State v. Hunter, 208 N.C. App. 506 (Dec. 21, 2010)

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that because he was under the influence of cocaine he did not knowingly, intelligently, and understandingly waive his Miranda rights or make a statement to the police. Because the defendant was not under the influence of any impairing substance and answered questions appropriately, the fact that he ingested crack cocaine several hours prior was not sufficient to invalidate the trial court’s finding that his statements were freely and voluntarily made. At 11:40 pm, unarmed agents woke the defendant in his cell and brought him to an interrogation room, where the defendant was not restrained. The defendant was responsive to instructions and was fully advised of his Miranda rights; he nodded affirmatively to each right and at 11:46 pm, signed a Miranda rights form. When asked whether he was under the influence of any alcohol or drugs, the defendant indicated that he was not but that he had used crack cocaine, at around 1:00 or 2:00 pm that day. He responded to questions appropriately. An agent compiled a written summary, which the defendant was given to read and make changes. Both the defendant and the agent signed the document at around 2:41 am. The agents thanked the defendant for cooperating and the defendant indicated that he was glad to “get all of this off [his] chest.” On these facts, the defendant’s statements were free and voluntary; no promises were made to him, and he was not coerced in any way. He was knowledgeable of his circumstances and cognizant of the meaning of his words.