Statements Made Without Properly Being Read Your Miranda Rights Could Be Suppressed
Appellate Docket No.: A-78-20
Decided May 2, 2022
Submitted by New Jersey New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark
In a recent decision, the Supreme Court of New Jersey reversed a denial of a motion to suppress after detectives continuously undermined the significance of the Miranda warning after properly administering Miranda.
In O.D.A.-C., detectives investigated an allegation that defendant had inappropriately touched H.B., then fourteen years old, on ten to fifteen occasions over a two-year period. The detectives told defendant they had to read him his Miranda rights, but that it was just a formality. Defendant signed the Miranda card after being read his rights and initialed each paragraph.
Detectives made it clear to Defendant they believed the allegations and attempted to confirm the allegations, asking how many times Defendant touched H.B. Defendant was hesitant to respond. When asked if he had touched H.B. “8 to 15 times,” he said, “It’s too many.” When asked if it happened 15 or 20 times, he responded, “I don’t think so.” The Hackensack detective then encouraged defendant to respond more fully, telling him things like “you’re gonna feel so much better about yourself once you do get it out,” and “[w]hat we talk about in here is between us.” “[I]t’s confidential between us, it’s staying between us, okay.”
As the detectives continued to ask defendant how many times he had touched H.B., defendant eventually said, “Well, first of all, when you make me write that, it say that anything that I say, it goes against my, you know.” The Hackensack defendant then repeated, “That’s a formality, that’s what it is.” Defendant stated, “[I]t’s gonna work against me,” but the Hackensack detective advised, “[W]hatever you’re saying here, it may be hard to believe that it’s not going to work against you, your cooperation is paramount.”
After defendant again expressed his reservations, the Hackensack detective added, “Anything you say, like I said, is only going to help you, it’s not going to hurt you.” Shortly thereafter, defendant said, “If I could have had a lawyer here present then it would be a different story,” and the detectives ended the interview.
On December 23, 2014, a Bergen County grand jury returned a twelvecount indictment that charged defendant with first-degree aggravated sexual assault; second-degree sexual assault; third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact; and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child.
Defendant moved to suppress his statements, but the Court denied the motion, finding defendant voluntarily waived his Miranda rights. Defendant entered a plea deal for second degree endangering the welfare of a child.
Defendant appealed and the Appellate Division reversed on a divided panel, finding Defendant did not voluntarily waive his Miranda warnings, and that Defendant produced statements as a result of detectives contradicting the Miranda Statements.
The Supreme Court of New Jersey reviewed the matter and agreed with the Appellate Division majority, finding that the detectives describing the Miranda warning as a “formality” and telling defendant his confession stays between them and could not hurt, only help, contradicted defendant’s rights and any statements made at the time must be suppressed.
This case is important to understand that statements made without properly being read your Miranda rights could be suppressed. Detectives and police try to bend the rules to draw out a confession. If you believed this has happened to you or someone you know, make sure you hire an experienced defense attorney to ensure your rights are protected and your statements are suppressed from the record.
If you have been charged with any first degree crime, second degree crime, third degree crime, fourth degree crime, disorderly persons offense, municipal ordinance violation, or traffic ticket / DUI/DWI, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney today. At Hark & Hark, we represent clients in Superior Court and municipal court for criminal matters like the present case. We vigorously defend our clients by fighting to ensure prosecutors, police, and even judges follow the law.
We offer payment plan options to clients financially incapable of providing full payment upfront. If you are facing criminal charges similar to this circumstance, please call us to discuss the matter. At Hark & Hark, we represent clients for any case in any county in New Jersey including Atlantic County, Bergen County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Essex County, Gloucester County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Salem County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County, and Warren County and any town including Barnegat Township, Barnegat Light Borough, Bay Head Borough, Beach Haven Borough, Beachwood Borough, Berkeley Township, Brick Township, Eagleswood Township, Harvey Cedars Borough, Island Heights Borough, Jackson Township, Lacey Township, Lakehurst Borough, Lakewood Township, Lavallette Borough, Little Egg Harbor Township, Long Beach Township, Manchester Township, Mantoloking Borough, Ocean Gate Borough, Ocean Township, Pine Beach Borough, Plumsted Township, Point Pleasant Beach Borough, Point Pleasant Borough, Seaside Heights Borough, Seaside Park Borough, Ship Bottom Borough, South Toms River Borough, Surf City Borough, Stafford Township, Toms River Township, and Tuckerton Borough.