Archive for October 2012

NEW JERSEY CRIMINAL ATTORNEY APPEALS TO DETERMINE CONDITIONS OF USE FOR UNSIGNED CONFESSIONS

On August 7, 2000, the defendant allegedly murdered an 85-year-old woman he considered to be his grandmother. The defendant later turned himself in and providedTrentonpolice with both an informal and a transcribed confession. The transcribed confession was presented in the form of questions and answers but before the confession was completed, a family lawyer arrived and advised against further speech. At the trial, the detective who took the confession provided the unsigned statement to the jury while questioning the defendant, without objection from the defense attorney.

The Assistant Deputy Public Defender argued that it was “plain error” to provide jurors with the physical confession, stating that “having something in your hand is so powerful as compared with hearing a recitation.”

The Appellate Division agreed that providing the jurors with the unsigned confession had the possibility of producing unjust results. The Appellate Division ruled that for a confession to be used in trial, a judge must first conduct a Rule 104 hearing to determine whether the confession was voluntary and that the defendant is aware of his rights.  For more information regarding NJ Criminal Law, please contact New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney John F. Renner.

Legal Quote of the Week:

“Confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works”

St. Augustine, 354-430,FranklinPierceAdams, F.P.A., Book of Quotations, 1952