FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF STAFFORD COUNTY Charles S. Sharp, Judge.
Susan Baumgartner, Assistant Attorney General (Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, II, Attorney General, on briefs), for appellant.
Ian Whittle, Assistant Public Defender (Office of the Public Defender, on brief), for appellee.
Judges Petty, Beales and Chafin Argued by teleconference.
MEMORANDUM OPINION [*]
WILLIAM G. PETTY, JUDGE.
Pursuant to Code § 19.2-398, the Commonwealth appeals the decision of the trial court to grant John Henry McCray's motion to suppress statements he made to police officers. On appeal, the Commonwealth argues that the trial court erred in ruling that McCray was subjected to custodial interrogation, which required the police officers to advise McCray of his Miranda rights prior to questioning him. We agree and reverse the trial court's suppression of McCray's statements.
Because the parties are fully conversant with the record in this case and this memorandum opinion carries no precedential value, we recite only those facts and incidents of the proceedings as are necessary to the parties' understanding of the disposition of this appeal.
"In an appeal by the Commonwealth of an order of the trial court suppressing evidence, the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the defendant and findings of fact are entitled to a presumption of correctness unless they are plainly wrong or without evidence to support them." Commonwealth v. Peterson, 15 Va.App. 486, 487, 424 S.E.2d 722, 723 (1992).
On January 11, 2013, Deputy Siegel and his field training officer, Deputy Miller, were dispatched to a Wal-Mart on a reported larceny in progress. Both deputies were in uniform, in a marked police cruiser, and displaying their badges of authority. The deputies were informed by dispatch that the suspects were two black men in a red or maroon SUV with Washington, D.C. license plates.
When the deputies arrived at the Wal-Mart, they were informed by dispatch that the SUV was backing out of a parking space directly in front of them. Deputy Siegel noticed that a Wal-Mart loss prevention employee was pointing at the SUV. The SUV, and the two men inside it, matched the description that was given by dispatch.
Deputy Siegel activated the emergency lights, but not the siren, of his police cruiser, and the SUV stopped where it was, which was on an access road connecting the parking lot to the highway. Deputy Siegel's police cruiser was perpendicular to the SUV, and there was nothing in front of the SUV to block it in.
Deputy Siegel approached the SUV. Deputy Siegel talked with both McCray, who was driving the SUV, and a passenger, who was later identified as Brandon Watts. Deputy Siegel obtained a license from McCray, which he retained throughout the investigation, and received identifying information from Watts. Deputy Siegel returned to the police cruiser.
After returning to the police cruiser, Deputy Siegel ran a computer check on McCray's license and discovered that it was suspended in Virginia. Deputy Siegel ran a computer check using the identifying information he received from Watts and could not locate anyone in Virginia, ...