After a judge in the San Mateo County Superior Court dropped the charges against an East Palo Alto man, the suspect likely thought he was free to go and that he would not need to worry about his criminal charges again. Unfortunately, he will need to go through an appeal after the San Mateo County District Attorney’s office announced that it would be appealing the dismissal. With the possibility that he will again have to face murder charges, it is important that the man work with an experienced criminal appeals attorney.

The judge originally dismissed the case after he determined that the confession that police obtained from the suspect violated his Miranda rights. Because of this, the confession could not be used at trial, and without such a crucial piece of evidence, there was insufficient evidence linking the man to the crime.

The district attorney, however, is convinced that the confession is valid and did not violate any of the suspect’s rights. According to KTVU, the man had contacted police following a shooting in the parking lot of the Hillsdale Shopping Center in 2010. He told police that he was afraid for his life and asked for police protection. Once he was brought to the police station and in police custody, the man apparently admitted that he was the one who shot the other man outside of the mall. Thought he was in custody, the suspect had not been arrested and, thus, had not been read his Miranda rights.

The purpose of the Miranda rights are to prevent suspects from feeling intimidated by police and duped into saying something that can be misinterpreted as incriminating. They are also important because they tell a suspect that he or she can speak with an attorney, something someone being arrested may not realize. It only makes sense that someone who has not been read his or her Miranda rights cannot have any incriminating statements used against him or her in court.

It remains to be seen if the district attorney will follow through with his plans to file the appeal.

Source: KTVU, “DA plans to appeal dismissal of murder charge for suspect in community leader’s killing,” Nov. 14, 2012