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legal process and justice

By jck ·
It seems that this John Cooey who killed 9 year old Jessica Lunsford in Citrus County, FL might get off because, even though he voluntarily confessed to the crime, he had requested an attorney and not been given one right away. Since he gave the info where to find her and details in that confession, none of it might be admissible in court to convict him.

When a guy is blatantly obviously guilty of the crime, should it be right to let him go just because the information he volunteered (and didn't keep his mouth shut til he got a lawyer like he was told he could in his Miranda warning) is not "admissible" to convict him??

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Fine line

by Oz_Media In reply to if I play

IF the information was stricken it may be due to the person stating they were not of sound mind and body and could not speak rationally without legal advice.

In that case, his words would be moot and considered complete BS. IF you propsed this as evidence that defamated his character (especially if he was let off) you would be libel for slander.

sorry to be so adamant, but I deal with slander and libility cases someitmes several times a year and this is a VERY tightly regulated issue.

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by TonytheTiger In reply to once it is stricken

"Not acceptable" in a criminal trial does not mean the information is untrue, just that it cannot be used "in a criminal proceeding". Lie detector results are an example. They cannot be used in a criminal proceeding, but it is not slander to publish the results of the test.

As long as you do not say anything you can't prove, you cannot possibly be guilty of slander. All you have to do is put the information out there, and let it speak for itself.

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It depends on how the judge dismisses it.

by Oz_Media In reply to

It is 100% dependant on HOW the judge dismisses the evidence.

Ex.: If it is stricken for being heresay, it is defamation to further print it.

If someone is charged with child molestation and released due to insubstantial evidence, it is not okay to start pulicizing the evidence provided.

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Publish heresay.

by TonytheTiger In reply to It depends on how the jud ...

Thousands of journalists do it tens of thousands of times a day.

In the publication sense, the "truth" is the literal statement. ex: "The subject stated that the sky was orange". That does not mean that the sky was orange... only that the subject said that it was. Likewise if evidence is found to be improperly obtained, that does not change the truth of the evidence, only that it cannot be used "by the government" in a criminal proceeding. (remember, the constitutions is all about limitations on the government).

Except for government/trade secrets, confidentiality agreements, and gag orders, I don't understand what concept of law a person can possibly be violating by telling the truth.

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In similar circumstances over here,

by neilb@uk In reply to legal process and justice

I hope it might have been different.

The original UK equivalent of the Miranda was:

"You have the right to remain silent, but anything you do say will be taken down and may be used in evidence against you."

Very differently than the US, there was - and is - no requirement for the suspect to affirm that he or she understands the caution, and many law enforcement staff do not ask this to prevent a suspect from delaying the investigation by wilfully claiming not to understand the caution.

The Criminal Justice Act 1994 amended (abolished?) the right to silence by allowing a jury to draw its own conclusion in cases where a suspect refuses to explain something and then later produces an explanation. Basically, the jury can, if it wants, infer that the accused made up the explanation at a later date and completely disregard it if they want. Inferences are usually made from a refusal to account for objects in the posession of the accused or marks on his or her body. When this act came in, the stated idea was to stop the existing law being exploited by 'professional' criminals remaining persistently silent while innocent people rarely exercised their right. Opponents claimed that innocent people may reasonably remain silent for many reasons, and that changing the law would introduce an element of compulsion and was in clear conflict with the existing core concepts of the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof.

The new caution is:

"You do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something that you later rely on in court. Anything you say may be given in evidence."

Because we don't have a written constitution there has not been the huge quantity of specific rulings such as there have been on the 5th Amendment that have so defined the police's procedures in the US.

I think what is needed is defined sensible and fair police procedures with severe consequences for the police if they transgress but a way of avoiding the wholesale suppression of evidence such as there seems to have resulted in this case from police error. Law it might be, justice it isn't.

I think that if the murderer in question had asked for a lawyer in the UK then it would have been up to him to keep his own mouth shut until his lawyer arrived - he's been told he can keep quiet if he wants. If he confesses and then retracts his confession then the jury still get to hear it and can make a decision. But then we don't have nearly as many lawyers...

Just my ?2,000.02p worth (inc lawyer's fee)

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We are fighting long standing traditions of police misconduct

by stress junkie In reply to In similar circumstances ...

First I would like to point readers to a reference on the Miranda case. Take a look at section (e).

http://straylight.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0384_0436_ZS.html

This reference comes from the Cornell University Law Department. I consider this a credible source. It contradicts many of the other posters unfounded legal opinions about police procedure. Specifically it says that if a suspect states that they want to remain silent or that they want an attorney to be present during questioning then the police MUST STOP QUESTIONING THE SUSPECT IMMEDIATELY. Many posts in this discussion suggest that this is not the case. This reference proves them wrong. Period.

Now as to England vs. U.S.A. Unfortunately we in the U.S.A. have a long history of police and judicial misconduct. The history starts with the colonial period when torture was legal. It continues uninterrupted throughout all of our history up to the present day. There are a lot of reasons for this. A proper analysis of this issue might fill a book or two so I don't imagine that I can comprehensively cover the issue in this post.

