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State v. Cyre

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

December 19, 2019

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
RONALD ST. CYRE

          On 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.

          Samuel H. Winston New Orleans, LA James E. Boren Baton Rouge, LA Attorneys for Defendant -Appellant, Ronald St. Cyre

          Warren L. Montgomery District Attorney Matthew Caplan Assistant District Attorney Covington, LA Attorneys for Appellee, State of Louisiana

          BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, PENZATO AND LANIER, JJ.

          HIGGINBOTHAM, J.

         The 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.[1] 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.

         FACTS

         In 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 the office.

         In 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 [sic]."

         After 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.

         Agent 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.

         Chelsea 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.

         The defendant did not testify at trial.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR NO. 1

         In his 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.

         Trial 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.

         At the 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.

         Agent 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."

         The 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 consumption.

         The 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.

         A 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.

         It is 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 1239.

         In this 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."

         In 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 analysis. Id.

         The 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).[2]

         In the 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.

         The 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.

         The 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.

         The 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.

         The 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).

         As 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 wear [sic]."

         An 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).

         Finally, 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.

         Additionally, 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 Everly's office.

         In 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).

         Based 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 evidence.

         Accordingly, this assignment of error is without merit.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR NO. 2

         In his 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.

         It is 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.

         Although 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.

         The 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 his rights.

         We 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 Mirandized.

         At 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.

         Agent 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 wasn't his.
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 closed?
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 anything?
A. No, ma'am.

         Regarding 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?
A. Yes.
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 right there.
Q. Agent informing prisoner?
A. Yes.
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 ...

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