Monday, November 18, 2013

Interesting Case Argued Before the Supreme Court Recently: Can the Police Promise Leniency for Giving a Confession?

This Blog Was Prepared and Published to the People as a Public Service by the Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr.

In a recent case argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court the question arose can the police promise PTI or leniency in return for Waiving of the suspects Miranda rights and a subsequent confession?

In State v. Hreha, Mr. Hreha argued that his confession for printing and distributing bias intimidation material at work should be thrown out because the detectives that interviewed him made promises that he would be released without having to spend the weekend in jail, that he would most likely be given pretrial intervention, PTI, for his cooperation.

Although there is no per se rule that a promise of PTI invalidates a confession, such a promise is a factor that the court can consider in determining whether the confession was voluntary.

Another factor in this case is that fact that there were two interviews, first one not being recorded while the second one was.

It will be interesting to see the outcome of this case noting the increasingly conservative nature of our Supreme Court.  However, based on the facts of this case the court should suppress the confession since anytime false promises are made to a suspect his or her decision making promises are influenced by said promises.  Hence, hence the confession is not voluntarily, but the results of law enforcement lies and misrepresentations.

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Quote of the Day: “The state’s lawyers let their zeal for victory in this case outweigh their responsibility to be fair.”

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