State v. Clark, 211 N.C. App. 60 (Apr. 19, 2011)

A reasonable person in the defendant’s position would not have believed that he or she was under arrest or restrained in such a way as to necessitate Miranda warnings. Key factors in the Miranda custody determination include: whether a suspect is told he or she is free to leave, is handcuffed, or is in the presence of uniformed officers and the nature of any security around the suspect. There was no evidence that officers ever explicitly told the defendant that he was being detained. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that because he was moved to a patrol car and instructed to remain there when he came in contact with the victim’s father and that he was told to “come back and stay” when he attempted to talk to his girlfriend, the victim’s sister, this was tantamount to a formal arrest. The court concluded that the officers’ actions were nothing more than an attempt to control the scene and prevent emotional encounters between a suspect and members of the victim’s family. Moreover, even if the defendant was detained at the scene, his statements are untainted given that the detective expressly told him that he was not under arrest, the defendant repeatedly asked to speak with the detective, and the defendant voluntarily accompanied the detective to the sheriff’s department.