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Improperly obtained confession leads to overturned murder conviction

When you're arrested for a crime you have certain rights granted to you. One of these rights is the Fifth Amendment, which is specifically worded as follows.

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

When your rights are violated, a criminal defense attorney may be able to have that evidence omitted from your case. It can also lead to overturning convictions, as was the case with a New Jersey Supreme Court earlier this week.

Michael Maltese was arrested for murdering his mother and father, a charge in which his girlfriend testified against him in. Even so, it was perhaps his confession that implicated him in the crime. However, the method of obtaining that confession was found to have violated Maltese's rights.

During the investigation, Maltese initially denied knowing where his parents were stating he hadn't seen them since October 2008. He then took a polygraph test, after which he asked police officers if he could speak with his uncle. The sergeant allowed him to speak with his uncle in private and told Maltese that the cameras in the room would be told off. However, it was found that the sergeant didn't turn off the cameras, which recorded Maltese telling his uncles where his parents' bodies were. After the conversation, Maltese was read his Miranda rights once more. He then confessed to killing his parents along with his girlfriend.

After reviewing the circumstances through which the confession was obtained, the Supreme Court ruled that it "was the fruit of the unconstitutionally obtained statement to his uncle and must also be suppressed."

Anyone arrested of a crime has various rights and protections during the investigation process. If you a charged with a crime, seek out the help of an experienced defense attorney who can help you protect your rights during the trial process.

Source:

Associated Press, "NJ high court overturns murder conviction for parents' death," Josh Cornfield, 17 August 2015

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