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March 5, 2011

24

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

by Andrea O'Connell

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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24 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mar 5 2011

    First, I believe they arrested Casey for lying to law enforcement because they had hoped Casey would understand the seriousness of what was going on and cough up where Caylee was.

    Andrea sez:
    “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?”

    When that happens it is time to shut the mouth! Even if you are innocent. Get a lawyer, too. LE is not obligated to read your Miranda rights unless they are placing you under arrest.

    The following is a 49 minute video that explains why one should not talk to law enforcement if they feel they are being looked at as a suspect, even if it isn’t the case.

    Reply
    • Mar 5 2011

      Thanks so much, Sherry! I’m going to watch this. I am really anxious to hear how Judge Perry will rule.
      It’s interesting how so many of us are getting an excellent education on the law as a result of this case! Thanks again you dear. :)

      Reply
    • Mar 6 2011

      I completely enjoyed this video! I stayed up last night and watched the whole thing….loved the lawyer; he was hilarious!

      Reply
  2. offthecuff
    Mar 5 2011

    This is such an incredible case. Even for LE who have been part of many cases, this must have seemed like such an incredible case.

    LE was under a lot of pressure to find Caylee. Even though 31 days had passed, this was still an emergency. There was also a lot of pressure coming from the family. They only had Casey for answers.

    Reply
  3. Linda
    Mar 6 2011

    Hello Andrea I just read the transript of the JVM show yesterday and Stacie Honowitz was on she’s a Florida prosecutor and she said there are some exceptions to miranda when it comes to a missing child..I am crossing my fingers. I don’t think judge Perry believes George and Cindy were agents for the state. What kind of people wouldn’t do anything to find their child?

    Reply
    • Mar 6 2011

      Hi Linda! I’m so glad you mentioned that, thank you! Maybe the state will argue that tomorrow in their closing arguments! I think I know who Stacie Honowitz is… she has black hair, and I think she works in South Florida…. if that’s her, I do like her… I agree with you, most people would do anything to find their child and the Judge will recognize that, I’m sure.
      Correction: Most people, would do anything to find their child, just not Casey Anthony.

      Reply
  4. Mar 6 2011

    I have seen first hand where a few guys were pulled over for a headlight being out. The officer ordered the driver out of the car. Then he placed handcuffs on the person and said, “You are not under arrest at this time, but it is for OUR safety.” Then a few minutes later the person was released. I find it very confusing to understand. Other times some were again handcuffed, placed in the back of the “CAGE” and then read their rights. I can also see how confusing it was that night with Casey. They were called there for a stolen auto, then money. Then A MISSING Child!

    Reply
    • Mar 6 2011

      Hi Shyloh,
      Yes, I have read that the police can handcuff any person who they feel could be a potential threat – just for their safety. It must be a terrible feeling for the one handcuffed. And, you’re right, it must have been confusing for the officers, after so many calls, to get the story straight. We have the benefit of time to see it clearly, but when you look back and think of those first responders, they had to be scratching their collective heads over what was unfolding.

      Reply
  5. CptKD
    Mar 6 2011

    Here in CANADA, as a Police Officer, I have THE RIGHT, to place an individual in cuffs, without ARRESTING them FOR MY SAFETY, especially if working alone. This also is done for OTHERS safety, along with the individual’s. If from there, I run a series or checks thru the system and this individual comes back CLEAN, cuffs come off and he/she free to go. If a crime was committed, comes back DIRTY in the system, individual is ARRESTED, TOLD WHY, AND THEIR RIGHTS ARE READ! Done deal! CptKD

    Reply
    • Mar 6 2011

      And I personally see nothing wrong with that. Why the big deal over Casey being placed in cuffs for oh about 5 min because of the situation? And she wasn’t handcuffed at universal.

      Reply
      • Mar 6 2011

        And she was handcuffed for a completely different reason than the interview at Universal. Can one be handcuffed for credit card fraud and not read their rights then be questioned about the missing child as they are free to leave or stop the interview and that be considered as not being mirandized, i.e., against their rights?

        I still see the two instances as unrelated. Only a ploy by the defense makes them one and the same.

    • Mar 6 2011

      Hey there, CptKD! It’s the same thing here, the police are able to place cuffs on for their safety, too. How you mention the process of checking the system first to see if the person has no warrants, makes sense. Thanks for your input! :)

      Reply
  6. Molly
    Mar 6 2011

    Part of the confusion comes in because the young officer put her in cuffs & put her in the car but he did not say anything to her. He did not say she was under arrest or anything to that affect. Then when he took the cuffs off, he still did not say anything to her as to why he was removing them. so the whole thing is kind of null & void. casey then knew at that point that she was not being questioned about car theft or stealing any money, they immediately went into investigating the whereabouts of Caylee. That took precidence.

