Friday, November 15, 2013

Freeman v. State case brief

Freeman v. State case brief summary
857 A.2d 557 (2004)

Defendant challenged a decision from the Circuit Court for Calvert County (Maryland), which convicted her of first degree premeditated murder, first degree assault, and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Specifically, defendant challenged the denial of her motion to suppress evidence.

Defendant shot her boyfriend after he made an excuse for not taking her out on a date. She walked into the police station and told them that she had just shot someone. When she was read her rights, she remained silent. Later, she waived her rights and gave a statement. After a motion to suppress the confession was denied, defendant was convicted. She then sought review.

  • In affirming, the court held that the trial court erred by failing to construe the pre-waiver silence as an invocation of her right to remain silent. 
  • Case law requiring an unequivocal statement did not apply to the situation presented. 
  • Defendant's statement made immediately after the silence should not have been admitted; however, the error was harmless. 
  • Police were permitted to reinstate questioning at a later time. 
  • The delay in presentment did not render the confession involuntary. 
  • Recent case law held that deliberate delay in order to conduct a custodial interrogation was given heavy weight in determining if a confession was voluntary. 
  • The evidence showed that defendant's paperwork had not been completed prior to second interrogation. 
  • As such, the delay was not a deliberate intent to conduct another interview.

The judgment was affirmed.

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