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State v. Hudson

October 24, 1996

STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT,
v.
MARK STUART HUDSON, APPELLANT.



Appeal from Superior Court of Yakima County. Docket No: 94-1-01721-2. Date filed: 01/11/95. Judge signing: Hon. Susan Hahn.

Authored by Dennis J. Sweeney. Concurring: John A. Schultheis, Frank L. Kurtz

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sweeney

SWEENEY, C.J. Mark Stuart Hudson appeals his conviction of two counts of possession of a controlled substance. He contends (1) the trial court erred in not entering written findings and Conclusions following the CrR 3.5 hearing; (2) the trial court erred in not instructing the jury that it may give such weight and credibility to the confession as it sees fit; and (3) the evidence is insufficient to support a finding that he waived his Miranda *fn1 rights. We affirm.

FACTS

Mr. Hudson was walking down a Yakima street on October 20, 1994, when he was contacted by Yakima Police Officer Robert Franklin. Officer Franklin recognized him from previous incidents. He believed there were three outstanding warrants for Mr. Hudson's arrest. Officer Franklin told Mr. Hudson about the warrants. Mr. Hudson was handcuffed, placed in custody and searched. Officer Franklin found two capped syringes, a burned spoon, heroin, and cocaine.

Police took Mr. Hudson to a holding cell and gave him the Miranda warnings. He did not ask any questions about the warnings and did not request an attorney. Mr. Hudson told Officer Franklin that he had a heroin habit and admitted that the heroin in his pocket was his.

At the CrR 3.5 hearing, Mr. Hudson presented a different version of the events. He also argued that his statements to Officer Franklin were not knowingly and voluntarily made. The court ruled that Mr. Hudson's statements were admissible because "there was custodial interrogation. . . . Miranda was necessary. Miranda was given." It noted that Mr. Hudson acknowledged that he understood his rights before he spoke. The court held that Mr. Hudson made a knowing and voluntary waiver. Written findings of fact and Conclusions of law were not entered.

A jury found Mr. Hudson guilty of one count of possession of a controlled substance, heroin, and one count of possession of a controlled substance, cocaine. He appeals.

COMPLIANCE WITH CrR 3.5

Mr. Hudson first contends reversal is required because the trial court did not enter written findings of fact and Conclusions of law as required by CrR 3.5(c). We do not agree.

CrR 3.5(c) mandates that after an omnibus hearing, "the court shall set forth in writing: (1) the undisputed facts; (2) the disputed facts; (3) Conclusions as to the disputed facts; and (4) Conclusion as to whether the statement is admissible and the reasons therefor." In the absence of written findings, there is a strong presumption that dismissal is the appropriate remedy. State v. Smith, 76 Wash. App. 9, 17, 882 P.2d 190 (1994), review denied, 126 Wash. 2d 1003 (1995); State v. Smith, 68 Wash. App. 201, 211, 842 P.2d 494 (1992).

But the absence of written findings is harmless error when the court's oral opinion makes written findings a mere formality. Smith, 76 Wash. App. at 16; State v. Thompson, 73 Wash. App. 122, 130, 867 P.2d 691 (1994). If the court's oral findings are detailed, a defendant is not prejudiced. Id. at 130.

Here, the trial court's opinion identified the undisputed and disputed issues. The court noted that it was undisputed that Mr. Hudson spoke to Officer Franklin after being given the Miranda warnings. Mr. Hudson acknowledged and indicated he understood the warnings. The court's opinion also noted that Mr. Hudson disputed the exact contents of the statements. The oral opinion is sufficiently detailed and our review is not ...


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