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Judge to rule on whether to suppress inmate statements in drug case

Ronald E. Wilson II is charged with conspiring to bring Suboxone into the Washington County Detention Center

April 05, 2012|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

A Washington County Circuit judge will decide whether statements a county jail inmate made during a disciplinary hearing can be used to prosecute him in a drug case.

Judge John H. McDowell on Thursday heard testimony and arguments during a suppression hearing in the case of Ronald E. Wilson II, 35, charged with conspiring to bring Suboxone into the Washington County Detention Center, a conspiracy that included a former correctional deputy, according to court records.

The incidents for which Wilson is accused took place on Nov. 2 and 3, 2011, court records said.

On Nov. 8 Wilson had a disciplinary hearing before a jail correctional deputy in which he admitted to planning and conspiring to commit a category one act, which includes possession of contraband such as drugs, according to the deputy’s testimony.

Assistant State’s Attorney Viki Pauler told McDowell that jail disciplinary proceedings are not criminal matters and do not require a defendant to be read his Miranda rights that protect him from self-incrimination.

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Nevertheless, Wilson had been advised he did not have to make any statements at the disciplinary hearing and was not required to attend the hearing.

“The defendant had choices,” Pauler told McDowell.

“We believe the defendant should have been Mirandized,” defense attorney David Harbin told McDowell “There’s a difference between using statements in a disciplinary matter and use of those statements in a criminal prosecution.”

“This is bothersome. It really is,” McDowell said at one point during the hearing.
The judge noted that, when read his inmate rights, Wilson was also advised that not attending or saying anything at the hearing could held against him.

The status of Wilson’s incarceration changed with the filing of criminal charges for what allegedly happened while he was in jail, McDowell said. The judge said it was also unknown whether Wilson had been read his Miranda rights when the criminal charges were filed.

McDowell told the attorneys he would need to study the matter before ruling on the defense motion to suppress Wilson’s statements.

Leslie Allen Martin Jr., 30, of Hagerstown, a former jail correctional deputy, pleaded guilty in March to distribution of Suboxone, a drug used to treat opiate addiction. He is awaiting sentencing.

Washington County Sheriff’s Office charging documents said Martin conspired with a woman to bring the Suboxone to Wilson.

Other charges against Martin, including criminal conspiracy and delivery of a controlled substance to a place of confinement, were dismissed in exchange for his plea, court records said.

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