• 5th Amendment question from TV Show

    From Rick@21:1/5 to All on Sat Apr 29 12:31:04 2023
    This situation came up in a current TV series. A woman admits to her
    teenage daughter that she killed a man. Unknown to both of them, the
    daughter has been going out with an undercover cop who is investigating the murder. This brings up a couple of questions.

    1) If the daughter admits to the cop (who she doesn't know is a cop) that
    her mother killed the man, is such hearsay evidence even remotely admissible
    in court? Assume the cop is secretly recording the girl. Would it make any difference if the girl knows it's a cop and voluntarily gives him the information (effectively making a statement to the police)? I'm thinking because it's hearsay, it wouldn't be admissible in either case.

    2) If the cop, either before or after the daughter makes the admission,
    plants a legally authorized wiretap on her and she goes home and the mother admits on the wire that she killed the man, is that admissible? In this
    case it's not hearsay, since you'd have the mother's own words, but it's
    also not under oath and sometimes people say things they don't really mean.
    But more importantly, what about her fifth amendment rights against self-incrimination?

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  • From Roy@21:1/5 to Rick on Sat Apr 29 13:26:13 2023
    On 4/29/2023 12:31 PM, Rick wrote:
    This situation came up in a current TV series.  A woman admits to her teenage daughter that she killed a man.  Unknown to both of them, the daughter has been going out with an undercover cop who is investigating
    the murder.  This brings up a couple of questions.

    1)  If the daughter admits to the cop (who she doesn't know is a cop)
    that her mother killed the man, is such hearsay evidence even remotely admissible in court?  Assume the cop is secretly recording the girl.
    Would it make any difference if the girl knows it's a cop and
    voluntarily gives him the information (effectively making a statement to
    the police)?  I'm thinking because it's hearsay, it wouldn't be
    admissible in either case.

    The cop would be double hearsay and not admissible at trial but probably
    could be used for a warrant

    The daughter would be hearsay but probably admissible under the rule's exceptions.


    2)  If the cop, either before or after the daughter makes the admission, plants a legally authorized wiretap on her and she goes home and the
    mother admits on the wire that she killed the man, is that admissible?

    A wiretap is for phones, etc. This is commonly called a wire. Probably admissible if a court authorized the bugging.

    In this case it's not hearsay, since you'd have the mother's own words,
    but it's also not under oath and sometimes people say things they don't really mean. But more importantly, what about her fifth amendment rights against self-incrimination?

    5th amendment would not apply as long as they avoid the pitfall of
    "custodial interrogation". The daughter becomes a "police agent" and her questioning after the suspect already told the police that she was
    invoking her right to an attorney and/or her right to remain silent
    would be a 5th amendment violation.

    If the daughter goes in and says to mom "do we have any milk?" and mom
    blurts out "I killed the SOB" that would probably be OK since there was
    no question asked.

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  • From Roy@21:1/5 to All on Sun Apr 30 23:10:04 2023
    Some Law & Order writers did a pretty good job with the 5th amendment in
    their scripts

    One episode has a story where 17 years ago a women who was an
    anti-Vietnam War protester is involved in a robbery where a cop is
    killed. She is questioned by police but invokes her right to a lawyer
    and one represents her. She is let go. New evidence appears and but she disappears before she can be arrested.

    Jump ahead to the present and the police encounter her and she is
    identified as the fugitive and arrested. During questioning she
    confesses to the robbery. Her attorney appears and tells the DA that
    her admission is illegally obtained. Since she had lawyer when
    questioned 17 years ago, the new interrogation is prohibited because her attorney was not present. Confession thrown out.

    This wrinkle is in the case of Edwards v. Arizona (1981). In this case
    Edwards invoked his right to attorney. The next day Edwards said he
    didn't want to talk to anyone but the police insisted on starting an interrogation without his lawyer present.

    Other TV crime shows have the suspect's rights are invoked and waved
    without and regard to this decision.

    One other note: William Kunstler appears as Himself. He was an
    American lawyer and civil rights activist, known for defending the
    Chicago Seven.

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  • From micky@21:1/5 to montanawolf@outlook.com on Mon May 1 13:04:37 2023
    In misc.legal.moderated, on Sun, 30 Apr 2023 23:10:04 -0700 (PDT), Roy <montanawolf@outlook.com> wrote:


    One other note: William Kunstler appears as Himself. He was an
    American lawyer and civil rights activist, known for defending the
    Chicago Seven.

    You know, I've never understood why they got renamed the Chicago Seven.
    It seems to ignore number 8. Seems to me they remain the Chicago Eight
    even if one of them is somewhere else.

    --
    I think you can tell, but just to be sure:
    I am not a lawyer.

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