State v. O.D.A.-C., 250 N.J. 408 (2022)


Alan Silber argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court on behalf of amicus curiae ACDL-NJ, that the defendant’s Miranda rights were violated when police officers told him that Miranda was “just a formality” and that what the defendant said was confidential and “just between us.” We argued that it was time to evaluate whether the Miranda warnings are performing their intended function and determine how the warnings can be administered more effectively and/or less deceptively, to ensure that the rights of New Jerseyans are protected during interrogations. We further argued that any statement collected after police had undercut, contradicted, obscured, or misled the defendant about Miranda warnings should be construed as a per se improper administration of the warnings and must result in suppression. Although the Court elected to continue adhering to the totality-of-circumstances test to evaluate Miranda warnings, the Court agreed that the detectives’ actions in this case “repeatedly contradicted and minimized the significance of the Miranda warnings,” and thus the state could not meet its heavy burden of demonstrating the defendant’s waiver was voluntary beyond a reasonable doubt. CJ Griffin and Joshua P. Law co-authored the brief.

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