People v. Lawson

SUFFOLK COUNTY
Criminal Practice

New York Law Journal

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Judge William Ford

Lawson was charged with sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. A Huntley hearing was held, and Lawson sought suppression of a statement to police. After a mother and daughter were interviewed about alleged sexual abuse, Lawson was arrested and advised of his Miranda rights. He indicated he wanted to speak with a detective and give a statement. A detective testified that at no time did Lawson appear tired, sleepy or hungry. The court stated prosecutors had the burden, at a Huntley hearing, of showing Lawson knowingly and intelligently waived his constitutional rights under Miranda if a statement was made during a custodial interrogation. It noted absent such showing, the exclusionary rule—a judicially created tool to deter illegal conduct by law enforcement personnel—required suppression of the evidence. Here, Lawson provided the statement in a custodial setting, and the court opined if his waiver was knowingly and voluntarily made. It found under the totality of the circumstances, the waiver was knowing and voluntary, noting the Miranda card bore at least eight sets of Lawson's initials that he understood his rights, and waived them. The court denied the motion to suppress the statement.

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