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Defendant Appeals Alleging a Miranda Violation


People v. W.

2018 Slip Op 05950

Aug. 29, 2018


The defendant appealed from a Supreme Court judgment, where she was convicted of 2nd-degree murder. The defendant appeals due to an omnibus motion to suppress a statement made to law enforcement officials.

The court found that it was enough to disprove W’s justification defense and rule the defendant guilty of second-degree murder, beyond a reasonable doubt (PL 35.15[2][6]. The court conducted an independent review of the evidence, we respect the jury’s conclusions (Peo. V. Mateo 2 NY2d 383). The court concluded that the guilty verdict wasn’t against the weight of the evidence presented (Peo. V. Romero 7 NY3d 633).

The Appellate Court agreed with the Supreme Court in that they were correct in denying the suppressions of a statement made by the defendant. The defendant waived her Miranda rights (Miranda v. Arizona 384 US 436). The defendant made a voluntary statement (a 30-minute videotape). The interview was stopped so that the defendant could compose herself. Questioning resumed the next morning. In the second interview, the defendant said that she had stabbed the defendant and taken the victim’s wallet, keys and cell phone.

The statements made in the morning were admitted to trial. If the defendant had exercised her right to remain silent the prior evening, the request would have to be honored (Peo. V. Ferro 63 NY2d 316, 322). Any more questioning would have to stop. If she had invoked her right, she could have been questioned later, but only if an extended period of time had passed and the police had pre-warned the defendant (Michigan v. Mosely 423 US 96). But because the defendant had not exercised her right to remain silent and remained continuously in custody, the police are able to continue questioning for a reasonable time (Peo. V. Legere 81 AD3d 748, Peo. V. Holland 268 AD2d 536).

The Appellate Court agrees with the Supreme Court determination to allow evidence of a prior uncharged crime regarding theft and use of the victim’s property because it contributed to the circumstantial evidence of the victim’s death (Peo. V. Conroy 102 AD3d 979). The court’s limiting instruction was enough to prevent any possible prejudice (Peo. V. Economy 156 AD2d 459).

The court agreed that it was improper for the Supreme Court to condition the defendant’s ability to interview a prosecution witness, but this error was considered harmless.

The defendant also argued that she was deprived of a fair trial because the victim’s 911 calls were admitted as evidence (CPL 470.05 [2] were without merit. The Supreme Court admitted the recording as the presence of the sense impression exception to the hearsay rule (Peo. V. Vasquez 88 NY2d 561).

The defendant also argued that certain comments made during the prosecution deprived her of a fair trial. Their remarks were not so egregious, and the error was harmless (Peo. V. Adams 309 AD2d 808).

If you have a criminal charge against you, be sure that you take prompt action to ensure that your rights are protected. Contact Stephen Bilkis and Associates for guidance and a free consultation. Call them today at 1-800-NYNYLAW.

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