On March 28, 1982, a young woman was alone in her apartment in Nassau County New York, when an assailant broke in to her apartment. A New York Lawyer said the assailant gagged her and put a belt around her neck. The young woman died that night due to asphyxiation as a result of the strangulation caused by the gag and belt. Her body was found the following day. The detective assigned to the case discovered that a man who was known to be a burglar of the type that had broken into the woman’s apartment, was known to her.
On March 31, 1982, the detective went to 46 Elm Avenue. He had information that the suspect lived there. He spoke to one of the suspect’s neighbors and left his business card with them to have him call. At 9:25 in the morning April 1st, the suspect called the detective ad agreed to meet with them on April 2nd; The suspect did not show up for the meeting. Upon looking into the suspect’s whereabouts more closely, the detective discovered that the suspect was on parole and had been at the time of the murder. He notified the suspect’s parole officer. The fact that the suspect had been requested to contact the police on April 1st and that he had not notified his parole officer was in essence a parole violation that the suspect could be arrested for.
On April 3rd, the detective met with the parole officer and the parole officer informed the detective that he had been unsuccessful in locating the suspect at his last known address. The police informed the parole officer that they had been informed by the suspect’s girlfriend that he had moved out of that apartment and that she did not know where he had moved to, but that he had not committed a gun crime.
On April 8th, the suspect contacted his parole officer and told him that he had hospitalized himself in a residential drug program in New York City. A Bronx Criminal Lawyer said the parole officer instructed him to report to the parole office on April 12. He then contacted the detectives and informed them that the suspect would be there at around ten in the morning on April 12th. The suspect did arrive at the parole office and he had a companion with him. The parole officer interviewed him for several minutes in reference to the change of address and drug treatment programs in violation of his parole. When he was convinced that the suspect was not going to abide by his parole guidelines and inform him that he had been contacted by the police, the parole officer arrested him and handcuffed him to a chair. He informed him that he was being arrested for violation of his parole. The parole officer had not obtained a parole violation warrant prior to making this arrest.
A Manhattan Criminal Lawyer said at about eleven in the morning approximately 30 minutes after the parole officer had handcuffed the suspect to the chair, the detectives arrived. As soon as they arrived, the handcuffs were removed from the suspect and he agreed to cooperate with the detectives by going to their precinct to answer some questions about the murder. His companion was allowed to go with them and they left the parole office. The parole officer later testified that he had decided that his parole violation warrant was not necessary any longer since he changed his mind about arresting the suspect once he agreed to be cooperative in the police investigation. He advised that he had not obtained a warrant prior to the suspect’s arrival at his office because he had not made up his mind that he was going to arrest the man. If the suspect had come in to his office and freely notified the parole officer that he had been contacted by the police, then the parole officer would not have placed him under arrest.
The suspect was taken to the police station and asked about where he had been on the night of the murder. He gave a questionable account of his whereabouts. He was asked to take a polygraph test, which he agreed to. At around 12:50 P.M., he was taken to a different detective to be questioned about the case who was a polygraph examiner. The polygraph examiner informed the suspect of his rights under the Miranda ruling and informed the suspect that the results of the polygraph test were not admissible as evidence. He did tell him that any incriminating statements that he made during the test could be admitted into evidence. The suspect agreed to take the polygraph test after acknowledging freely and voluntarily waiving his rights.
Following the polygraph examination, the detective informed him that he was convinced that he had lied and was responsible for the murder of the woman. They spoke for one hour and the detective spent much of that time discussing with the suspect the benefits f confronting one’s own guilt and confessing.
At around 5 P.M. the suspect was taken back to the Homicide Squad Room where he was read his rights again and again waived them. At about 6:25 in the evening, after an hour and 25 minutes of interrogation, the suspect looked at the detective, began to cry, and admitted that he was responsible for killing the girl. He followed his initial admission of guilt with several oral and written confessions of the events of that night. He was formally arrested and charged with the murder. He was arrested and indicted in Nassau County Grand Jury for three felony counts of murder in the second degree, One felony count of robbery in the first degree, and on felony count of burglary in the first degree. He made several pretrial motions to suppress his statements to police and his confessions.
His argument for suppression was that he was illegally arrested without a warrant by the parole officer and that any statements following this illegal arrest should be excluded under the Exclusionary Rule as Fruit of the Poisonous Tree. In other words, anything that happens as a result of an illegal action of the police, either a search, seizure, or arrest is inadmissible in court because of the initial illegal action. There are several exceptions to the Exclusionary Rule. However, the court ruled that the Exclusionary Rule is not applicable in this case because the arrest was valid.
The court ruled that the parole officer had not made up his mind about arresting the suspect until he appeared in his office and did not take steps to rectify the problems that put him in violation. Because that was the case, the parole officer did not have to have the warrant in hand at the time that he placed him under arrest. They further decided that even if the arrest had been illegal, there was ample time for that illegality to have dissipated by the time that the suspect made his confessions.
Since he was not handcuffed, and his friend was allowed to accompany him, the court ruled that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would believe that they were no longer under arrest. Because the arrest that was in question was removed, there is no reason for the taint to have lingered. Besides, the suspect was Mirandized two times after that and repeatedly waived his rights.
It is important that anyone who has been arrested for a criminal offense contact a Nassau County Criminal Lawyer. A Nassau County Arrest Lawyer can advise you of your rights and help you decide if you want to make any statements.