Milwaukee County carrying a concealed weapon case dismissed: inadmissible evidence
When Are Miranda Rights Required?
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
Sounds familiar, right? TV and movie police officers say this all the time, and people think they are entitled to their Miranda rights as soon as they are arrested. Under the law, someone is only entitled to their Miranda rights if they are in custody and being interrogated.
In a Milwaukee County case, criminal defense attorney Julia Westley successfully argued that her client was entitled to his Miranda rights and that any statements he made were to be excluded from the state’s case against her client. Without the statements made by the client, the State of Wisconsin dismissed his case altogether because they could not prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Police Did Not Read the Client His Miranda Rights
Someone called the police and alleged our client and his friends were selling drugs from their car in a parking lot. When police arrived on the scene, they asked all of the subjects to get out of the vehicle. Police asked the client and his friends whether there were drugs or firearms in the vehicle and then proceeded to search each person.
In the midst of a search of our client, another officer found a firearm in the back seat of the car. The client was placed into handcuffs. The officer proceeded to ask the client who the gun belonged to and how he got the gun, among other questions. The client was cooperative with police and answered their questions. He ended up getting charged with Carrying a Concealed Weapon; he did not have a license to do so.
Miranda Warning Should Have Been Issued
As Attorney Westley argued in the motion hearing, once her client was put in handcuffs and not free to leave, he was considered to be in custody. The questions of whose gun it was, where he got the gun, etc., were interrogative questions, and because he was in custody while being interrogated, he was entitled to his Miranda rights. The judge agreed with Attorney Westley and suppressed all the statements her client made to the police once they put him in handcuffs.
Without this evidence, the prosecutor dismissed the case!