Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Richardson

Court of Appeals of Georgia, Fifth Division

January 2, 2020

THE STATE
v.
RICHARDSON.

          MCFADDEN, C. J., MCMILLIAN, P. J., and SENIOR APPELLATE JUDGE PHIPPS

          PHIPPS, SENIOR APPELLATE JUDGE

         On appeal from an order suppressing statements made at and evidence recovered from the scene of a car hijacking, the State asserts that the evidence should not have been suppressed because defendant Darieuq Richardson's self-incriminating statements were voluntarily made. We agree as to Richardson's first statement to police, made before he was arrested, and we therefore reverse in part and vacate in part.

[I]n reviewing a ruling on the admissibility of a defendant's statements where the facts are disputed, we accept the trial court's factual findings and credibility determinations unless they are clearly erroneous, but we independently apply the law to the facts. . . . [A] reviewing court may consider facts that definitively can be ascertained exclusively by reference to evidence that is uncontradicted and presents no questions of credibility, such as facts indisputably discernible from a videotape. On the other hand, to the extent that legally significant facts were proved by evidence other than the video recording, the trial court as fact-finder was entitled to determine the credibility and weight of that other evidence.

(Citations and punctuation omitted.) State v. Abbott, 303 Ga. 297, 299 (1) (812 S.E.2d 225) (2018).

         Thus viewed in favor of the trial court's judgment, including those facts "indisputably discernable" from the videotape of Richardson's arrest, Abbott, 303 Ga. at 299 (1), the record shows that at around 10:00 p.m. on the evening of January 22, 2018, a Douglas County deputy responded to a domestic dispute call at the apartment where Richardson lived with his mother and sister. The mother said that Richardson had been drinking and described her son to police as wearing a black hoodie and dark pants. The deputy promised to "try to find him and see if he would come home."

         At approximately 5:00 on the following morning, while it was still dark, the same deputy was recalled to the same apartment complex by a 911 call reporting a car hijacking and attempted armed robbery. The caller told police that he had left his car running to warm up in the winter weather before returning to the car, at which time he saw a young man standing at the top of the stairwell in the breezeway. As the victim approached his car, the young man, who was wearing a black hoodie with white spots on the right rear shoulder and dark jeans and was carrying a gun, came up behind the victim and demanded his car keys and wallet. The victim threw his wallet onto the ground and ran away, with the young man in pursuit. The victim later returned to the apartment parking lot, retrieved his wallet, and ran to the entrance of the complex, where he called 911. The first deputy noted the resemblance between the suspect and the description given of Richardson earlier that night.

         The two deputies now on scene accompanied the victim back to his car, which was parked within view of Richardson's apartment. The car's engine was still running, but its windshield was shattered, and a fire extinguisher was underneath its front. As shown on the officers' bodycam videos, the first deputy saw blinds moving in the front window of Richardson's apartment. When the officers knocked on the door, Richardson's mother answered. The officers asked her whether Richardson was there and if they could "talk to him for just a second." The mother agreed, and shortly thereafter, with the second deputy's gun drawn, Richardson walked out of the apartment with his hands in the air, saying, "I ain't got nothing on me." He was wearing a black hoodie with white markings on the right rear shoulder. The first deputy then placed Richardson in handcuffs, instructing him to "put your hands up until I can figure out what is going on." The following conversation then occurred:

[Investigator:] Let's turn [Richardson] around so [the victim] doesn't see him in cuffs. Do you want to tell us what you did tonight?
[Richardson:] Yes, sir.
[Investigator:] Tell us what you did then.
[Richardson:] Something dumb.
[Investigator:] What did you do? [Deputy 1, also in response:] ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.