06 May 2003


Judge Allows Government to Get Away With It

As you will recall, I predicted that the Malvo confession would make it into court. Guess what? It did. The judge disallowed a minor section (before they reread him his rights) but allowed everything after that.

The crux of the decision is that the the government can play all sorts of procedural games in order to deny you access to the attorneys you currently have and remove them. Isn't it amazing how technicalities always save the government but never work that way for Defendants?

It is becoming embarrassing how the Virginia courts are starting to require that poor, uneducated clients who are legally inexperienced use exactly the correct arcane formulation of phrases in order to obtain an attorney during questioning. Does anyone actually believe that "Do I get to talk to my attorneys? . . . Because the lawyers told me don't talk until they get here." is not a statement which a reasonable police officer would recognize as an attempt to invoke his right to counsel? If they didn't then why not read him the Miranda rights at that moment instead of talking to him for a hour and giving him some sandwiches so they could soften him up.

Of course, the Court's assertion that officers can approach you as often as they want to after you have invoked your right to remain silent (as long as they tell you your Miranda rights) is just amazing. It may be true legally but expecting someone (much less a minor) to understand that he has to keep invoking the same right over and over again every week, day, hour, or quarter-hour is anchored firmly in fantasyland.

"There is no evidence that Fairfax police or prosecutors colluded with federal authorities to spirit Malvo away to Virginia without the knowledge of his Maryland attorneys with the hopes or intention of interrogating him when he was without counsel or the right to counsel."


I am almost speechless; I want to rant so bad. Instead, I'll just refer you to my previous posting.

How Appealing has access to the decision here.

You know, if I thought they were going to have a really hard time convicting for murder I would probably be more sympathetic. But they're going to get their conviction with or without the confession. It seems like they are bending and breaking the constitution just because they can.


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