Published on:

Defendant Contends his Right to Counsel was Violated


In January 1971 a liquor store was robbed by four armed men. While they were robbing the liquor store, the owner of the liquor store was shot and he died. The police who investigated the liquor store robbery arrested three of the four armed men. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the police officer charged them with murder, attempted robbery and criminal possession of a weapon. The fourth man was not found by the police. A warrant for his arrest was outstanding.

Six months after the liquor store robbery, the fourth armed man in the robbery was scheduled to be arraigned on a charge of criminal cocaine possession. As he was waiting for his scheduled arraignment and he was in the holding cell, a police officer who was investigating the liquor store robbery and murder was given an anonymous tip that the fourth gunman was the same as the accused who was scheduled to be arraigned for the criminal cocaine possession.

The police officer went to the holding pen and asked the accused in the criminal cocaine possession charge what his real name was. The accused gave his real name which was the same name given up by the three armed men who were arrested for the liquor store robbery and murder. A New York Drug Crime Lawyer said the police officer then asked the accused if he knew anything about the liquor store robbery. The accused told the police that he did not know anything about that and that it was another person who was involved in the robbery.

When the accused was finally called to be arraigned in open court for the criminal cocaine possession charge, the police officer who was investigating the liquor store robbery appeared in court carrying with him the warrant of arrest for the liquor store robbery.

The accused was represented by an attorney at the arraignment for the criminal cocaine possession. After his arraignment the judge allowed the accused to be given over to the custody of the police officer who had the warrant of arrest for the accused in the liquor store robbery. A Nassau Drug Possession Lawyer said in open court the lawyer of the accused in the drug charge said that he was advising the accused not to make any statements to the police officers who are taking him into custody.

The police officers apprised the accused of his Miranda rights and took him to the 34th precinct for booking and then they brought him to the office of the district attorney so that he can be interrogated by the district attorney. At the office of the district attorney, the accused was also apprised of his constitutional rights. After that, the district attorney pushed ahead with the interrogation of the accused. A stenographer was present in the interrogation with them and she transcribed the question and answer.

At one point the accused said that he was not so sure if the statements he had given the police officer while he was in the holding cell could go against him or would be used against him. He said that if his statements will be used against him then he would like a lawyer. A Queens Drug Possession Lawyer said the district attorney went on and explained to the accused his constitutional rights and the accused asked the district attorney if he can speak to a lawyer and the district attorney affirmed that he had a right to speak with a lawyer.

The accused made incriminating statements to the district attorney which were later used at the trial for the liquor store robbery. He moved to suppress the statements he had made to the district attorney and to the police. The trial court denied his motion. The accused then entered a plea of guilt to the lesser offense of manslaughter.

The accused appealed his conviction. He directs the attention of the Court toward the question of whether or not his right to counsel was violated for which cause the incriminating statements he made should be suppressed.

The Court held that when the lawyer for the accused in the unrelated drug charge stated that he had advised the accused not to give any statement to the police officers, the accused is considered as having been represented already by counsel. Thus, he could no longer be questioned without his attorney present. Also, his right to an attorney can no longer be waived without the presence of his counsel.

It doesn’t matter that the lawyer was retained to represent the accused for the drug charge and not for the liquor store robbery, even if the lawyer was not retained by the accused, he had already given advice to the accused. The accused had already been advised by a lawyer. His right to a lawyer should have been respected. At the time of the interrogation by the district attorney, the accused was uncertain if he needed a lawyer. This shows that the man was not sure of himself for which reason, when he asked the district attorney if he needed a lawyer, the district attorney should have acted as an officer of the court and made sure that the accused’s right to counsel be respected because the accused was vulnerable at that time.

Were you arrested and subsequently interrogated under custodial investigation? Were you apprised of your right to an attorney? You need the advice of a Bronx Drug Crime Lawyer. A Bronx Drug Crime attorney will advise you of the nature of the charge against you. Contact Stephen Bilkis and Associates today for guidance and a free consultation.

Contact Information