Monday, November 10, 2014

Colorado Court of Appeals People v. Frye 12CA0006

Decision here.

   This decision doesn't really give much information about what happened, it sort of skips to its conclusion and occasionally fills in bits of the story as it goes.  It sounds like Frye was a passenger on a traffic stop, gave the officer a fake name, and was arrested when he figured out who she really was and that she has a warrant.  At the jail, he asked her if she had any contraband (without Mirandizing her), she denied it, and then the jail found drugs hidden on her person.

   She appealed her conviction, arguing (among other things) that her statement to the officer that she didn't have contraband should have been suppressed.  And she was right, it should have been; it was a pretty obvious Miranda violation.  But the fact that the officer was allowed to testify to it was harmless error because the case against her was so overwhelmingly strong that her conviction couldn't be attributed to the error.

   Even so, if you're going to ask a prisoner if they have contraband, you should probably read them their rights first.  

   Also, she had several different kinds of drugs on her and was therefore convicted of multiple counts of introducing contraband into a jail.  The Court of Appeals dismissed all but one of those convictions, holding that introduction of contraband is a per-incident crime, not a per-item-of-contraband crime.