St. Joseph Michigan Criminal Defense Blog

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About the Miranda Warning

Update: Police Have No Duty to Inform You an Attorney is Attempting Contact

About the Miranda Warning
You’ve seen it in countless films: the suspect, sitting at an interrogation desk, forcefully telling the police that he won’t be saying another word until his lawyer arrives. And while there’s some truth to the notion that a suspect does have a right to have an attorney present (it is among the so-called Miranda rights), there are technicalities that make this right a little more complex than you might think. Peter J. Johnson, a leading criminal lawyer in Michigan, wants you to know exactly what rights you have when the police are interrogating you.

About the Miranda

Warning
Police are required to deliver their state’s version of the Miranda warning to all suspects in police custody. You’ve heard the gist of it in movies and television. The part we’re talking about today is the “You have a right to an attorney” part. Essentially, it means that you have a right to have an attorney present during all police interactions and to have an attorney defend you in court proceedings.

However, it is possible for suspects to waive their Miranda rights. If you elect to speak with the police without an attorney present and indicate to the police that this is what you intend to do, you have effectively waived your right to have an attorney present. This is where things get complicated.

According to a 2014 ruling out of the Michigan Supreme Court, People v Tanner, the police are not required to inform you that an attorney is attempting to contact you if you have already waived your Miranda rights. Once you agree to give a statement without an attorney present, the police are under no obligation to suspend actions when and if an attorney shows up. If you do not waive your Miranda rights, the police cannot speak with you unless your attorney is present and statements they obtain without an attorney present may not hold up in court.

Any criminal lawyer in Michigan will advise that you do not waive your Miranda rights. Speaking with an attorney is critical if you want to ensure you are aware of all of the options available to you. If you have questions about Miranda rights or recent court rulings, please contact us for assistance via www.AttorneyPeterJohnson.com or 269.982.1100.

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Michigan Supreme Court Rules on Miller v Alabama

Update: Michigan Supreme Court Rules on Miller v Alabama

Michigan Supreme Court Rules on Miller v Alabama

Peter J. Johnson is a leading criminal defense attorney in Michigan who works to ensure the rights of his clients are always respected and to help his clients understand how laws affect ongoing or concluded court proceedings. At the Law Office of Peter J. Johnson, we believe that it is of the utmost importance that our clients are well-informed as to the impact that recent court decisions or legislation can have on their particular case.

With that in mind, here’s an update on a major decision out of the Michigan Supreme Court:

Miller v Alabama

In 2012, the United States Supreme Court ruled that mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole should no longer be considered when sentencing juvenile offenders. The Court held that such sentencing was unconstitutional in that it violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. However, the Court did not dictate whether this decision would apply retroactively; in other words, juvenile offenders already serving life sentences were not guaranteed a re-trial, leaving the matter up to the states.

Juvenile Offenders in Michigan

On July 8, 2014, the Michigan Supreme Court issued its decision in People v. Carp, a case dating back to 2006 in which a 15-year-old was sentenced to life in prison without parole. The challenge from the defendant was essentially framed as an appeal to ask the Michigan Supreme Court to take the Miller v Alabama case into mind. The Michigan Supreme Court, however, determined that Miller v Alabama does not apply retroactively, and thus cannot be considered in this type of appeal.

The issue is far from settled. A U.S. district judge has ordered parole hearings for juveniles sentenced to life before the Miller v Alabama ruling, but Michigan Attorney General Bill Shuette is currently appealing that decision. Michigan inmates will, therefore, need to wait for the dust to settle before any re-sentencings might occur.

The future of juvenile offenders in Michigan is unclear. While they can no longer be sentenced to life in prison, those who were sentenced before Miller v Alabama may end up having to serve their full sentences. Criminal defense attorneys in Michigan (and their clients) are all awaiting more news from the federal courts to see where this issue will go next.

For more information on this matter or to schedule a free consultation, please visit www.AttorneyPeterJohnson.com or contact us at 269.982.1100.

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