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State v. Jackson

Court of Appeals of Georgia

May 14, 2015

THE STATE
v.
JACKSON

Custodial statement. Polk Superior Court. Before Judge Sutton.

Jack Browning, Jr., District Attorney, Matthew S. Nestrud, Assistant District Attorney, for appellant.

Julie C. Moore, for appellee.

OPINION

Page 805

McFadden, Judge.

The state appeals from the trial court's grant of Marcus Lewis Jackson's motion to suppress evidence of a statement Jackson made during a custodial interview. See OCGA § 5-7-1 (a) (5) (permitting state to directly appeal from order excluding evidence to be used by state at trial). The state and Jackson stipulated that

the sole issue on th[e] motion [was] whether [the interviewing officer's] statement to [Jackson], during a [M]irandized custodial interview, that " the only way to get out of here is to be honest" [was] an unconstitutional " hope of benefit" prohibited by ... OCGA § 24-8-824 or a " promise of a collateral benefit" permissible under OCGA § 24-8-825.

The trial court found that the suppressed statement was involuntary because it was induced by a hope of benefit. Because the undisputed evidence shows no hope of benefit -- as that phrase has been consistently interpreted -- was induced, we reverse.

The only evidence presented at the motion hearing was a video recording of the interrogation, which, with Jackson's agreement, the state submitted in lieu of the interrogating officer's testimony. " [W]here controlling facts are not in dispute, such as those facts discernable from a videotape, our review is de novo." Vergara v. State, 283 Ga. 175, 178 (1) (657 S.E.2d 863) (2008) (punctuation omitted). Accord Brown v. State, 290 Ga. 865, 868 (2) (a) (725 S.E.2d 320) (2012); State v. Underwood, 283 Ga. 498, 500 (661 S.E.2d 529) (2008). Compare State v. Chulpayev, 296 Ga. 764, 771 (2), n. 5 (770 S.E.2d 808) (2015) (declining to apply de novo review where testimony and other evidence was presented on the issue of voluntariness of defendant's statement in addition to recording of interview in which statement occurred).

The video recording depicts the following exchange between the interrogating officer and Jackson, culminating in the alleged promise that induced a hope of benefit:

Page 806

OFFICER: You've got a son, right?
JACKSON: Daughter.
OFFICER: Daughter. ...

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