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February 16, 2011


will the new Miranda please stand up?

by Andrea O'Connell

Here we go again.  Mr. Cheney Mason, of the Casey Anthony Defense team, is redressing his Miranda motion, in which he argues that Casey was questioned by authorities while she was effectively in “custody”.

However, as I discussed in a January 18th post, the Miranda Rights Law (based on Miranda v. Arizona) was, in June of 2010, changed by the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Berghuis v. Thompkins case.

The United States Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 to change Miranda v. Arizona, which has held fast since 1966.  In the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona ruling, a person suspected of committing a crime would have to have their right to an attorney and their right to remain silent read to them before authorities could question them.  If these rights were not read, and if the suspect subsequently talked a blue-streak and incriminated themselves – too bad, so sad, said the law at that time.

The 2010 Change to Miranda

The 2010 Supreme Court decision to change Miranda v. Arizona was controversial.  Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor remarked that this new ruling “turns Miranda upside down” and “marks a substantial retreat from the protection against compelled self-incrimination.”

Regardless, in this new Miranda ruling, referred by the case Berghuis v. Thompkins, a suspect must make the invocation of their rights crystal clear, and then stop talking.  A suspect can no longer expect to be protected by Miranda, though they will still be read their rights, it is incumbent on the suspect to stop talking.

There were times when the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona ruling worked against Law Enforcement.  If the Miranda Rights were not read and the suspect confessed, anything the criminal may have said would not be admissible in trial.  Of course this is to protect the citizenry against inadvertently saying the wrong thing, or being pressured into incriminating themselves, but it may also allow a guilty person to go free.  It was a double-edged sword, of sorts.

The Revised Defense Motion

A revised motion was filed today by Mr. Mason that asks to suppress not only Casey Anthony’s statements at her home and at Universal Studios, but also asks to suppress her discussion with law enforcement on the day of her indictment, when she was in the Orange County Sheriff’s Office interview room and on camera.

READ the motion: Amended Motion to Suppress Statements.

Is the Updated Miranda Rights Ruling Retroactive?

What is unclear at this time, is whether the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling will apply to an arrest in 2008.  Common sense tells me that yes, it would be retroactive, though I am not 100% sure.

Cheney Mason contends that Casey Anthony was held against her will at Universal Studios.  Yuri Melich was very clear when he told Casey that they were in the conference room for privacy but the door was unlocked and she could leave at any time. This hardly infers Casey was in custody.

With regards to all the statements made by Casey Anthony early on, before she invoked her rights, if Berghuis v. Thompson applies, all these statements will come in.

I will continue to research this question of whether the Berghuis v. Thompkins Supreme Court ruling on Miranda will look back and cover open cases.

However, even without the application of the Supreme Court ruling, the redressed motion by Cheney Mason will probably not be successful.   I believe that anyone would be hard-pressed to find any fault with the actions of the OCSO.

(Too bad, so sad!)

24 Comments Post a comment
  1. Feb 16 2011

    Well, there ya go! Here is the answer : in June of 2010, changed by the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Berghuis v. Thompkins case.

    Mason is still living in the 1960’s

    • Feb 16 2011

      LOL! That is very true, Kim! I really want to know if this will apply retroactively…. I would think yes, but I’m just not sure. I have a lawyer in the family, too, but he’s too busy to answer my questions tonight! In the meantime, I’ve been Googling it but with no luck. 😦

  2. Feb 16 2011

    Also – at that time Casey was in process of becoming a person of interest by her own words and actions

    • Feb 16 2011

      That’s absolutely correct. And, Yuri Melich gave her all kinds of chances to change her story, to tell the truth, etc., but she refused. And, I’d like to know what law says LE cannot interrogate a person before they put them under arrest? That’s essentially what this motion is saying, I believe. The motion is a big stretch anyway….

      • Feb 16 2011

        They practically begged Casey to tell the truth – they wanted Caylee and thats all they wanted

        Casey was the obstacle

  3. Sherry
    Feb 16 2011

    I may not fully understand but why would Miranda Rights or lack thereof, apply to Casey since she was not under arrest and not even yet a suspect? I do know this much, Judge Perry knows all about it and will rule rightly.

    • Feb 16 2011

      He will, Sherry

      • Feb 16 2011

        I agree, too. Judge Perry will see through this smoke and the ASA’s will help… 🙂

    • Feb 16 2011

      Hey Sherry! Well, Mason is crying about the fact that Melich had her in handcuffs at one point, in the wee hours of the morning. I recently re-read Melich’s first report and he does refer to her being in handcuffs and then having them released fairly soon after. What the defense is doing, is s-t-r-e-c-hing to make it “seem” like her rights were violated, but they really weren’t, in my opinion anyway.

      Like Kim says above, Casey was becoming a person of interest by her own words and actions and LE had cause to think of her as a Person of interest.

      • Sherry
        Feb 16 2011

        Was she “handcuffed” before or after this questioning? If before, then Mason may have a little bit of something to go on (at least its not so far fetched a motion). If after, then he’s got nothin’!

