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When Cops Stray from Miranda, Pounce on it

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Ernesto Miranda (r). (Image from State Department’s website).

Today, Maryland’s highest court affirmed the suppression of a murder suspect’s statement to the police, where the statement followed a botched Miranda warning. Maryland v. Luckett, ___ Md. App. ___ (April 14, 2010). The Maryland Court of Appeals concluded:

We hold that a suspect is not properly informed of his or her Miranda rights when a statement of those rights, however correct the statement may be, is nullified by other incorrect statements concerning those rights. In that event, the Miranda advisements are constitutionally infirm, a purported “waiver” of those rights is constitutionally invalid, and any statement the police obtain from the suspect during the ensuing interrogation violates Miranda. Here, Detective Barba misadvised Respondent of his right to counsel under Miranda, rendering invalid his purported Miranda waiver and requiring suppression of Respondent’s post-“waiver” statement to the detective. The Circuit Court’s suppression ruling was correct, as was the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals affirming that order.


Luckett affirms the Maryland Court of Special Appeals’ opinion that upheld the suppression of Mr. Luckett’s statements. Jon Katz.