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Not included in prosecution for Murder?

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  • Not included in prosecution for Murder?

    I was in a situation last May that was pretty interesting. I had just cleared a traffic stop and was in a parking lot filling out notes on the back of the citation. I heard what sounded like shots fired just to my north. It sounded like about 1/2 mile out, which was well within the city PD's area and far outside our traditional patrol area. I went back to writing my notes until I heard a city officer tell their dispatch that they thought the shots came from the campus I patrol. Okay, now I was thinking I needed to check this out since I was relatively close to the area.

    I rounded a corner into the bar district that borders our campus. I see a plain clothes city officer running and telling me the shots came from 2-3 blocks north. I proceed into the area and roll up on a dead body...or one that appeared dead. I called for EMS and went to go talk to a large crowd gathered about 200 feet away when I notice another body...covered with blood. I can't see a shooter anywhere so my gun comes out when I see a couple of guys arguing but I couldn't see them too well (was at night). I shined my flashlight on one of them to see a gun in hand at his side. I order him to the ground at gunpoint, which he complied. The other guy was just there freaking out with the shooter I guess...he was released not too long after my arrival. Not long after I cuffed both these guys, the city PD came in and started working the crime scene. Didn't really talk to me too much at all, which I thought was weird since I was the first to question/Mirandize the shooter. After Mirandizing him, he said he wanted his lawyer, momma, and priest since he had just killed two people. Almost a direct quote there.

    I asked the shooter what happened, he stated the two broke into his apartment so he shot them. Problem was, where the bodies were it seemed like they were running away when he shot them. The second body was just a severely injured person...who is now paralyzed from the neck down. The first was dead.

    My whole shift responded and we did an "Information report" documenting our actions. We gave this to the city sergeant and that was that. When this went to grand jury, I wasn't called. I haven't heard anything in regard to this case as far as needing to testify. I almost think they just took our report and put in it in the shreader.

    Any thoughts?

  • #2
    More than likely the def submitted a guilty plea, so there is no need in using you as a witness. I dont know where you are from in the south but here in Memphis the grand jury rarley talks to A/O's. Hell i've never been to a grand jury. Usually, the Detective handeling the case takes care of all that, all he has to do is present enough evidence to show that the def probably did it. (i.e. witness statements or the defs statement if he confessed)

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    • #3
      Originally posted by GrayW4442
      More than likely the def submitted a guilty plea, so there is no need in using you as a witness.
      Nah, trial hasn't taken place yet. Though you may have a point with the grand jury...detectives with the city PD prolly testified.
      http://justice.dentoncounty.com/isap...ack%253D327353

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      • #4
        06/16/2005 COURT SETTING (PLEA BARGAIN DATA) 07-01-05 AT 2:30 BOND HEARING

        From what I read there he is asking for a plea bargin so there will be no trial.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by GrayW4442
          06/16/2005 COURT SETTING (PLEA BARGAIN DATA) 07-01-05 AT 2:30 BOND HEARING

          From what I read there he is asking for a plea bargin so there will be no trial.
          Ahhhh, it usually has those entries (plea bargain data) for any felony case. Maybe that many plea...I dunno. I have yet to go to court, other than traffic court, in two years. Most of my cases take plea bargains.

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          • #6
            Correct if I'm misreading it but you say you mirandized him and he asked for a lawyer. Then after that you questioned him anyway and he confessed.

            My first thought was that they probably interviewed him later as well and they don't want you to go up there and testify that you mirandized him at which point he lawyered up because if you do then everything the guy said is gone and inadmissable.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by connor
              Correct if I'm misreading it, but you say you mirandized him and he asked for a lawyer. Then after that you questioned him anyway and he confessed.

              My first thought was that they probably interviewed him later as well and they don't want you to go up there and testify that you mirandized him at which point he lawyered up, because if you do, then everything the guy said is gone and inadmissable.


              My thoughts exactly. After he is in custody and asserts his right to an attorney, any statement he makes as a result of your continued questioning is inadmissable in a later criminal trial.
              "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body; but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, 'Wow! What a Ride!'"

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Twelve Volt Man
                My thoughts exactly. After he is in custody and asserts his right to an attorney, any statement he makes as a result of your continued questioning is inadmissable in a later criminal trial.
                I agree. Sounds like you F'ed up and the Agency running the investigation are trying to hide this fact.

