People v. Nehma
Justice Thomas Mercure
Iraqi refugee Nehma appealed from a judgment convicting him of attempted rape. County Court granted his suppression motion of a statement made while being transported to the police station, but denied suppression of statements made while at the station. The panel concluded County Court erred by failing to grant Nehma's motion to suppress in its entirety. It noted the court properly suppressed statements made on the way to the station as the officer conceded Nehma was in custody at the time, but no Miranda warnings were given. Yet, while Miranda warnings were given at the station, the officer neglected to inform Nehma of his right to have an attorney present during questioning. The panel disagreed with County Court that "attenuation principles" dictated that Nehma was not in custody at the station, and Miranda warnings were not required. It stated under the circumstances, including that Nehma spoke broken English, and the officer that patted him down and handcuffed him earlier was stationed outside the room in which Nehma sat, a reasonable person would not have felt free to leave. Thus, Nehma's statements were a product of custodial interrogation and should have been suppressed, requiring reversal.