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Defendant Contends Incriminating Evidence Being Used

On August 24, 1977, a woman reported to the police that she had been raped that morning. One month after the reported rape, the District Attorney applied to the court to compel the accused to participate in a line up in connection with the investigation of the August 1977 rape. The application was denied by the court.

A year later, on August 24, 1978, another woman from the same town reported a rape in the early morning. She said that a man who drove a Cadillac Eldorado had raped her. She memorized the license plate. The police checked the license plate and it matched the license plate of a Cadillac Eldorado which was reported stolen.

Three hours after the report of the rape, the police found the Cadillac Eldorado parked by the roadside and the accused sleeping inside the car. A New York Criminal Lawyer said he was arrested and taken to the police station. Later that morning, he was arraigned for criminal possession of stolen property. At his arraignment, he was told that he had the right to be represented by a lawyer of his own choosing and if he cannot afford one, a lawyer can be provided for him but the accused refused to be represented by a lawyer.

After his arraignment, the accused was turned over to the police precinct in the next town where the woman had earlier filed a rape report. A Nassau County Criminal Lawyer said the police in the other precinct conducted an interview during which time the accused made incriminating statements regarding the stolen car and the reported rape on August 1987 as well as the unsolved rape report from August 1977.

The accused was then indicted for two counts of rape in the first degree for the August 1977 and August 1978 rapes; he was also charged with one count of possession of stolen property in the first degree.

The accused moved for the suppression of the incriminating statements made by him regarding the two rapes and the stolen car. The trial court granted his motion and suppressed the incriminating statements he made about the stolen car and the 1978 rape charge but the trial court denied the motion to suppress the incriminating statements made by him about the 1977 rape charge.

The man was convicted of the 1977 rape and he appealed his conviction. He claimed that his incriminating statements about the 1977 rape should have also been suppressed.
The only question before the Court is whether or not the incriminating statement he made regarding the 1977 rape should have also been suppressed. The Court granted the appeal and suppressed the incriminating statements he made regarding the 1977 rape.

The Court held that the trial court was correct in suppressing the incriminating statements made by the accused during the custodial investigation consequent to his arraignment for the 1978 rape and the stolen car. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said that the Court reasoned that since the man had already been arraigned, his right to an attorney had already attached. He cannot be interrogated without a lawyer present and should he decide to give a statement, he should have signed a waiver of his right to have an attorney present. The incriminating statements were thus made in violation of his right to counsel.

The Court also held that the incriminating statements made by the accused during the custodial investigation regarding the 1977 rape should have also been suppressed as the accused’s right to counsel had also attached as early as September 1977 when the district attorney applied for an order to compel the accused to appear for a line up but the court then denied the district attorney’s application. The accused’s right to an attorney regarding the investigation of the 1977 rape had already attached as he was represented by counsel way back in September 1977 when he opposed the motion to compel him to participate in a line up. The statements made by him without the presence or advice of counsel were obtained in violation of his constitutional right to counsel.

Are you like the accused in the case who gave statements to the police during a custodial investigation that was conducted after arraignment? Your constitutional right to counsel may have been violated. A New York Rape Lawyer will tell you that you cannot be questioned without your attorney present. Call Stephen Bilkis and Associates and talk to any of their NY Rape attorneys who can represent you and advice you as to the viable defenses available to you.

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