MI Appeals Court Rules Dalton Confession Inadmissible
A Michigan appeals court has ruled that police violated Jason Dalton's constitutional rights, thus throwing out any statements he made during his interrogation.
The ruling comes after the Supreme Court in March sent back to the Michigan Court of Appeals to rule on whether Dalton's Fifth and Sixth amendment right were violated following the events of February 20, 2016, where six people were murdered in the Kalamazoo area and two others critically injured. Dalton has been awaiting trial, which has been delayed for two years.
The court appointed appeals lawyer, Anastase Markou of Kalamazoo law firm, Levine and Levine, said: “In our system of justice, everyone – no matter the severity of the crime – is entitled to their constitutional rights. As a criminal defense attorney, our fundamental role is to help to preserve everyone’s constitutional rights and the constitution itself.”
According to a release from the law firm, the ruling was based on:
The court’s ruling is based on the following:
The public safety exception, which allows police questioning despite the absence of a waiver of Miranda, is not applicable when a person has been read Miranda rights and then those rights are invoked.
The type of questions asked of Dalton and when they were asked during the first interview did not fit the public safety exception.
Law enforcement did not honor Dalton’s invocation of his Miranda Rights during both interviews, and because of the first interview, the second interview was a product of an illegally-obtained confession.
Dalton did not initiate conversation with law enforcement after asserting his Miranda Rights during the second interview; moreover, the law enforcement officer continued to interrogate Dalton and did not respect his Miranda Rights.
Police should not have interacted with Dalton until an attorney, at Dalton’s request, was made available to him.