The Police Can Lawfully Use Dirty Tactics in Michigan

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Rules that police can trick defendants into incriminating themselves even though they have asked for an attorney.

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Mckinney v. Ludwick

The United States District Courts in Michigan are within the Sixth Federal Circuit. In McKinney v. Ludwick, No. 10-1669 (Aug. 19, 2011), the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals found that the Michigan Court of Appeals had not unreasonably applied Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), and Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477 (1981), in concluding that although the petitioner had invoked his right to counsel, his initiation of further contact with police rendered his subsequent confession admissible. Unfortunately, federal and Michigan law holds that police can legally trick suspects in their custody or under investigation.

Here is the Story about How Police Can Legally Trick Suspects

The sequence of events was as follows: During his initial questioning, the petitioner told police that he wanted to see a lawyer, ceasing the interrogation. Then, as the interrogating officer was leaving, he told the petitioner that he could face the death penalty if the case were prosecuted federally. The following day, the petitioner re-initiated contact with the police, eventually making incriminating statements.

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The Ruling – Police Can Legally Lie, Cheat, and Trick with Impunity

The Michigan Court of Appeals found that the officer’s statement about the death penalty “did amount to an impermissible interrogation” but that “the coercive effect of this interrogation had subsided by the time McKinney asked to speak with the officer the next morning.” As to the first of these findings, the Sixth Circuit noted that contrary to the finding of the Michigan Court of Appeals, “it is by no means clear that the death-penalty comment . . . qualified as the functional equivalent of interrogation, as opposed to a ‘subtle compulsion’ to cooperate that is not foreclosed by Miranda and Edwards.” But even assuming that the death penalty comment was an interrogation, the court found that the Michigan Court of Appeals was reasonable to conclude that “any coercive effect of the death-penalty comment had subsided” by the time that the petitioner re-initiated the dialogue with police on the following day. In other words, police can legally trick suspects, but there are very remote limits.

Implications of the Ruling on Whether Police Can Legally Trick Suspects

Essentially, this ruling results in a dangerous precedent. The federal court has taken a position that a defendant who has lawfully and unequivocally invoked his right to remain silent or demanded the representation of a Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney can be taunted, tricked, and manipulated by the police. Any incriminating statement that is made after that is admissible. Court decisions that encourage police misconduct are especially dangerous to our society.

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LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is Your Best Hope for a Powerful Defense

Confronting a legal system where the Supreme Court permits police officers to use deception as a tactic in investigations underscores the indispensable need for experienced criminal defense attorneys. In such a landscape, the lawyers at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. stand as pivotal allies, equipped with the expertise and strategic acumen to navigate through and counteract these challenging scenarios. Our firm’s profound understanding of the intricacies of criminal law, combined with a steadfast commitment to defending our clients’ rights, ensures they get the most vigorous and powerful defense available. In every case, our goal remains unwavering: to provide the highest caliber of defense and to uphold the principles of justice and fairness. By choosing LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., you align yourself with a team that not only has mastered nuances of legal defense in the face of dubious investigatory tactics but also passionately advocates for your rights, striving tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome for your case. Call us for a free consultation. We will take the time to talk with you, address your concerns, and work with you to develop a winning defense. We are not afraid to win!

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