Did you admit to something you wish you had not? For example, maybe you admitted to being at a crime scene, or maybe you told the police that you encouraged someone else in the commission of a crime. The prosecutor can use these statements against you and possibly get a conviction based on your words alone.
Fortunately, it is possible in some situations to un-ring a bell. For example, you might be able to suppress your incriminating statements if the police did not give you required Miranda warnings or if they coerced the statement out of you.
Anyone who has watched a crime show can probably recite the four Miranda warnings by heart:
- You have the right to remain silent
- Anything you say can be used against you
- You have the right to an attorney present
- If you cannot afford an attorneys, one will be provided for you
These warnings come from a 1966 Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona. If the police fail to give you any of these warnings before starting a custodial interrogation, you can ask the judge to suppress the statements. This means the prosecutor cannot admit these statements in their case in chief. However, the state could use these statements to impeach you if you choose to testify and say something different than what you said in the interrogation.
Due Process and Coerced Confessions
The Due Process clause also prohibits the admission of a confession if it was not voluntary. In short, the judge will need to determine whether the police coerced a confession out of you, such that its veracity is severely compromised.
One example of a coerced confession is one where the police beat it out of you. Any kind of physical coercion, including arm twisting, probably makes the confession unconstitutional. If so, the prosecutor cannot use the statements at all—not even for impeachment purposes.
Few police officers beat a confession out of suspects anymore. Nevertheless, coercion can also be psychological. A judge will look at a variety of factors, such as:
- The age of the suspect
- The suspect’s physical, mental, and emotional state
- Whether the police offered the suspect food
- The suspect’s familiarity with the criminal justice system
- The duration of the interrogation
- The location of the interrogation
For example, a teenage suspect who is interrogated for hours at a police station has a strong claim that his or her confession was involuntary. Similarly, a diabetic who is not given sugar or insulin but is questioned for hours on end also has a legitimate claim.
Claw Back Incriminating Statements with the Help of a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer
Attorney Jonathan Minkus has represented thousands of criminal defendants over a 30-year career. As a former Assistant States Attorneys for Cook County, he knows how prosecutors think and can stay one step ahead of them. When your liberty is on the line, why not hire the best?
To schedule a free consultation with the Law Offices of Jonathan Minkus, please call 847-966-0300.