Under New York criminal law, once a person accused of a crime is in custody, the Miranda Warnings must be given before police interrogate the suspect. Any statements made by the accused, during a custodial interrogation, cannot be used against him if the suspect was not first read his Miranda Rights. To make sure such statements are “suppressed” criminal lawyers must make a motion to suppress the evidence.
Based on the Miranda Warnings, in New York, criminal lawyers must make two threshold determinations to suppress the statements in a criminal case: (1) the suspect was in police custody; and (2) police conducted an interrogation. If the criminal defense lawyer can establish both of these factors in the affirmative and the suspect was not read his Miranda Rights, a criminal defense lawyer should be able to suppress the statements.
In analyzing the custody issue, criminal defense attorneys must focus the inquiry on whether a reasonable person would have thought he or she was in custody under the totality of the circumstances. In New York, based on the criminal case law, a person is in custody when that person is physically deprived of his or her freedom in any significant way or is led to reasonably to believe that his or her freedom has been curtailed.
Courts in New York have established several clear red-lines where a suspect is in custody. For instance, criminal lawyers in buffalo ny are familiar with the situation where a person is handcuffed in the back of a police car, which under New York law, clearly establishes the person is in custody.
However, once a buffalo criminal lawyer establishes the suspect was in custody, the defense lawyer must then establish that an interrogation in fact took place.
Before criminal lawyers turn the inquiry into whether an “interrogation” took place, clearly, defense counsel must set forth what an interrogation is: an interrogation is questioning by law enforcement designed to elicit a response concerning a crime. Reading between the lines, criminal lawyers understand an interrogation does not occur where a statement by an officer to a suspect is not likely to elicit a response.
Here, while certain facts could drastically change the analysis, it seems that under the circumstances, while the person arrested was in custody, the police officer likely did not engage him in an interrogation by asking “how is your day going?” Although a reasonable criminal lawyer could make arguments to the contrary; however, such arguments would likely not be very compelling.
However, what if the initial arrest putting the accused in the back of the police car was unlawful? Would this change anything?
According to New York State Law, the analysis of a criminal lawyer should change. According to courts in the State of New York, where an otherwise voluntary statement is elicited from the accused after an unlawful arrest, the statement may be suppressed as the fruit of that arrest, so long as the criminal defense lawyer makes the motion at the proper time.
In this second case, where the accused voluntarily revealed his role in a bank robbery, if for some reason the initial arrest was unlawful, it seems clear a New York defense attorney would have good reason to file a motion to suppress the statement.
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