In Miranda v. Arizona, 384, U.S. 436 (1966), the United States Supreme Court held that a person questioned by law enforcement officers after being "taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way" must first "be warned that he has a right to remain silent, that any statement he does make may be used as evidence against him, and that he has a right to the presence of an attorney, either retained or appointed." Stansbury v. California, 511 U.S. 318, 322 (1994)(quoting Miranda, 384 U.S. at 444).

Kelly & Nolan recently represented a client who was charged with aggravated manslaughter, a crime of the first degree punishable by up to 20 years in prison, in addition to other charges. As part of its case, the prosecution intended to introduce into evidence statements made by our client to detectives investigating the matter. The detectives escorted our client to a police station and questioned him in a recording-ready interrogation room. Upon reviewing the circumstances surrounding our client's statements, we recognized a major defect with how the detectives obtained those statements. The statements sought to be introduced as evidence by the prosecution were made by our client before he was administered his Miranda warnings. Therefore on behalf of our client, Kelly & Nolan argued that our client's statement should be suppressed (excluded) from evidence considered at the time of trial.

To summarize, we argued that since our client was a suspect and in custody while in the interrogation room, he should have been informed of his Miranda rights. We argued that our client's statements were made before he was given his Miranda warnings, and that those statements should have prompted the detectives to administer the warnings. Furthermore, we argued that our client's post Miranda statements should be suppressed since the Miranda warnings, administered when they were, could not have functioned effectively in allowing our client to protect himself against self-incrimination.

After a two days of testimony and extensive legal argument, the judge granted the motion and suppressed our client's statements in their entirety.  The statements may not, therefore, be used as evidence against our client.

If you become the target of a criminal investigation in Monmouth or Ocean Counties, or the police attempt to question you in connection with any official investigation, contact an experienced, local criminal defense attorney immediately.  An attorney versed in criminal law is in the best position to advise you of your constitutional rights, and help protect you from police misconduct.