Defendant was not given "Miranda rights" and in the brief below seeks to have a confession suppressed. Defendant wants confession surpressed under Miranda;
Prosecutor wants confession allowed under 18 USCS §3501(c).
This hypothetical was based on Dickerson v. United States, No. 99-5525, Decided June 26, 2000.
This is a SAMPLE ONLY of what all 1st year law students must write.
Obviously, it was never filed with any court and was not written for any court.
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
DEFENDANT'S ARGUMENT IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO SUPPRESS
Defendant John Dot-Com's confession should be suppressed because of the government's failure to comply with Miranda v. Arizona, 344 U.S. 436 (1966). The confession should also be suppressed under Section 3501(c) because the government did not bring Defendant before a magistrate within six hours. Furthermore, the confession should be suppressed because, based upon the totality of the circumstances, it was involuntary.
STATEMENT OF THE CASE
At about 8:30 a.m., December 16, 1999, Defendant was confronted by officers and agents while he was eating breakfast at a coffee shop across the street from his New York City apartment. He was taken into custody. This was not a one-officer arrest. He was swooped down upon by a combined team of agents from the FBI, local New York City police and lawyers from the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Southern District of New York. By the U.S. Attorney's own allegations, there were at least six persons involved in the arrest of Defendant: At least two FBI agents, at least two police officers, and at least two lawyers. This intimidating team came armed not only with guns, but also with suits and other signs of power. This man, for whom there is no indication of prior experience with police or with the criminal justice system, was held incommunicado for almost eight hours during which time he was subjected to isolation, interrogation, and alternating threats and promises. The interrogation was in writing, back and forth on a computer screen, a format which only emphasized Defendant's isolation. At the end of eight hours, after Defendant had twice demanded to leave confinement and been refused, after he had demanded to see his father and been refused, Defendant's will was overcome, and he signed a confession. As a result of what was learned from the confession, while Defendant was in the government's custody, the FBI searched Defendant's home without a warrant and seized evidence. The government now wants to use the confession and the evidence obtained as a result of the confession in their case against Defendant.
Defendant argues that both his confession and the evidence should be suppressed under Miranda, under 18 USCS §3501(c), and under the totality of the circumstances.
Miranda requires (1) that before interrogation, the person in custody must be informed clearly that s/he has a right to remain silent and that anything s/he says will be used against him/her in court; (2) that the person in custody must be informed clearly of the right to consult with a lawyer and have one present during interrogation; and (3) that a lawyer will be appointed for the person in custody if s/he is not able to afford to pay a lawyer. The U.S. Attorney acknowledges that Defendant was not informed of his right to remain silent until after his confession.
Section 3501(c) states in part that a confession may be suppressed if there was more than a six-hour delay in bringing the defendant before a magistrate, unless a further delay was reasonable because of transportation or distance difficulties. Defendant was arrested in New York City. Getting him before a magistrate in less than six hours would not have been difficult. The magistrate would have advised Defendant of his rights and gotten him an attorney. Defendant did not give a confession until after eight hours of detention. He asked to leave twice during that time, and he could not. He asked to speak to his father once. His not getting before a Magistrate within the legally mandated six hours hurt him. Legislative history shows that §3501 was born out of frustration with Miranda and the earlier Mallory v. U.S., 354 U.S. 449 (1957). Yet §3501(c) is not inconsistent with Mallory; in Mallory, a seven-and-a-half-hour delay caused a confession to be ruled inadmissible.
Without Miranda or §3501, the court would look at the totality of the circumstances as in Haynes v. Washington, 373 U.S. 503, 514 (1963). In the case before the court today, Mr. Dot-Com is a man with no previous history with the criminal justice system. He was arrested at breakfast time in a coffee shop across from his home. He was come upon by at least six government officials, some armed with guns. He was isolated, held incommunicado for eight hours, with alternating threats and promises. There were threats of turning the IRS on Defendant, and there were suggestions of accusations of "kiddie porn." This is a classic case such as the Miranda decision intended to prevent. There was isolation in unfamiliar surroundings; there was psychological coercion; there were the threats of the IRS and "kiddie porn"; there was trickery. While the government may argue that Defendant was held in comfortable surroundings, he was nonetheless held against his will. "A captured bird will die even in a golden cage." The room the Defendant was held in may have been comfortable, but it was still a cage.
Further, while §3501(c) applies, §3501 itself should not trump Miranda as the government argues. Miranda set out as a matter of Constitutional law the procedure that must be followed for a confession to be held valid. Both the majority and the dissent (Clark) agree that the decision in Miranda rests on the Fifth Amendment. For the majority, Chief Justice Warren wrote,
Even as he dissented, Justice Clark said,
Thus, there was consensus that the Fifth Amendment is the foundation for the procedure established in Miranda. Miranda hoped to minimize the need to examine the voluntariness of the confession being examined on a case by case basis, the previous method. In Miranda, the Supreme Court said that in order for the Fifth Amendment safeguards to be meaningful, these procedures must be safeguarded.
In the case at hand, the government would argue that the Court should ignore Miranda and apply §3501 only. However, going back to Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803), it is the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Constitution that controls. Congress cannot write a statute to overturn a Supreme Court's interpretation of a Constitutional right. As Justice Kennedy wrote as recently as June 1997 in City of Boerne v. Flores, Archbishop of San Antonio, et al., 521 U.S. -507 (1997), "Congress' discretion is not unlimited, however, and the courts retain the power, as they have since Marbury v. Madison, to determine if Congress has exceeded its authority under the Constitution." Congress does not have the power to write legislation which would have as its purpose overriding a Supreme Court interpretation of a Constitutional right. Clearly, Miranda was the Court' interpretation of the Fifth Amendment.
Were this court of the 2nd Circuit to move in the direction of the 4th Circuit and disregard Miranda in favor of §3501, as did the 4th Circuit in United States v. Dickerson, 166 F.3d 667 (4th Cir. 1999), the court would be advised to look at the words of U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and Solicitor General Seth Waxman: "Because the Miranda decision is of constitutional dimension, Congress may not legislate a contrary rule unless the Court were to overrule Miranda. We submit that principals of stare decisis do not favor the overruling of Miranda, and we do not request the Court to take that step. In the thirty-four years since that decision was handed down, it has become embedded in the law and defined thru the decisions of this Court. If Miranda were to be overruled, this Court [the Supreme Court] would have to disavow a long line of its cases ..." This is from the Brief for the United States, filed Feb. 28, 2000, in the case of Charles Thomas Dickerson v. United States of America, No. 99-5525, page 9.
To date, no United States Attorney General has argued that Miranda is not the law of the land. Congress does not have the power to overrule a Supreme Court opinion. That is why §3501 has been ignored since its passage two years after Miranda.
For the reasons cited, the confession should be suppressed, and the evidenced seized should be deemed inadmissible.
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I do hereby certify that a copy of this brief in support of Defendant's motion to suppress was hand delivered to the U.S. Attorney, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on 00, 00, 0000.
Alice Marie Beard
other examples of what all 1st-year law students write
Alice Marie Beard