Switch to ADA Accessible Website
Orlando Criminal Lawyer

Florida Court Upholds Murder Conviction, Finds Defendant Made “Unequivocal” Waiver Of Miranda Rights

Keep_Quiet

The police are required to inform you of your Miranda rights before they interrogate you. These rights include the ability to refuse to answer any questions and/or speak with an attorney. It is common practice for the police to ask a suspect if they wish to “voluntarily” waive these rights and answer questions. If the suspect answers “no,” then the interrogation must cease.

If you find yourself in this situation, it is crucial that you clearly and ambiguously invoke your Miranda rights. If you give a vague or unclear answer, the officer is required to ask for clarification. But keep in mind, once you say “yes” to waiving your rights, the police are not required to ask you again–and any information that you do volunteer could be used against you in court.

A recent decision from the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal, Petit v. State, offers a cautionary tale on this point. In this case, a jury found the defendant guilty of committing first-degree murder. The crime occurred at a Broward County nightclub in 2015.

After the police arrested the defendant, a detective conducted an interrogation. The detective asked the defendant if he wished to make a statement. In response, the defendant “can be seen placing his hands together and making a shrug-like gesture with no verbal response,” according to the Fourth District’s opinion. The detective then asked for clarification: “Knowing and understand[ing] your rights, do you want to talk to me and have a conversation about why you’re here, why I got an arrest warrant for you?” The defendant answered, “Yes.”

At trial, the defendant moved to suppress the information he gave to the detective during the rest of the interrogation. The defendant argued his initial, nonverbal gestures were a sufficient invocation of Miranda and required the detective to cease questioning. The trial court denied the motion to suppress, and as previously noted, the jury found the the defendant guilty of murder.

The Fourth District upheld the jury’s verdict. Like the trial judge, the appellate court said the detective acted properly in asking a “follow up” question after the defendant initially “non-verbal response when asked if he wanted to speak.” Once the defendant gave an “unequivocal” yes to the follow-up, anything he said was fair game. As far as the Court was concerned, the defendant understood his Miranda rights and chose to waive them.

Contact Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer Jose Baez Today

A police interrogation is an inherently stressful experience. Many people feel pressured to speak to the police even when informed of their right to remain silent. But you should not be afraid to invoke your rights–including the right to counsel. If you need legal advice or representation from an experienced Orlando criminal defense attorney, contact the Baez Law Firm today to schedule an initial consultation.

Source:

scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=11039873485213292098

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
Miami

Miami Office

1200 Brickell Avenue #1410
Miami, FL 33131
Office: 305-999-5100
Fax: 305-999-5111
Orlando

Orlando Office

23 South Osceola Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801
Office: 407-705-2626
Fax: 407-705-2625

Email Us

Fields Marked * Are required

DISCLAIMER: Completing and submitting this form or otherwise merely contacting The Baez Law Firm or any individual at the firm will not establish an attorney/client relationship. Our firm cannot represent you until we determine that there would be no conflict of interest and that we are otherwise able to accept representation of your case. Please do not send any information or documents until a formal attorney/client relationship has been established through an interview with an attorney and you have been given authorization in the form of an engagement letter with The Baez Law Firm. Any information or documents sent via this form or otherwise prior to your receipt of an engagement letter will not be treated as confidences, secrets, or protected information of any nature. Submitting information regarding your potential case will not bar The Baez Law Firm from representing or continuing to represent a person or entity whose interest are adverse to your in condition with your case.

protected by reCAPTCHA Privacy - Terms
Please review the highlighted fields. They are required.
DISCLAIMER: This website contains information about The Baez Law Firm that includes testimonial statements from persons who are familiar with the firm's services. The testimonials shown are not necessarily representative of every person's experience with us. Testimonials from every client are not provided. As no two situations or persons are identical, the facts and circumstances of your situation may differ from those for which testimonials are shown. This website also includes information about some of the past results that we have obtained for our clients. Not all results are provided, and the results shown are not necessarily representative of all results obtained by us. No two situation are exactly alike; every person's situation is unique and the outcome for each person depends on the individual facts.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
MileMark Media - Practice Growth Solutions

© 2015 - 2021 Baez Law Firm. All rights reserved.
This law firm website and legal marketing are managed by MileMark Media.

Contact Form Tab Contact Form Tab