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State v. Ralios

June 9, 2010



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gilbertson, Chief Justice


[¶1.] Defendant was convicted of second degree rape in violation of SDCL 22-22-1(2). He appeals the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress statements made to police during a custodial interrogation and various evidentiary rulings. We affirm.


[¶2.] Defendant Julio Juarez-Ralios, while using the name "Antonio," met E.C. in 2005 in Sioux Falls. The two dated and had a sexual relationship for two months. They lost contact after the relationship ended until 2007 when they saw each other at a "Spanish Dance" in Sioux Falls. Defendant telephoned E.C. later that evening and asked if he could stay at her home as he did not have a ride home. E.C. allowed Defendant to stay on her couch. He left the next morning without incident.

[¶3.] On March 8, 2008, while attending a "Spanish Dance" in Sioux Falls, E.C. saw Defendant again and they exchanged cell phone numbers. Defendant called E.C. sometime after 3 a.m. on March 9, and once again asked if he could stay at her home. E.C. let Defendant into her home and provided him with the use of her couch. E.C. retired to her bedroom with her one-year-old child. Defendant entered E.C.'s bedroom, sat on her bed, and spoke with her for a few minutes before asking for sex. E.C. declined. Defendant then held E.C. down on the bed and despite her protests and resistance raped her while she cried. E.C.'s one-year-old daughter was in a portable crib at the foot of the bed during the rape and began crying during the assault. After the rape, Defendant called a taxi and was taken to another residence in Sioux Falls. E.C., crying, hyperventilating, and struggling to speak, called 911 within three minutes of the sexual assault. E.C. named "Antonio" as the assailant.

[¶4.] Sioux Falls Police Officers Matt Vandervelde and Brian Warwick arrived at E.C.'s home and quickly determined Defendant had called a taxi, which had picked him up outside E.C.'s home, and it was taking him to an apartment building at 901 North Dakota Avenue. Officer Warwick remained at E.C.'s home and obtained the basic information about the assailant from E.C. He also photographed the scene and bagged evidence.

[¶5.] Officer Vandervelde departed for the address given to him by the taxi company that picked Defendant up in front of E.C.'s apartment. Officer Vandervelde arrived at the location before Defendant and determined that Defendant was a known acquaintance of the two male occupants of apartment number three. While standing outside apartment number one, Officer Vandervelde saw Defendant exit the taxi and begin to walk toward apartment number three. When Defendant saw Officer Vandervelde, he changed direction and began to walk away. Officer Vandervelde said "stop" and Defendant complied. Officer Vandervelde approached Defendant, who identified himself as "Jamie Cruz Wilkens." Defendant provided a picture identification card with that name and his photograph.

[¶6.] Officer Vandervelde returned to E.C.'s apartment where he showed her three picture identification cards, including the Defendant's and those of the other two male occupants of apartment number three. E.C. was able to identify Defendant "Antonio" from the photo as her assailant. E.C. was transported to a local emergency room. She was examined by physician Dr. Shelly Driver. A rape kit examination was also performed. Dr. Driver determined that E.C. had a purplish lesion on her neck and was experiencing pain and burning in her pelvic region. Dr. Driver also noted erythema, or redness in the vaginal opening that appeared to be new. The examination also revealed a swab of discharge consistent with the appearance of semen. Dr. Driver noted E.C. was shaken, very upset, tearful, and slightly anxious. Officer Warwick interviewed E.C. briefly at the hospital. He also collected the blanket E.C. wrapped herself in after the rape and the rape kit from the hospital.

[¶7.] Defendant was asked to accompany the police to the Sioux Falls Law Enforcement Center. Defendant agreed. While in custody, Defendant spoke in English and appeared to comprehend all directions and requests made of him. Defendant asked to use the restroom and was escorted there by an officer. When Defendant asked the officer to leave the room, he was told that the officer could not leave Defendant unaccompanied. When Defendant tried to wash his hands, the officer told him not to because police would be obtaining a search warrant for possible evidence that Defendant had on his hands. Defendant appeared to understand and complied with the directive. Defendant then waited in an interrogation room for approximately forty-five minutes before questioning began at around 5:47 a.m. Defendant slept for part of that time.

[¶8.] Detective Olson of the Sioux Falls Police Department conducted the interrogation.*fn1 Before reading Defendant his Miranda warning, Officer Olson said:

"Just to let you know, before you can talk to me, need to let you know about your Miranda rights. I do want to talk to you and get your side of the story." Detective Olson then read the following advisement in an unhurried and steady manner: "You have the right to remain silent. You can stop questioning at any time. Anything you say can be used against you. You have the right to consult with an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you." After reading Defendant his Miranda warning, the following colloquy took place between Defendant and Detective Olson:

Olson: Do you understand the rights I just read to you?

Defendant: [Defendant nods affirmatively]

Olson: Would you be willing to waive your rights and talk to me?

Defendant: I don't know. I don't know why I'm here dog.

Olson: Well, that's if you want to waive your rights and talk to me. I'd be more than happy to fill you in as far as to what I know.

Defendant: I don't know what's going on. I have no idea.

Olson: Okay. Well, would you be able to waive your rights and talk to me.

Defendant: I came from work to visit a friend.

Olson: [Stops Defendant with a hand gesture] Okay. I need to know if you'll waive your rights and talk to me though before we go any further. Is that all right? You willing to talk to me?

Defendant: Just let me visit my friend.

Olson: [Stops Defendant once again with a hand gesture] Okay. Are you willing to talk to me?

Defendant: Yeah.

[¶9.] While in custody, Defendant gave his name as "Wilkens." Defendant was able to give his address, cell phone number, and home telephone number when asked. Upon request from Detective Olson, Defendant produced a cell phone from his right pants pocket. Defendant explained that it did not have service as the bill had not been paid. Detective Olson was able to see past dates, times, and numbers called on the cell phone. Detective Olson asked Defendant several questions about past calls that appeared on the cell phone. Defendant appeared to understand all questions, and his replies were consistent with an understanding of the questions posed to him.

[¶10.] Defendant initially denied being with any woman that evening, denied having had sex, claimed to be from Puerto Rico, and denied knowing E.C. Defendant was able to give an accounting of his past cities of residence and years in which he resided in Texas, Kansas, and Puerto Rico. When asked about his immigration status and whether he possessed a valid social security card, Defendant claimed he was a legal alien and recited a social security number from memory. He then produced a social security card with that number from his wallet.

[ΒΆ11.] Detective Olson told Defendant of the rape allegations and that a search warrant to collect DNA evidence from his person was being sought. Defendant asked what would happen next. Detective Olson replied that Defendant would be arrested. ...

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