Is it important that a family member call an attorney to represent a son who was a suspect in a dual murder and who has agreed to meet with detectives . . . ?
The answer to the question is a resounding yes. The Second District Court of Appeal of Florida in McAdams v. State (2014) reviewed the following facts: The family of a murder suspect called an attorney to go to the sheriff’s office where the suspect had agreed to meet with the sheriff’s detectives.
During this interview, the attorney requested that he be permitted to speak with his client and that the interview stop. The detectives refused the attorney’s requests and continued to interview the defendant.
After the defendant had confessed to two murders and shown the detectives where he had buried the victims, the detectives then advised the defendant that an attorney had attempted to communicate with him.
The McAdams court relied on a Florida Supreme Court decision, Haliburton v. State, 514 So.2d 1088 (Fla. 1987), which held that where police knowingly refused to notify a suspect that a lawyer has been hired to represent him and was present at the station house and wished to speak with the suspect, the officers violated the due process provisions of Article l, Section 9, of the Florida Constitution. Hence, all evidence obtained after the officers read the suspect his Miranda rights until he was told about the attorney were suppressed and excluded from use in the case.
This case demonstrates the importance of obtaining an attorney to represent a citizen accused of a crime at the earliest opportunity. It also reflects the mind-set of the police . . . that obtaining a confession or incriminating evidence from a suspect is far more important than ensuring a suspect is accorded all of his constitutional rights and safeguards.
Should you or a loved one find themselves in a situation where they are being requested to give an interview to the police or have already consented to such an interview, it would be wise to contact a qualified criminal defense attorney to advise the family member before making any statements to law enforcement. Should such a circumstance arise in Sarasota County or Manatee County, Florida, James Dirmann, a Board Certified Criminal Defense Lawyer, is ready and willing to assist clients under these circumstances.