Monday, April 4, 2016

FRUIT OF THE POISON TREE: STATEMENTS FROM AN ILLEGAL ARREST

Under the Constitution, police have to operate by law before they can deprive you of liberty or property. If your initial stop or arrest is illegal, then the poison fruits of that stop or arrest cannot be used against you subject to certain exceptions.

For example, police must read your Miranda rights when they take you into custody. If they do not, any statements made in custody can be suppressed. However, your statements may be used in court if they are sufficiently removed from the illegal way in which the police obtained them.

To determine if your statements are far enough removed from the “illegal taint,” the court looks at four factors: (1) the flagrancy of police misconduct; (2) whether there were intervening circumstances; (3) the proximity of time between defendant's arrest and statement; and (4) whether Miranda warnings were given to the defendant.

In a recent Illinois case, (People v Gempel), the court suppressed statements that defendant made after an arrest based on these four factors. The court found: 1) police misconduct was flagrant in that officers ignored defendant’s requests for an attorney, saying he did not need one; 2) the results of a DNA test did not create a sufficient intervening circumstance; 3) the 37 hours between the arrest and defendant’s statements may have coerced defendant into confession; 4) while officers repeatedly read defendant his Miranda rights, their continuous disregard of those rights in reality coerced his confession. Therefore, the state failed to “purge the taint of an illegal arrest,” and defendant’s statements could not be used.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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