Q: What are our options?
My niece is 32 yrs old facing serious charges that consist felony 3's. She has a college degree a full time job & has never been in trouble prior to this. She had an addiction that took over her life & is working desperately to change her life. Her attorney has not done much to defend her she is approaching her trial date. He has not filed any motions on her behalf & I feel there is a good chance that her Miranda rights were violated. The police who interrogated her had enough evidence to arrest her but chose to just show up at her boyfriend's home to "just talk to her". There were 3 people who showed up woke them up by banging so hard on the door it sounded like they were coming through it. They told her they had plenty of evidence & knew she committed the crime & if she lied to the officer it would result in another charge so she cooperated which we know was wrong to do. They charged her 5 wks later with far more than what she admitted to. Is it worth filing a motion to suppress
A: Its hardbto second guess another attorney, and here is why, they have discovery and we dont. They know more about the judge and officer than we do. And finally, they know more about your neice. This is why it twetwrs on the brink of an ethical breach to second guess an attorney.
What I can say is that if she isnt comfortable with her attorney she should change lawyers. She should know why he isnt filing suppression. Miranda is over used on TV, the reality is it is very limited in the circumstances which it applies. But she should ask her attorney about that. She should understand this because it is her life. If she isnt comfortable with the answers find someone else before her life is irreparably changed.
Zak Taylor Goldstein agrees with this answer
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A: It is often worth litigating a motion to suppress, but it really depends on the full circumstances of the case. This means looking at all of the discovery, speaking with the defendant, reviewing the notes of testimony from the preliminary hearing, and interviewing potential witnesses. If it can be shown that the police violated her rights during the questioning, then the statement could potentially be suppressed. However, once you begin litigating motions, whatever offer the prosecution has been made will be off the table. If the prosecution still has a strong case even without the statement, then it may make more sense to negotiate a resolution than to file a motion to suppress. If the motion could leave the Commonwealth without sufficient evidence, then it may make sense to litigate the motion, but it is all very fact specific, and only her lawyer will be able to give her the best advice about what to do.
In general, Miranda warnings are only required when the police conduct a "custodial interrogation." This means both that they asked questions reasonably calculated to obtain incriminating information AND that the defendant was in custody or the equivalent of custody. It is possible to be in custody in your own home, but it would be more difficult to prove custody if she was questioned at home than if she was questioned at the police station. Ultimately, she needs to have a real conversations with her attorney about potential defenses and outcomes. No one else will be able to tell her what to do.
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