The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects people from incriminating themselves. In Miranda v. Arizona, the United States Supreme Court interpreted the Fifth Amendment to require that a criminal suspect be verbally advised of their right to remain silent and to be represented by an attorney prior to being questioned by the police. If a criminal defendant chooses to waive their Miranda rights, however, any information that they provide law enforcement agents can be used against them. Recently, a Florida court discussed what evidence is needed to demonstrate a voluntary and knowing waiver of Miranda rights in a matter in which the defendant appealed his conviction for first-degree murder and other crimes. If you are accused of a violent offense, it is in your best interest to meet with a Tampa violent offense defense lawyer to discuss your rights.
The Facts of the Case
It is alleged that the defendant walked into a home in which an eighteen-year-old and five other children were sleeping. One of the children recognized the defendant from a social media website. The defendant fired a gun multiple times, striking the eighteen-year-old and two of the children; the eighteen-year-old died from his wounds. The police arrested the defendant and transported him to a homicide office.
It is reported that the defendant advised the police that he could read and write English and was not under the influence of drugs. He was then given a form listing his constitutional rights and verbally advised of his right not to make statements or answer questions and of his right to an attorney. He stated he understood his rights and answered the detective’s questions. The defendant was charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and four other crimes. He moved to suppress the statements he made during the initial investigation, arguing he did not validly waive his Miranda rights. The trial court denied his motion, and a jury convicted him as charged. He then appealed. Continue Reading ›