A man, in possession of a gun, accosted a registered nurse who was on her way home from working at a hospital. He assaulted the nurse who was severely injured. Seven months later, the man committed a similar crime but in the territorial jurisdiction of Queens County. In relation to the second assault he committed in Queens, the police arrested him.
A New York Criminal Lawyer said the arrest was effected while the man was in the apartment of his girlfriend. When the police arrested him, the man was handcuffed and was escorted from the building. While they were escorting him, the man and his girlfriend had a conversation. The girlfriend said that she could call an attorney for her boyfriend. The boyfriend agreed and gave his girlfriend a specific instruction to call his lawyer.
When the police reached the car, they read the man the Miranda warnings. The police detective asked the man if he understood his rights and he declared that he understood them. The police detective then asked if he was willing to talk to the detective even without his lawyer. The man agreed.
The man gave a statement to the police detective about the crime he committed in Queens County. He denied that he shot the woman. The police then asked him what he did with the gun he used when he committed the assault. The man informed the police that he had thrown the gun away six months before.
The man’s girlfriend called a lawyer who arrived at the police station. He represented the man when he was made to stand at a lineup later that day.
The man was convicted by a jury of attempted murder (for having shot the woman in Queens with the gun in his possession), assault in the second degree and criminal impersonation.
The man appealed his conviction claiming that the statement he made to the police during the custodial investigation was in violation of his constitutional right to have a lawyer present.
The only question before the Supreme Court was whether or not the custodial investigation conducted by the police violated his constitutional rights because he had already asked for a lawyer and should not have been interrogated.
The Supreme Court ruled that the man’s conviction should be overturned and reversed as the evidence presented against him during the trial were obtained in violation of the man’s constitutional rights.
The Supreme Court held that when the man told his girlfriend to call his lawyer at the time that he was arrested he had already requested the presence of a lawyer of his own. A Long Island Criminal Lawyer said he should not have been subjected to custodial investigation or interrogation anymore by the police detectives until his lawyer appeared.
When the man waived his right to remain silent, he waived his right without the presence of the counsel he had requested. The police had no right to question him at all.
The police officers claim that the custodial investigation conducted was about a different crime committed in the past in Nassau County and not the crime for which he was arrested in Queens. The Court held that it didn’t matter what the interrogation was all about, for a past crime or for a present crime committed, the police had no right to interrogate him.
At the trial, the police officer who conducted the custodial investigation was called to testify. He testified that the interrogation was not about the crime for which he was arrested in Queens but for the crime he committed in Nassau and for which he was standing trial. The police officer also testified that the man admitted to possession of a gun and use of the gun in the commission of the crime. The man objected to this part of the testimony of the police officer and orally moved for a mistrial.
The Court ruled that the testimony should have been suppressed and the motion for mistrial should have been granted for the testimony prejudiced the jury against the defendant because it showed the man’s disposition to crime.
The Court concluded that these two errors of the trial court judge were reversible errors. The Court ordered a new trial.
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