from the District Court of Burleigh County, South Central
Judicial District, the Honorable John W. Grinsteiner, Judge.
A. Lawyer, Assistant State's Attorney, Bismarck, ND, for
plaintiff and appellee.
R. Loraas, Bismarck, ND, for defendant and appellant.
1] Morris Brickle-Hicks appeals from a criminal judgment
entered after the district court denied his motion to
suppress evidence and a jury found him guilty of murder.
Brickle-Hicks argues the court erred in denying his motion to
suppress incriminating statements made by him to law
enforcement officers and physical evidence he provided to the
officers. We conclude the court's denial of
Brickle-Hicks' motion to suppress is supported by
sufficient competent evidence and is not contrary to the
manifest weight of the evidence. We affirm.
2] According to Bismarck police officers, shortly after 5
a.m. on April 14, 2016, they responded to a call from the
Sanford Hospital emergency room, where Brickle-Hicks reported
that he had been assaulted in south Bismarck. Brickle-Hicks
had blood on his clothes and shoes, and the officers took a
statement from him about that assault before he was
discharged from the emergency room and allowed to leave the
3] At about 8:50 a.m. on April 14, 2016, Bismarck police
officers received a report of a deceased female with visible
injuries to her face and body near a business in south
Bismarck. An officer eventually contacted Brickle-Hicks'
girlfriend and informed her that he wanted to speak with
Brickle-Hicks about his assault report. Brickle-Hicks'
girlfriend brought him to the police department shortly after
12 a.m. on April 15, 2016, where he was read his
Miranda rights and signed a waiver of those rights.
Officers conducted a two and one-half hour recorded interview
of Brickle-Hicks, in which he made incriminating statements
about the female's death. During the interview,
Brickle-Hicks also provided the officers with items of his
clothing for testing.
4] The State charged Brickle-Hicks with murder, a class AA
felony under N.D.C.C. § 12.1-16-01(1), alleging he
intentionally or knowingly caused the death of another on
April 14, 2016, or caused the death of another under
circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to the
value of human life. Brickle-Hicks moved to suppress all
statements made by him to law enforcement officers during the
interview, arguing his Miranda rights were violated
and his statements were involuntary under the totality of the
circumstances. He also sought to suppress the clothing seized
from him during the interview.
5] After an evidentiary hearing at which the parties
stipulated to the introduction into evidence of the recording
of the officers' interview of Brickle-Hicks, the district
court denied his motion to suppress. The court ruled
Brickle-Hicks' statements were voluntary, his
Miranda rights were not violated, and he consented
to giving his clothing to the officers for testing. The court
found that the recorded interview negated Brickle-Hicks'
claim that he was susceptible to manipulation, that
Brickle-Hicks was capable of understanding the consequences
of his statements made during the interview, and that the
officers did not use improper deception or questioning
tactics to coerce a confession. The court determined that the
verbal and written Miranda warnings given to
Brickle-Hicks substantially complied with the requirements of
Miranda and that he voluntarily, knowingly, and
intelligently waived his Miranda rights. The court
also found Brickle-Hicks voluntarily consented to giving his
clothing to the officers for testing. A jury thereafter found
Brickle-Hicks guilty of murder.
6] Brickle-Hicks argues the district court erred in denying
his motion to suppress. In State v. Goebel, 2007 ND
4, ¶ 11, 725 N.W.2d 578 (citations omitted), we
described our standard of review of motions to suppress:
When reviewing a district court's ruling on a motion to
suppress, we defer to the district court's findings of
fact and resolve conflicts in testimony in favor of
affirmance. We recognize that the district court is in a
superior position to assess the credibility of witnesses and
weigh the evidence. Generally, a district court's
decision to deny a motion to suppress will not be reversed if
there is sufficient competent evidence capable of supporting
the district court's findings, and if its decision is not
contrary to the manifest weight ...