I will say that even today there are several police forces which are infamous for currently being corrupt. These include the Los Angeles Police Department, the New Orleans Police Department, and the New York City Police Department. The police in these organizations are widely known to be engaged in criminal activity today. I don't understand why it is tolerated. Unfortunately it appears that the American public is willing to tolerate corruption in its police forces. I can tell you from personal observation that all of the police forces in Massachusetts, U.S.A. are corrupt. I frequently observe police breaking the law.

It seems that the police feel that they are not required to obey the law. They don't seem to care that when they break the law they become criminals. I doubt that the police particularly care about law and order. I believe that most police enter the field because it is a method sanctioned by society to be a criminal and not suffer the consequences. I'm convinced that most police in Massachusetts were school yard bullies and carry that same mentality into their adult life. The kind of people who become police officers in the U.S.A. are the same kind of people who beat their wife and children. They are the same kind of people who will push into the beginning of a line/queue rather than start at the end of a line/queue. They are self absorbed power freaks. They enjoy pushing people around. If they couldn't join the police force then they would have become prison guards where, again, society permits people to be abused without the abusers facing the consequences of their actions. Most police and prison guards in the U.S.A. are psychopaths who are just smart enough to find a way to pursue their maladjusted behavior without being charged with a crime. The police here can do just about anything without fear of being arrested or charged with a crime. Consequently they frequently do anything that comes to their disturbed mind. People in the U.S.A. do not hold their police officers accountable for their actions. Therefore the field of law enforcement attracts the kind of people who should be singularly disqualified for the job.

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by TonytheTiger In reply to We are fighting long stan ...

Unfortunately, some in the public sector feel part of their job is to make sure their job is still needed. Most people have seen examples of this, whether it be the firman who becomes an arsonist, the child services worker who does nothing about blatant abuse, or the judge who puts people back on the street who they know are a danger to society.

Back in the 1800's, when someone was hanged for stealing a horse, he didn't steal any more horses afterwards!

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latest on a sicko

by jck In reply to legal process and justice

http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/06/30/couey.case/index.html

Evidently, his confession has been thrown out. They say they have enough evidence. But I can see if this guy gets a good lawyer, because of rules of discovery, that he could possibly get the evidence they have thrown out. They had searched around the home he was staying in and never found anything outside and that was where the girl was buried.

Oh well...let's see if the criminal justice system punishes the criminal or the people this time.

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He's nailed anyway

by Oz_Media In reply to latest on a sicko

JCK, do you have a link to the article where it was thrown out? The one above is just speculation that it MAY be thrown out and searching the same site come up with nothing new.

Obviously in a case of this magnitude, they are going on MUCH more evidence than a verbal confession anyway. The prosecutions seems confident,despite what is rumored:
"Citrus County Sheriff Jeff Dawsy, who led the search for Jessica Lunsford, said through a spokesman that "the case is rock solid" and was built professionally and thoroughly.

"Although there are some amateurs questioning the credibility of our case against Couey and the confession, when this case is said and done, Couey will be convicted," he said."



"He called investigators back into the room because, according to the sources, he told them he knew he failed the test, and was apologetic for not being honest with detectives the day before.

He then gave a lengthy statement after having his Miranda rights read to him again, according to the transcripts. He did not request an attorney after being asked if he understood his right to have one present and to refuse to answer any questions, the transcripts show."

So transcripts also show quite clearly that he had opportunity to NOT speak further and did NOT request a lawyer at that point in time.

I really don't think this is all they have to go on at all.

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true

by jck In reply to He's nailed anyway

it's speculation...but also a good probability.

He asked *7* times for legal representation. I think he's gonna get the confession yanked...and even the news reporters on TV down here (including their legal commentators) think it's going to get thrown out because he asked that many times and one was never brought to him despite what happened the next day.

Also, I can tell you that if you ask a sheriff or the department's spokesman if they are the best officers in the state, they'd more than likely say "if not, we're one of the best.".

He's not gonna come out and say "Yeah, my investigators botched this one. I don't know what we're going to do. I hope the judge sides with us on this one."

Fact is, it is legal standard that after you have read the Miranda warning to a suspect...it is not only the accused right to speak or not speak, but it's also the law enforcement's obligation to acknowledge his right to legal representation at any point in the process he/she requests it and get him representation. Just because you can badger him into talking doesn't null and void his request. That only happens when he says "I don't want a lawyer." He didn't do that until the next day after he'd confessed. Therefore, his request for legal counsel had not been fulfilled before he confessed later that day. The next day is when he told the magistrate he didn't need an attorney.

Even Mark Lunsford's lawyer thinks they might have "bungled" the investigation and is just hoping the courts admit the confession:

http://news.tbo.com/news/MGB42BUKBBE.html

I can see this guy getting off if he gets a really good attorney. If a defense attorney can show the investigators would never have discovered the evidence without Couey's confession, he can get all this subsequent evidence dismissed because of rules of discovery. Then all they'd have is a dead little girl, a pissed off dad, and a lot of country folk hunting this guy down.

It's sad but true, Oz. This guy actually has a decent chance of getting off because the officers didn't take time to get him a public defender as he'd repeatedly requested.

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