Defendant Denied Motion to Suppress Statements Made by Police After Armed Robbery
An Illinois defendant was found guilty of armed robbery at a gas station and sentenced to 23 years in prison. He got 8 years for the armed robbery and another 15 for a firearm enhancement. He appealed the decision on the basis that the court should have suppressed evidence related to a confession that he made while in police custody. He further argued ineffective assistance of counsel because his attorney did not object to the prosecution using this evidence during his trial. He had hoped to get the confession tossed out. But he was unsuccessful.
Prior to the trial, the defense moved to suppress statements that were made by the defendant allegedly after he asked for a lawyer. The motion alleged that the defendant made incriminating statements after he had asked for an attorney. The defendant had hoped to bar the jury from hearing a recording of his statements during his trial. Police played an old game on the defendant. They stated that he and his co-defendant were in a race to see who would talk first. The defendant responded by making several statements to incriminate himself.
The police then asked the defendant if he needed money from the robbery for drugs or just to get by. The defendant balked at first over the question, but eventually told police that he needed the money to get by, thus incriminating himself. He told police that he was scared because he didn’t have a lawyer present. This was the reason for his appeal. However, he didn’t explicitly ask for a lawyer to be present during the interrogation. Instead, he simply said that he was scared because he didn’t have a lawyer present. At that point, police would have to find an attorney to represent the defendant. But they are under no obligation to get an attorney unless the suspect explicitly asks for one.
Later in the interrogation, the defendant did ask for an attorney to be present. However, the police said that they couldn’t get one into the office that day. The defendant continued to incriminate himself during the interrogation.
Incriminating yourself during a police interrogation
Police can be tricky when dealing with armed robbery suspects. It is always better to have a lawyer present when you are being interrogated. The police will put pressure on defendants to make incriminating statements. They will tell you that others involved in a robbery are already making incriminating statements that implicate the defendant. They can then pressure all of the involved individuals to confess to the crime in the hopes of getting a more lenient sentence. In this case, the defendant incriminated himself and still got 23 years in prison. His effort to suppress the confession failed and he was convicted. Had he had a lawyer present, it could have gone the other way.
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