CAL in the Courts

Denial of Suppression of Statements Leads to Reversal

After arresting our client, P.F., for murder, detectives questioned him at the station house.  At the Huntley hearing, a detective testified that he gave P.F. Miranda warnings and P.F. stated he understood them.  The detectives then elicited a statement from him.  Several hours later, P.F. was questioned by an ADA on videotape.  Upon P.F.’s being given Miranda warnings, the videotaped showed, P.F. clearly did not understand that a lawyer would be appointed for him if he could not afford one.  The Huntley court suppressed the videotaped statement but refused to suppress the earlier one at the station house because the earlier Miranda waiver went smoothly.  The Appellate Division reversed, given P.F.’s fundamental misunderstanding of his right to counsel.