it was there and that he had ~ it
He did not buy it, but it was given to him.
Q. Did you learn who it was given to him by?
A. He said it was his aunt, but I don't recall her name.
Q. During that interaction, was your office door open or
A. Open. It stays open.
Q. Tell me about the environment in the office. Was anybody
screaming and shouting?
A. No, ma'am.
Q. Did anybody threaten or coerce the suspect into saying
A. No, ma'am.
the defendant's contention that Agent Everly lacked
credibility because the advisement of rights and arrest were
documented as having occurred at the same time, we note the
following exchange with Agent Everly on cross-examination:
Q. Now, are you as sure as you are about the rest of your
testimony that you read Ronald St. Cyre his rights prior to
him making a statement?
Q. And, in fact, that you've read him the rights that
were on the Miranda form, correct?
A. I read him both of them, yes. I read them off the card,
and I read them again at the jail when I went and booked him.
Q. I'm going show you State's Exhibit 8. Can you tell
me under the line that says "agent informing" ~
what does it say? Agent informing what?
A. Prisoner signature, witness. There's my signature
Q. Agent informing prisoner?
Q. Whose signature is on that line?
A. No one.
Q. No one? How could no one's signature be on that line?
A. I signed the witness, where I witnessed it.
Q. Is that a mistake?
A. Probably. I was trying to get his arrest report done.
Q. Are you sure you read him his rights that day?
A. Yeah, I witnessed it right there. He signed it. He signed
the document, and I witnessed him signing the document.
Q. Were you a witness to the person advising him of his
rights, or did you advise him of his rights?
A. I advised him of his rights.
Q. That's you're [sic] testimony?
A. That's my testimony.
Q. That's not what his document says. His document just
says you were a witness.
A. Okay. My testimony is I read him his rights, and I
witnessed his signing it. I think I may have signed the wrong
block, but ...