    Now we can also thank miss control freak cindy for much of this confusion with LE. 3 calls to 911. the first 2 focus on car/money, cindy’s way to scare & threaten casey into telling her where caylee is. then the 3rd call & LE arrives & she tells them to arrest her to “hold” her so she won’t take off as casey won’t take her to Caylee. she said this on the stand the other day. couldn’t LE arrest cindy for false reporting or lying as she never pressed charges for the money/car thing? cindy was using 911 & the presence of officers for her own means.(well in effort to find Caylee of course) If they want to get all technical about it they could.

    Reply
    • Mar 6 2011

      Hi Miss Molly!
      I agree, it was at Cindy’s bidding that the issue of the money came up, and she was bound and determined to get Casey arrested because she believed this would scare Casey into talking about Caylee’s whereabouts.
      No harm, no foul with the handcuffs, is what I think now. I do worry about the Universal Studios interview. As for Cindy for false reporting, I don’t think so because the police ignored the 911 call about the car and the stealing in favor of the missing child report.

      Reply
  7. Molly
    Mar 6 2011

    I agree they ignored that call about the money for the more pressing matter, but cindy did intermingle the 2. if she needed to have her arrested for it she would have, otherwise never mind it’s o.k. that she stole money from me. I certainly understand the urgency of the moment, but when you step back & look at it of course cindy wanted them to do what she wanted.

    I too am a little nervous about the universal moment when she admitted that she was lying & everything that happened after that. There is that fine line where they knew it had taken a different step & yet they wanted to pursue their tactics to try to extract the truth from her. I’m not sure what JP will do.

    Reply
  8. Molly
    Mar 6 2011

    It was also the first time I heard that when casey went on the walk with one of the officers she said her parents were overreacting & that “Caylee is fine”. she was still playing her game. she had now admitted caylee was kidnapped, yet she was “fine”.

    Reply
    • Mar 6 2011

      Hey Molly. I thought that was really interesting, too, and the first time I’d heard of it. To think that she went through this whole story about the Nanny taking Caylee with Cindy and Lee, and yet, when Sgt. Hosey asks her, she tries to downplay the situation and say it’s a result of her over-protective parents. I am sure the defense wants this suppressed, too.

      Reply
  9. Weezie
    Mar 6 2011

    To say that Cindy, George and Lee were representing themselves to Casey on behalf of the State is just laughable and I can’t help but double over every time I think that the Defence is accusing them of doing this. No wonder Casey doesn’t dare look at her parents, since Baez has now hoodwinked Casey into believing that very thing. If anyone should be on trial it’s him with his antics of secrecy, (no visitations). The family is long broken up, but the way Cindy and George feel, it certainly isn’t over yet. They are trying their hardest to protect Casey and not get caught in a lie on the stand. If you look back on the tapes in the jail, Lee was just himself, trying to be organized and get to the truth. He knew how much Casey could lie, so he was attempting to get her to roll over. No LE’s were involved. When you look at George and Cindy they are beside themselves, trying to get answers out of their daughter. Remember: “You guys such a waste of time”. Sigh. The longer I ponder this the more I think that Judge Perry will rule that anything said prior to the handcuffing will definately be allowable. He will likely wait to rule on the after the handcuff incident. I think he needs more time on that. If I didn’t know better that sneeky Baez is going after George and claiming he could have done this, because of his weakness on the stand saying he would do anything to protect Casey, which could lead to he would do anything even if it wasn’t within the law, like hiding the body? Now that sounds insane and no one is going to buy that, but Baez is pretty cock sure to mislead the sniffing dogs away from Casey and on to someone else, or onto many some else. Sorry for the grammar here. I can’t wait till tomorrow.

    Reply
  10. Faith
    Mar 7 2011

    Question: When LE told KC “everything you’ve told us is a lie”KC answered “not everything”. How will that play?

    Reply
    • Weezie
      Mar 7 2011

      Just as it was said.

      Reply
  11. Faith
    Mar 7 2011

    Sorry another question: If the handcuffing is such a big deal,how come it isn’t mentioned by either Cindy or George in any of their many TV interviews? I would think Cindy especially would have been screaming about that.

    Reply
    • Mar 7 2011

      Pardon me but I must ask-are you the Faith from The Caylee Daily? The one who likes to cook and has a kitchen full of small appliances? lol

      Reply
    • Weezie
      Mar 7 2011

      Faith; RIGHT ON.

      Reply
    • Mar 7 2011

      Hi Faith… VERY good question! If they were so incensed about it, you KNOW they’d have said something! I know it had never crossed their mind, or we’d have heard about it in the transcripts or recordings of them with FBI or OSCO….

      Reply

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