At this time of year, this country celebrates its independence some 235 years ago. And with the birth of the United States came its Constitution; something that remains a pillar in the defense of criminal cases.
Though the Fourth Amendment prohibits police from entering someone’s home without a warrant, they still try and do it regularly and come up with an “exception” to the rule. Often times in large scale marijuana conspiracy cases, they will call it a protective sweep. That is, they will say that they went through the house for security reasons only – i.e. to find other armed persons who may pose a danger to police, but they did not actually conduct a search. It never ceases to amaze me how police think that they will be able to justify in an aggravated assault or murder case how they were justified in looking under a mattress or in a kitchen drawer for other armed suspects when they found key evidence such as a gun. Or perhaps, the other suspects were just very small. The bottom line is that only an experienced criminal defense attorney knows how to recognize and deal with such an issue.
Also, when a suspect invokes his right to remain silent and asks for an attorney (hopefully a criminal defense attorney) under the Fifth Amendment, the police must immediately stop all questioning. I’m doing a very serious case right now where the detective did pause for a brief moment, but then picked up and kept right on questioning my client. Yes, this happened in Phoenix, Arizona and not a small town in the hills. This sort of thing has been more and more in felony cases in both state and federal courts. Well, the point is that now my client’s statement is likely going to be thrown out of court, now that we have aggressively attacked the issue and file a motion to suppress his statements. Once more, I’m pretty confident that the jury will not be a fan on the detective’s tactics once we get to trial.
Even though the Constitution has evolved through court decisions over the past two plus centuries, there are still times where the government abuses citizens’ rights and its feet must be held to the fire.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are being questioned by police in Phoenix, or anywhere in Arizona, exercise your right to remain silent and ask for a criminal defense attorney - then call our firm!