When it comes to “Miranda Warnings” the basics are simple: Any time you are legally “in custody” and authorities wish to question you, the following must first be advised:
(1) You have the right to remain silent (2) Anything you say can be used against you (3) You have the right to an attorney (4) If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.
In October, a California Court of Appeal in People v. Gonzalez clarified when authorities can and cannot ask questions to a suspect after the suspect has invoked his Miranda rights.
After Christopher Gonzalez was charged with attempted murder he was taken to a Sheriff’s Station.
Once at the sheriff’s station, Detectives interviewed Christopher. Christopher initially asked if he could speak with his parole agent Michael Lum. The detectives stated they needed to speak with Christopher first. They asked him some general intake questions. One detective then read Christopher his Miranda rights. Christopher stated he understood his rights and told the detectives he and Daniel had some problems because Daniel was “talking some stuff” to him.
As the detectives continued to question Christopher about the incident, Christopher unambiguously invoked his right to speak with an attorney. Detective Navarro replied, “No worries. No worries.” Detective Navarro then asked Christopher if he wanted to speak with his parole agent.
Detective Licudine offered to leave the room if Christopher wanted to speak with the parole agent. The detective told Christopher that she (the detective) would not be able to speak with him if he invoked his constitutional rights. Christopher responded, “Yeah, I can talk to him.”
Agent Lum was at the station because the detectives asked him to arrange a parole hold on Christopher. He spoke to Christopher for about 10 minutes. During this time the detectives were not in the room.
The record shows Agent Lum encouraged Christopher to cooperate with detectives and to tell the truth, and allegedly told Christopher, “talking about your side of the story helps me out, and helps yourself out.” The record further shows that when Christopher expressed concern about going back to prison and getting the maximum punishment, Agent Lum stated, “so help yourself out, for yourself. Help yourself out. I don’t want to write the report that says subject was uncooperative with the . . . investigating detectives.” Parole agent recommends maximum in-custody time. I don’t want to write that.” Immediately after meeting with Agent Lum, Christopher changed his mind and agreed to speak with the detectives without counsel present.
After Gonzalez was convicted of attempted murder, he appealed the court judgment. One of his contentions was that his parole agent violated Miranda by inducing his responses to questions after he had invoked his right to remain silent.
The Court of Appeals indicated in pertinent part: “If the defendant is given to understand that he might reasonably expect benefits in the nature of more lenient treatment at the hands of the police, prosecution or court in consideration of making a statement, even a truthful one, such motivation is deemed to render the statement involuntary and inadmissible. . . .’
If you believe that your constitutional rights were violated during or after your arrest you need to contact the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Wallin & Klarich. Our law firm can help determine how to properly protect your legal rights and file the correct motions to ask the court to suppress evidence against you. If successful this could lead to your case being dismissed. Call us at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation or visit us at www.wklaw.com. With offices throughout the Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, San Diego and Orange Counties we are available wherever you happen to live. We will be there when you call.