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Reynolds v. State

Court of Appeals of Maryland

August 27, 2018

CLEMENT REYNOLDS
v.
STATE OF MARYLAND

          Argued: May 8, 2018

          Circuit Court for Montgomery County Case No. 125040C

          Barbera, C.J., Greene, Adkins, McDonald, Watts, Hotten, Getty, JJ.

          OPINION

          HOTTEN, JUDGE

         On May 29, 2014, Petitioner Clement Reynolds ("Reynolds") was indicted by the Grand Jury for Montgomery County on charges of first degree murder, conspiracy to commit first degree murder, and use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence, stemming from the killing of Wesley King on November 18, 2002. On October 20, 2014, the Circuit Court for Montgomery County held a hearing to address Reynolds's Motion to Suppress Custodial Statements, which was granted in part and denied in part. Following a seven-day jury trial commencing on January 5, 2015, Reynolds was convicted of all counts. On March 31, 2015, Reynolds was sentenced to concurrent life sentences for each of the first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder counts, and twenty years imprisonment for the use of a handgun in commission of a crime of violence, to be served consecutively. The first five years of his sentence for the use of a handgun charge was without parole, pursuant to Criminal Law ("Crim. Law") Article § 4-204[1] of the Maryland Code.

         Thereafter, Reynolds noted an appeal to the Court of Special Appeals, which affirmed the judgment of the trial court in an unreported opinion on November 8, 2017. Reynolds v. State, No. 0182, Sept. Term, 2015, 2017 WL 5171593 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Nov. 8, 2017), cert. granted, 457 Md. 399, 178 A.3d 1242 (2018). Reynolds now seeks this Court's review regarding whether he was "denied due process when the trial court permitted the prosecutor to question [him] about 'what he did not tell the police about his alibi defense, even though the omissions were a result of Reynolds['s] post-arrest, post-Miranda [2] invocation of silence and were not inconsistencies with his trial testimony." We answer this question in the negative and affirm the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals.

         BACKGROUND

         On April 14, 2014, Reynolds was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. An open warrant was issued on March 25, 2003 for "Kevin Reynolds" regarding the November 18, 2002 murder of Wesley King ("King") in Montgomery County, Maryland. King was shot and killed outside of his apartment in Silver Spring, Maryland. A warrant for Kevin Reynolds remained unserved until 2014, when it was discovered that Kevin Reynolds was using the name of Dennis Graham. Upon his arrest in New York, Reynolds was carrying a United States passport, a Connecticut driver's license, and other documents bearing the name of Dennis Graham. Although officers took Reynolds's fingerprints to ascertain whether he was the subject of the warrant, the analysis was not completed for several days. Reynolds was taken to a New York City precinct, where he was detained until Montgomery County Detectives Sean Riley and Frank Colbert arrived to interview him.

         The detectives informed Reynolds that they wanted to interview him about a murder from 2002. Prior to advising Reynolds of his Miranda rights, Detective Colbert asked Reynolds his name, and he replied "Dennis Graham." Detective Colbert asked Reynolds for his date of birth, whether he was in good physical condition, whether he was sober, how far he went in high school, and whether he spoke languages other than English. The detectives told Reynolds they believed he was using an alias, which the fingerprints would soon confirm.

         Detective Colbert read Reynolds his Miranda rights at 2:17 a.m. Reynolds refused to sign an Advice of Rights form, but Reynolds answered affirmatively that he understood his rights. Detective Colbert asked Reynolds whether he had ever been to Maryland, to which Reynolds replied, "I've been through Maryland." When asked whether he had heard of Montgomery County, Maryland or of a cold case homicide from 2002, Reynolds replied that he knew of the County, but not the homicide. Eventually, the detectives asked Reynolds directly whether he was Kevin Reynolds, to which he replied no. Detective Colbert then told Reynolds that "[t]here's overwhelming evidence that you murdered somebody back in November of 2012 [sic]" and that this was Reynolds's "opportunity to talk this out." Reynolds replied, "[t]here's nothing I have to say."

