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5
Mar

self-incrimination – a balance between us and the law?

The Miranda question is still bothering me.  For weeks now I have vacillated back and forth on the question of Casey Anthony’s rights concerning self-incrimination while at Universal Studios, and being interviewed / interrogated by three Detectives of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO).

On the one hand, Casey was a willing participant in the interview, carrying on like she was the mother of an abducted daughter, though without any affect or caring about the well-being of her child.  Still, she was talking to the Detectives quite willingly.

On the other hand, were her rights violated? Judge Perry knows the Constitution far better than I, certainly, and we can trust him to make the proper and right decision.  However, until that time, this question is an intriguing one to me.  I would like to know when a citizen, who is suspected of wrong-doing, should know when to stop talking and protect them-self against self-incrimination.

I would say, well an innocent person should have no fear of self-incrimination, right?  Wrong.  There are too many examples of wrongful convictions in this country, so a person cannot assume that Law Enforcement will protect them.

Casey Anthony was an adult when she was questioned by the Detectives of the OCSO.  Certainly she could have advised the Detectives when they said to her, “things are not looking very good for you,” that she wanted a lawyer, but she didn’t.

When should a citizen assert their rights?  When is it incumbent on Law Enforcement to preserve the rights of its citizenry and read them their Miranda Rights?

There were any number of times during that interview that Casey Anthony could have asserted her rights.  But, because she wanted to play the role of a mother who’s child was missing, and not appear guilty in the eyes of the law, she didn’t back down and ask for a lawyer.  Shouldn’t one of the detectives, given the fact she admitted to lying, have Mirandized her right then and there?

Will Lying to Law Enforcement be the Sticking Point?

By lying to the Detectives, she had just broken the law, and they knew it, but I doubt that Casey realized the trouble she was in, which is why Miranda exists – to protect citizens from incriminating themselves.  My question, then, is since the Detectives knew she was lying – she even admitted to lying – shouldn’t they have read her her rights then and there?   Because, the truth is, anything she said after the time she admitted to lying, would have (and ultimately did) cause her to incriminate herself further?

When John Allen got her to admit to lying, near the middle of the interview, shouldn’t she have been told – right then and there – that anything else she says will be used against her?

For me the question is this: When a member of law enforcement talks to you like you’re a suspect, is that when they must deliver the Miranda warning?  What is the balance between law enforcement needing information from a citizen, versus placing that citizen in the position of incriminating them self?  I believe that is what Miranda is for – to prevent people who are suspected of committing a crime from incriminating themselves further.

Granted, Casey Anthony was “supposedly” in the position of wanting to help law enforcement find her daughter, but at the same time, the Detectives knew she was deceiving them, perhaps to buy her self some time to form an escape plan.

There is no doubt had Casey not been arrested, she would have tried to cover her tracks, or attempt to move Caylee, etc., and I am sure the Detectives were fearful of something like that happening.  But, why did they then take her to the station, photograph her for a flyer to publicize Caylee’s disappearance, then turn around and place her under arrest for “sticking to her story”?

The fact is, even if the Universal Studios statement is suppressed, there are a number of other witnesses who will testify to the make believe Nanny-taking-Caylee story.  So, if the Universal Studio interview is thrown out of the trial, it won’t be a show-stopper.

The big question, however, is this: Will the interview prove to be a violation of Casey’s rights under the US Constitution?

I’m doing my research, but I just don’t know!

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