                Hopefully you learned a lesson here. When assisting another agency, do not do more than required. You are only assisting, not running the show. You should have stopped after the suspect was in custody and just turn him over to the investigating agency. He was not your arrest to question.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Twelve Volt Man
                  My thoughts exactly. After he is in custody and asserts his right to an attorney, any statement he makes as a result of your continued questioning is inadmissable in a later criminal trial.
                  I disagree if a statement is voluntary it is admissable. He said, "After Mirandizing him, he said he wanted his lawyer, momma, and priest since he had just killed two people. Almost a direct quote there." If you ask me, I'm no lawyer, that is a spontaneous utterance, and can be used in court.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by GrayW4442
                    ...that is a spontaneous utterance, and can be used in court...

                    That is the key part, I agree. An "excited utterance" is legit.

                    It sounds like the suspect's statement about "killing two people" was essentially "blurted out at the scene." Based on dentndude2's description, the suspect's statement *should* still be admissable at court. Under what circumstances?

                    A) It was willingly made and
                    B) No police coercion was used to elicit the response from the suspect


                    In other words, there was no direct line of questioning used on the suspect at the time he made his incriminating statement in order to obtain his "confession."


                    The above is my interpretation of the scenario and is to be taken with a grain of salt.
                    Officer Down Memorial Page

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by connor
                      Correct if I'm misreading it but you say you mirandized him and he asked for a lawyer. Then after that you questioned him anyway and he confessed.
                      I can see how you made that assumption, didn't write it out too well. After placing him into cuffs, I simply asked, "What happened?" Hell, for all I knew, he just picked up the gun the shooter had used (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) after he fled the scene and this guy simply found the gun. He said the two guys tried to break into his apartment so he shot them. Knowing anything else he said would have incriminated him, I Mirandized him. After that he lawyered up and my questioning stopped. However, he did make the 'excited utterance' as he asked for his lawyer, momma, and a priest. The investigating agency didn't even both to ask me anything about him or what he said...only, look after this guy until we need him. Didn't say anything else to him but he kept saying to his friend that he just killed two people as he stood right next to me. Then the investigating agency took him away...without asking me anything he'd said.
                      Last edited by dentndude2; 06-27-2005, 05:00 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Hey, you got out of this with no one else (especially you) getting hurt. Good job.

                        If they want to run the show, I'd say let 'em. It sounds like the bad guy is going away anyway, and if they don't want you to help them, that just means less paperwork for you.

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                        • #13
                          More than likely he gave a statement to the detectives and submitted a guilty plea. You will never be summoned. However, you had some good testimony to use against him if it went to trial. (i.e. the spontaneous utterance)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by GrayW4442
                            I disagree if a statement is voluntary it is admissable. He said, "After Mirandizing him, he said he wanted his lawyer, momma, and priest since he had just killed two people. Almost a direct quote there." If you ask me, I'm no lawyer, that is a spontaneous utterance, and can be used in court.
                            That part I agree is probably admissable as you say. But what he said afterwards to you as you describe it is clearly is not admissable.

                            The best thing for you to have done would have been to cuff him up and stand there. Definitely don't mirandize him. Perhaps make a statement to the effect "your being detained until we get this sorted out." Ask zero questions. Odds are he will make more spontaneous statements. Say things like "Were waiting here til we figure out what happened." Its not a question, rather its a statement. Again odds are he'll say something to that. By not mirandizing you haven't put into his head that he better shut up and anything he says will be admissable.

                            And where this wasn't your agency you shouldn't have been mirandizing to begin with. Let the actual agency with jurisdiction handle it. They probably didn't want to mirandize him until they were in a setting where they controlled the miranda warning. There is nothing that says you have to mirandize anyone and you can screw up a case just as much if not more by doing it at the wrong time. My dept almost lost a murder case once because of a screwed up miranda that tossed the whole defendants confession. Luckily while booking the guy I tricked him in a way which was admissable. He was only 18 and his mother called for him at the jail. I picked up the phone and said "your moms on the phone, want to talk to her." He walks over and with me sitting next to him tells his mother everything he did. So we got a second confession.
                            Last edited by connor; 06-27-2005, 07:34 PM.

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                            • #15
                              I agree with conner 100% In Memphis we dont mirandize on the street level at all, that is a big no no. In the above situation I would have "detained" him until I could figure out what was going on. When I determined he was involved I would have taken him into "custody" and had the detectives take over the investigation. Sometimes the worst thing you can do is mirandize someone.

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