TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday refused to take up an appeal by prosecutors and cleared the way for a new trial in a case in which a 15-year-old youth was accused of murdering another teen over a stolen bicycle in Palm Beach County.
Prosecutors went to the Supreme Court after the 4th District Court of Appeal in February ordered a new trial for Frank Quarles because he was not properly advised of his Miranda rights to remain silent during an investigation into the 2012 death. The Supreme Court, as is common, did not explain its reasons Thursday for declining to take up the case.
Quarles, now 24, was convicted of second-degree murder, possession of a firearm by a minor and carrying a concealed firearm in the death of Michael Robertson.
After Quarles was arrested and taken the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, a detective advised him of his Miranda rights. Quarles refused to make a statement and was taken to a holding cell. About 50 minutes later, Quarles began banging on the door of the holding cell and said he wanted to talk to the detective, the February appeals-court ruling said. Quarles was taken back to an interrogation room and was asked if he understood the Miranda discussion from earlier. He then said he accidentally shot the victim. A circuit judge denied a motion to suppress Quarles’ statements, but the appeals court disagreed.
“Here, after defendant (Quarles) invoked his right to remain silent, the detective stopped talking to defendant,” the appeals court decision said. “Less than one hour later, defendant changed his mind and wanted to speak with the detective. Although the detective did make a reasonable inquiry into whether defendant remembered and understood his Miranda rights, and that his desire to speak with the detective was not coerced, the detective did not re-read to defendant his Miranda rights. Under (a Florida Supreme Court precedent), the detective’s failure to do so rendered defendant’s confession involuntary.”