Appeals Court Affirms Lower Court's Decision to Suppress an Accused Murderer's Statement

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A three-judge panel from the First District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the lower court's decision to grant a motion to suppress a statement made by the defendant.

The Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas granted a motion to suppress a statement made by the defendant in a murder case. The state appealed, but the appeals court affirmed the lower court's ruling, which effectively threw out the defendant's statement from being used in the case.

The defendant, Courtney Miller, was on trial for voluntary manslaughter and additional charges such as carrying a concealed weapon, possessing a firearm illegally, and evidence tampering.

According to court documents, the appeals court affirmed the statement suppression "because the record demonstrates that the police officers continued the interrogation after Miller invoked his Fifth Amendment right to counsel."

Anyone who is taken into custody must be read their Miranda Rights, which includes the right to remain silent (Fifth Amendment) and the right to have an attorney present during questioning. The defendant invoked these rights, which by law means that all police interviews must cease until a lawyer is there for the defendant. Instead, police returned to Miller and made statements that led Miller to believe it would help his case to waive his right to an attorney and make additional statements.

The three-judge panel ruled that the police made statements they knew were likely to elicit an incriminating response on behalf of the defendant, so the statements made after Miller waived his right to an attorney were suppressed.

To learn more about this ruling, view State of Ohio vs. Courtney Miller (APPEAL NO. C-140068).