        I believe we may be getting another lesson in law taught by Judge Perry to the defense team. I loves free edjumacation! :mrgreen:

      • Feb 16 2011

        I believe it was after she was questioned in the wee hours by Melich – when he got there at about 2 or 3 am. Then, after a bit, he took off the handcuffs. It was soon after that she went with him to try to find Zanny’s Mother’s house, and Zanny’s old apartments, etc. He dropped her back home and she was with the family at that point (I bet that’s when they were getting their stories straight, too).
        Then later he went to Universal and talked to them – found out that none of Casey’s Universal related stories were true (the people were all made up, too). I believe it was John Allen who picked Casey up at her home to bring her to Universal, at Yuri’s request. And, from there (I believe) she either went back home, or went to the station for more questioning. When she didn’t change her story, they read her her rights and placed her under arrest.
        LOL! I loves Judge Perry’s edjumacation, too!

  4. Feb 16 2011

    I will bid you ladies Adieu – my pillow is calling and tomorrow is a very big day

    • Feb 16 2011

      Oh Kim, tomorrow is the day! I will be thinking of you all day… Tell us how you did, if you can, as soon as you can, okay?

      Big hugs!!!!!!

  5. artgal16
    Feb 16 2011

    I dont think the change in a law is retroactive. However, as I dont think its relevent in this case it doesnt matter. Casey was free to leave the conference room at anytime. The door was unlocked. Cheney is desperate.

    • Feb 16 2011

      Hi Artgal. I completely agree with you that Cheney is desperate – they’ve been making so many last-ditch efforts, like Hail-Mary passes, it makes them seem even more desperate.

      I’m glad you think that the change in law isn’t even applicable. I think OCSO played this by the book with regards to how they handled Casey. And, yes, Yuri Melich made it perfectly clear to her at the beginning of that interview, that she was free to leave…. Judge Perry will do the right thing, I’m sure!

  6. Mike
    Feb 17 2011

    United States Constitution , Article 1, Section 9 and 10.
    No Bill of Attainder or EX POST FACTO law shall be passed.

    Black’s Law Dictionary 5th Edition.
    A law passed after the occurrence of a fact or commission of an act, which retrospectively changes the legal consequences or relations of such fact or deed.
    That is not to say it hasn’t been done in the history of the U.S. Ohio passed an ex post facto law in 1953 making it legal in 1804. Nevada passed a law in the 80’s retroactive to its inception into the Union in 1864.
    So, the powers that be will do what is beneficial to their cause.

    • Feb 17 2011

      Mike! Many thanks for reminding us about Ex Post Facto! I completely forgot about that important piece. I’ll have to write a new post tonight explaining how that will factor in. Thank you again!

      Sent from my iPhone

      • Mike
        Feb 17 2011

        You are welcome. I am happy to help.
        Justice for the little baby Caylee.

  7. Swift Justice
    Feb 17 2011

    Casey loved to talk as did her controlling mother Cindy.
    Yuri Melich was investigating the Kidnapping of Caylee so why would Miranda be necessary if they were trying to find a missing child? Once the Universal interview was over and done with……they knew they her goose was cooked with the lies flowing like the mighty Mississippi.
    I must say this, with Georgette being X-LE……and Cindy being the Nurse of Decomp….and both know it alls…….I’m sure Georgette asked Casey if her Miranda was not done…….after all this time….why haven’t G & C screamed to the media from minute one?
    I think Masonjar is looking for anything they can dig up to get Casey off the hook but in this case I hope it backfires on them.
    Please keep up posted as to your findings on Miranda.

    • Feb 17 2011

      Hi Swift Justice….Well, it’s being alleged (and Yuri Melich wrote this in his report) that at some point he put her in handcuffs. If that is true, then there “may” be a slight problem, and I don’t want to speculate as to what may have happened. I only know that when she was at Universal, she was not being held, she was not under arrest, and the detectives were respectful but demanding with her. If they wanted to, they could have been really tough with her, but they showed restraint, in my opinion.
      I am very anxious to hear from Yuri Melich and John Allen on this.
      And, you’ve sure got a point there – if she hadn’t been Mirandized, George and Cindy would be all over it….. But they have not brought up a single concern about this. March 2nd will be the date this motion will be heard…. And, let’s say the statements get tossed… there’s a lot more incriminating evidence, so it would not be too big a deal….but, it would be very helpful to have that Universal interview come in!

  8. CptKD
    Feb 17 2011

    Good luck today, Kim. Thoughts are with you. . . Folks, I had asked a question,but accidently posted it on an earlier post due to asking from my phone… Anyways,my question is whether Inmate Anthony is permitted access to newsprint. Is she aware of her attorneys lies and SHENANAGHANS? Seriously. Is she privy to what they are really doing out there? If I knew this is how my lawyer was conducting him/herself, I d be begging for new representation. Public defender or not. I wouldnt want CLOWNS!

  9. Sharma
    Feb 17 2011

    Remember, her first arrest was not for murder, it was for lying to LE. The murder charge didn’t happen until GA testified to Grand Jury.

    • Feb 17 2011

      You are absolutely right, Sharma! But, by the time she was indicted with murder, she already had Baez, AND she did invoke her rights again. So what ever she said after being arrested for Capital Murder, will not come in.

  10. Swift Justice
    Feb 17 2011

    Jose is blowing in the wind with his latest motion….but you could be sure he has another motion just waiting to come forth.
    We go from motion to motion…..almost on a daily basis.
    The Dumfense clowns should be lassooed and hogtied.


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