State v. Bardales
A police officer may ask vague questions that are reasonably related to public safety, without furnishing a Miranda warning. Allegedly, a confidential informant, who previously had provided accurate information, reported that Jack Bardales, a convicted felon, had taken the confidential informant to a residence in New Britain, where he had a .357 revolver, a 12-gauge shotgun, a 9 mm Smith and a Wesson semi-automatic pistol. Police obtained a search warrant to search the New Britain residence, and they allegedly discovered the semi-automatic pistol, ammunition, $25,000 in cash, five ounces of cocaine and drug processing and packaging materials. A police officer stopped Bardales and asked whether there was anything in the motor vehicle that he needed to be concerned about. Bardales allegedly replied that there was cocaine. Police seized the cocaine and arrested Bardales. Police entered Bardales' personal residence in Bristol, before they obtained a search warrant, then remained at the residence until the search warrant arrived. Police seized drugs, drug processing materials and $63,829 in cash. Bardales moved to suppress. The search warrant affidavit, which indicated that a confidential informant who previously had been accurate had observed the firearms in the possession of Bardales, a convicted felon, provided a substantial factual basis for the judge to find that probable cause existed that firearms were kept at the New Britain residence. The police officer who pulled over Bardales' motor vehicle was uncertain whether he informed Bardales about his Miranda rights, prior to questioning. The state did not prove Bardales voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently waived his Miranda rights. The police officer's question whether there was anything in the motor vehicle that he needed to be concerned about was reasonably related to officer safety, because it was intended to elicit information about firearms. The court denied the motion to suppress the cocaine and the defendant's statement that there was cocaine. Exigent circumstances did not justify the search of Bardales' personal residence in Bristol. The warrantless entry did not invalidate the subsequent search that took place pursuant to a search warrant. The court denied the motion to suppress items discovered during the subsequent search.