         The suppression court ruled that everything up to this point was admissible because Reynolds had not yet invoked his right to remain silent, but found that Reynolds's last reply was a clear and unambiguous invocation of Reynolds's right to remain silent.

         Despite the fact, as the suppression court found, that Reynolds asserted the right to remain silent, the police interrogation continued. Detective Colbert told Reynolds he had a "list of evidence... [a]nd it's overwhelming... [i]t's your time to speak up about this." Reynolds repeated, "[t]here's nothing I have to say. You're trying to solve a homicide and[.]" Detective Colbert interjected "our homicide is solved... I'd rather you just tell me to go to hell and get out of here." Detective Colbert asked Reynolds what country he was in during November of 2002. Reynolds responded, "November of 2002? I was probably in the Virgin Islands." Reynolds indicated that he had family there. Detective Colbert then asked Reynolds if he thought the evidence described by the detectives was enough to convict someone. Reynolds initially responded, "I don't know." When Detective Colbert added that Reynolds left the country after the homicide, Reynolds repeated, "I don't know. Nothing else to say."

         Detective Colbert also engaged Reynolds in a conversation about Reynolds's life. Reynolds told Detective Colbert that he came to the United States and settled in Morris Plains, New Jersey, where he sold cars with a man named Byron Matamora. Reynolds told Detective Colbert that he resided in two other towns in New Jersey with Rose Lopez, who was his girlfriend at the time. Detective Colbert again asked, "[n]othing else you want to talk about?" Reynolds responded, "I guess not, no."

         On April 30, 2014, the same detectives interviewed Reynolds in Montgomery County, Maryland. Reynolds immediately invoked his right to counsel. Notwithstanding the invocation, Detective Colbert continued to interview Reynolds.[3]

         The Suppression Hearing

         On October 20, 2014, the Circuit Court for Montgomery County held a suppression hearing to consider the statements Reynolds made during the April 14, 2014 and the April 30, 2014 interviews. Reynolds's trial counsel argued that Reynolds repeatedly invoked his right to remain silent in the April 14 interview, when he indicated that he had "nothing to say" about the murder, and that his statements following the first invocation were inadmissible because they were taken in violation of Miranda. Additionally, Reynolds asserted that Detective Colbert acted in bad faith by continuing to question Reynolds after the invocations, so the statements were inadmissible at trial for any purpose. The State averred that Reynolds never unambiguously invoked his right to remain silent, and that Detective Colbert did not act in bad faith. According to Detective Colbert, Reynolds "was trying to get me to believe his spin on the story [that he was "Graham"], and it was my job to try to get the facts out…."

         The suppression court ruled that Reynolds invoked his right to remain silent the first time he stated that "[t]here's nothing I have to say[]" about the murder. The court held that a majority of the April 14 interview was in violation of Miranda, and therefore inadmissible as substantive evidence. However, the court also determined that the statements elicited during the April 14 interview were voluntary and thus, admissible under Harris[4] and Hass[5]for impeachment purposes, should Reynolds elect to testify at trial. Regarding the April 30 interview, the State maintained that even if the statements were obtained in violation of Miranda, they were voluntarily made. The court ruled that the statements in the April 30 interview were involuntary and inadmissible, except for Reynolds's response to pedigree or booking questions. Ultimately, the suppression court precluded the State from introducing any statements after Reynolds's Miranda invocation in its case-in-chief. Before this Court, the State asserts that because Detective Colbert did not purposely violate Miranda, and Reynolds's statements were voluntary, the statements could be used for impeachment purposes.

         The Trial

         Wesley's daughter, Nickesha King ("Nickesha"), who was eleven years old at the time of the murder, testified that while walking with her father outside of their apartment on the evening of November 18, 2002, they were approached by two men dressed in black. One man pulled Nickesha aside while the other man, who she identified as Reynolds, pinned King down and shot him. As King fell, the two men ran to a white van and drove away with the door open. At trial, Nickesha identified Reynolds as the shooter, who she recognized because he stayed with her family during the summer of 2002. Nickesha testified that there was no doubt in her mind that Reynolds was the man who shot and killed King.

