State v. Waring, 364 N.C. 443 (Nov. 5, 2010)

A capital defendant was not in custody when he admitted that he stabbed the victim. Considering the totality of the circumstances, the defendant is an adult with prior criminal justice system experience; the officer who first approached the defendant told him that he was being detained until detectives arrived but that he was not under arrest; when the detectives arrived and told him that he was not under arrest, the defendant voluntarily agreed to go to the police station; the defendant was never restrained and was left alone in the interview room with the door unlocked and no guard; he was given several bathroom breaks and offered food and drink; the defendant was cooperative; the detectives did not raise their voices, use threats, or make promises; the defendant was never misled, deceived, or confronted with false evidence; once the defendant admitted his involvement in the killing, the interview ended and he was given his Miranda rights. Although the first officer told the defendant that he was “detained,” he also told the defendant he was not under arrest. Any custody associated with the detention ended when the defendant voluntarily accompanied detectives, who confirmed that he was not under arrest. The defendant’s inability to leave the interview room without supervision or escort did not suggest custody; the defendant was in a non-public area of the station and prevention of unsupervised roaming in such a space would not cause a reasonable person to think that a formal arrest had occurred.

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