Criminal Defense: Suppressing Confessions

By Maynard & Sumner, LLC of Maynard & Sumner, LLC posted in Criminal Defense on Thursday, September 6, 2012.

The nature of confessions plays a critical role in the criminal defense process. The admissibility of a confession can be the difference between a guilty conviction and a dismissal.

Shamsidden Abdur-Raheem was found guilty on September 5, 2012 for the murder of his three-month-old daughter in February of 2010. At the time of event, the defendant confessed his doings to his imam, parents and the police, which were as follows: Abdur-Raheem broke into the East Orange home of the infant’s grandmother where he assaulted the grandmother, nearly killing her, and kidnapped the child. He took the child in his car, and threw her out the window into the Raritan River. In addition to murder, the defendant was also charged with the attempted murder of the infant’s grandmother, kidnapping, endangering the welfare of a child, and several accounts of assault.

Throughout the country, an individual must be read his Miranda Rights when being taken into custody. The Miranda Rights informs people of their constitutional rights at the time of their arrest. It contains a clause stating that an individual has a right to remain silent. People have the right to waive their Miranda Rights; however, the court seriously considers the circumstance under which they made that decision. In the State of New Jersey, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant has waived his Miranda Rights. The waiver does not need to be in writing. A waiver may be inferred from the particular factual circumstance following the proper administration of the Miranda warnings.

If Abdur-Raheem’s confession to the police was used in court, the prosecution would have had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant voluntarily waived his right to remain silent. Even if the prosecution could not use the defendant’s confession, the defendant’s parents could be used as witnesses against their son. Conversations between the defendant and a religious figure may be regarded as privileged; but under no circumstances is parent-child communication privileged.

If you have been arrested and made a confession, your confession may be suppressed if you either were not read your Miranda Rights or you did not sufficiently waive your right to remain silent. Consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will analyze your case’s defenses and will fight to either dismiss your matter or lower your charges.

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