Generally, all attorneys and most laypeople are familiar with the Miranda warnings. “You have the right to remain silent… You have the right to an attorney…” and so on. On TV shows, a defendant might avoid prosecution because the police neglected to give him a proper Miranda warning. In real life, though, the issues are often less black-and-white. What if the police question you, then give you a Miranda warning, and then re-question you about the incriminating statements you made before the warning? These types of non-clear-cut situations point to the importance of making sure you have a knowledgeable Maryland criminal defense attorney on your side to make sure that your constitutional rights are fully protected in your case.
A recent case from Anne Arundel County demonstrated how the timing of a Miranda warning can make a big difference. The events leading up to the trial started with the police executing a search warrant at a residence where Aundrey lived. Aundrey was also a subject of the police investigation, but he wasn’t at the home. Officers stopped him a short time later driving on a nearby road. The police asked him several questions and eventually took him back to the home.
Back at the residence, officers placed Aundrey, his mother, and a sister on a couch and gave them all Miranda warnings. The officers continued their search of the house, finding drugs, drug paraphernalia, and a gun contained in a safe. The officers found these items because Aundrey told them he had a gun he was holding for a friend, and he also had some marijuana.
The state eventually charged Aundrey with two drug possession charges and a weapons charge. At the trial, Aundrey’s testimony and that of the police were mostly similar, except for one important difference. The police asserted that Aundrey only told them about the gun and the marijuana after receiving his Miranda warning. Aundrey’s version of events was that he told the officers about the gun and drugs twice – once after the police gave him a Miranda warning, and once before.
Aundrey was eventually convicted. After an appeal, the accused man got a second chance. The law creates certain rules that limit the way that police officers can question suspects and deliver Miranda warnings. Specifically, the law prohibits the police from engaging in an impermissible “two-step” process. This happens when law enforcement intentionally questions a suspect prior to a Miranda warning with the goal of obtaining an incriminating statement and then, once they have obtained that potentially incriminating statement, giving the suspect a Miranda warning, re-asking the question, and getting the suspect to repeat the incriminating statement.
This meant that Aundrey’s case was headed back to the trial court for both sides to present more evidence. The accused man’s task was to show that the police used the forbidden two-step interrogation process. The prosecution’s task was to show that the delay in giving the Miranda warning was not intentional.
To make sure you or your loved one has a defense that fully protects your constitutional rights, reach out to experienced Maryland drug crime attorney Anthony A. Fatemi. This office has been providing effective defense representation to the accused in Maryland for many years. To learn more, contact us at 301-519-2801 or via our online form.
More blog posts:
Maryland Man Facing Gun Charges Secures Reversal of Conviction Due to an Officer’s Improper Search, Maryland Criminal Lawyer Blog, Oct. 5, 2017
Improper Disallowance of Son’s Testimony Violated a Maryland Man’s Right to Present His ‘Full Defense’, Maryland Criminal Lawyer Blog, Sept. 26, 2017