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New Jersey Supreme Court: Suspect Who Asked to Speak to Mother Did Not Assert Right to Silence

March 5, 2012 | Posted In Criminal Law - Right to Silence |

New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers Explain Recent Ruling

A divided Supreme Court in New Jersey ruled that a criminal suspect who asked police officers to let him speak to his mother did not assert his right to silence.  The court has, therefore, reversed a motion to suppress his statement – a ruling of significance to New Jersey criminal defense lawyers who have been following the case.

The case involves Demetrius Dias-Bridges, a man suspected of beating a woman to death in her apartment.  He was arrested several months after the alleged incident in North Carolina, where he had moved to live with his mother.  When officers of Morris County went to interrogate him in North Carolina, he first denied involvement in the murder.  However, at some point during the interrogation, which lasted for over 10 hours, he broke down and asked to speak to his mother.  He then proceeded to give a statement to the officers describing how he had killed the woman after she refused to supply him with drugs.

According to a Union County Superior Court Judge, when Dias-Bridges requested police officers to let him speak to his mother, he asserted his right to silence.  However, an Appellate Division delivered a mixed ruling, finding that parts of his statement were admissible in a court while others were not.  Both Dias-Bridges and the state appealed that ruling. 

Now, the New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that there is no evidence to find that Dias-Bridges invoked his right to remain silent, especially considering that he had voluntarily agreed to be interrogated by the law enforcement officers.  Therefore, the motion to suppress was reversed.

Regardless of the outcome of this case, the New Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman always advise people to contact an experienced attorney if they find themselves arrested or under police questioning. Remember: You have the right to remain silent. Some people panic when confronted with aggressive interrogation tactics. The key is to remain calm, quiet, and insist on seeing your attorney.

The New Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman represent persons who have been charged with DUI, murder, sex crimes, drug crimes, fraud, assault and other crimes across New Jersey.

 

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