Do Not Be Tricked Into Speaking to Law Enforcement: a Recent Example

hotlightOne of the first things that will occur prior to or immediately after an arrest is an attempt by a law enforcement officer to wheedle a statement, admission or confession out of the defendant.  After all, this is the time when the individual is at his most vulnerable and often not thinking clearly – which leads usually to an attempt to try to talk one’s way out of the arrest.  Of course, all the talking in the world will not negate the arrest and instead will further the chances of a conviction due to the statement provided.  Adding to the trauma of an arrest is the fact that law enforcement officers have been known to bend the law when attempting to secure a damaging admission from the prisoner.  In a recent case of mine, the officers did just that while conspiring with the prosecutor to deny my client his counsel of choice.  Even more shocking: the arrested was a detective with the NYPD.  The lesson to be learned here is that no matter how knowledgeable of the criminal justice system a defendant may be, law enforcement will still try to get an admission out of him to cripple a defense and ensure a conviction.  While hiring the best New York criminal defense attorney you can upon arrest is a start, keeping your mouth shut no matter what is dangled before you can be just as important to the ultimate success of your case.

Law Enforcement Will Do All It Can to Trick You Into Making Damaging Admissions 

My client, a Queens detective, was arrested on charges of tipping off Karaoke bars about police raids in exchange for bribes.  Instead of being immediately taken to a police precinct for fingerprints and processing, he was secretly brought to a hotel in Queens and interrogated for four hours – without the benefit of an attorney which he had repeatedly requested.  Even worse, when he requested his police union’s attorney he was told that was not a good idea because that lawyer would discourage him from becoming a cooperating witness.  Instead, my client was handed the Yellow Pages and told to call an attorney he could find in there.  And who provided this advice?   The very prosecutor on the case, who hopes to convict my client.  Incredibly, this illegal interrogation, conflict of interest of the prosecutor and interference with my client’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel was partially recorded by law enforcement so there can be no real dispute as to what occurred that day.  Of course, as anyone who deals with law enforcement in Queens, this sort of chicanery has been going on there for decades.

It is Not Easy To Establish That You Were Tricked Into Speaking to Law Enforcement

Of course, statements which are made during a custodial interrogation are inadmissible unless a suspect has been first been given his Miranda warnings.  Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444 (1966).  However, in determining whether the suspect is in custody at the time of the interrogation, courts will look at all the surrounding circumstances; this is an objective inquiry which determines whether a) a reasonable person would have thought he was free to leave the police encounter at issue and b) whether there is a formal arrest or restraint on freedom of movement of the degree associated with a formal arrest.  United States v. Faux, No. 15-1282 (2d Cir. 2016).  In the Faux case, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit determined that the targets of the two hour interrogation were not in custody and, therefore, statements provided without first being provided Miranda warnings were admissible even though the couple questioned, who were in the process of leaving on vacation, were told instead they were “not going anywhere” while at least ten agents swarmed and searched their home, the wife’s cell phone was taken by law enforcement, the couple was separated and followed by agents as they went to the bathroom and to the bedroom to retrieve a sweater, and were never told they were free to leave or had a choice not to answer questions.  What caused the appeals court to determine that the interrogation was proper without the benefit of Miranda warnings?  Because the couple was told they were not under arrest.

Call One of the Top New York Criminal Lawyers If You Are Arrested or Even Taken in for Questioning

As you can see, law enforcement will go to great lengths to elicit damaging admissions from suspects, including intimidating them into thinking they must comply with requests for questioning.  In order to avoid any scenario which will ultimately harm your case and possibly cost you your freedom, there is one simple choice to make when approached by law enforcement for questioning: ask for and insist upon your right to counsel.  Call the best criminal attorney you know or can find; this truth holds whether you are picked up in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Staten Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut or anyplace which is governed by the United States Constitution.  Call the New York criminal attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman at (212) 581-1001 to discuss your case today.  We have decades of experience in handling the most serious of federal and state criminal cases and can help you defend yourself and protect your rights at the scariest moment of your life.