         Detective James Drewry testified that he recovered a cell phone from the murder scene, and eventually traced the cell phone number to a salon located in Brooklyn, New York. The salon was operated by Simone Smith ("Smith"), who was Reynolds's wife at the time of the murder.

         Detective Scott Sube, an expert on cell mapping and network operations, also testified for the State. Detective Sube presented a detailed chart that tracked which towers registered pings from the subject cell phone on the day of the murder. The chart reflected that pings from a call at 5:18 p.m. registered to cell towers in Manhattan, New York. Subsequent pings from cell phone calls were registered with towers indicating that the phone traveled south on the I-95 corridor from New York, through New Jersey and Baltimore. Another chart displayed three cell phone calls being made between 10:10 p.m. and 10:43 p.m. The final call was made at 10:43 p.m., seventeen minutes before the murder occurred, pinged off a Silver Spring cell tower located .54 of a mile from the scene of the murder.

         Pursuant to the suppression court's ruling, no evidence relative to the April 14 or April 30 interviews was offered in the State's case-in-chief.[6]

         Reynolds elected to exercise his right to testify. During direct examination, he testified regarding his personal and professional life. He was born in Jamaica, adopted by a prominent family, and completed two years of college. Reynolds was sixteen years old when he first met King, who was ten to twelve years his senior, while working for Reynolds's family business. Reynolds continued to stay in touch with King and his family after they migrated to the United States. Reynolds met his wife, Smith, in Jamaica before she moved to the United States in 1998. Reynolds followed Smith there a year later. The couple had a baby born in 2000 and settled in New York. Reynolds acquired a fake New York driver's license in the name of Kevin Reynolds.

         Reynolds admitted that he used to deal drugs with King. He became involved in selling drugs with King and his family in California. Reynolds helped King move to an apartment in Maryland and bought him furniture. Reynolds would transport marijuana from New York to Maryland in his minivan. Reynolds testified that he and King enjoyed a positive relationship, and he held no animosity against King at the time of King's death.

         Reynolds testified that on the day of King's murder he was in Brooklyn, New York and picked up his daughter from daycare at 6:00 p.m. According to Reynolds, he arrived home around 6:30 p.m., where a babysitter, Karlene Gill, was present. Smith returned home shortly after 8:00 p.m. Reynolds testified that he had an appointment with Caroline George to conduct an estimate for repairs on her home. He left his apartment between 9:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. and arrived at George's house around 10:30 p.m. Reynolds left shortly after 11:00 p.m. and arrived home around midnight, where he saw both Smith and Gill.

         Reynolds testified that around 1:00 a.m., the following morning, Smith began receiving phone calls and Reynolds learned that King had been killed. Following King's murder, Reynolds quickly learned that he was a suspect. Four days later, Reynolds created an alias, Dennis Graham, and ultimately left for Jamaica in December of 2002. Reynolds returned to the United States various times over the next decade. Upon Reynolds's return to the country in April of 2014, Reynolds was apprehended for King's murder.

         On cross-examination, the State addressed inconsistent statements Reynolds made during the April 14 police interview, which were at odds with his trial testimony. The State asked Reynolds:

[STATE]: Didn't you tell the police, that in November of 2002, you were in the Virgin Islands?
[REYNOLDS]: Yes, I did.
[STATE]: And didn't you also tell the police that you had never been to Maryland more than passing through?
[REYNOLDS]: Yes, I did.
[STATE]: So, you didn't tell them what you're telling the jury today, that Wesley King was your great friend and you regularly saw him and shared an apartment with him?
[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Objection.
THE COURT: Overruled.
[REYNOLDS]: No, I was uncertain the capacity [sic] of Dennis ...

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