Stephen G. Cobb - Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

Can I Get A Confession Thrown Out In A Criminal Case?


Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

It may be possible to get a confession thrown out in a criminal case. This type of question is the number one reason why most criminal defense lawyers in Florida cannot pass the board certification exam. Even experienced lawyers are often confused when it comes to an analysis of the Fifth Amendment and Sixth Amendment-particularly when there are Fourth Amendment considerations as well.

The first step is to get the client’s version of what happened. I use a four-day fact pattern report process. Marketing directors of law firms frequently want lawyers to do lots of office chats and hand holding as a way to cross-sell, resell and upsell. There is just one problem for this method of gathering factual information for potential motions to suppress a statement or confession: it doesn’t work. So, we use the fact pattern report process instead.

After we file our initial pleadings, we will get a discovery exhibit from the state of Florida, which is a series of documents that are produced pursuant to the Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.220B. Both the state and the defense are bound by the discovery rules if the defense elects to participate in the discovery process. I would guess that lawyers are going to want to engage in the discovery process 99.99% of the time, even though it has reciprocal duties. This is how you learn about a case and how you learn about the facts. In order to know whether or not a confession can be thrown out, we have to first know what the other side is going to say.

As body cams become more common, statements that are made outside of court are being scrutinized more carefully. We are finding all kinds of violations that we knew existed before, but could not prove. As a result, officers could not always be held accountable for their actions. In order to know whether or not a person’s statement or confession can be thrown out, we have to go over the facts with a top-notch criminal defense lawyer. It’s important that the lawyer understand that while you are telling your side of the story and you’ve written your fact pattern report, the answer will not be certain until all of the evidence has been examined. Only after all of the evidence has been carefully examined, tested and weighed can a defense attorney make a judgment call as to whether or not to file a suppression motion.

Is There Any Evidence That Absolutely Cannot Be Suppressed?

There is evidence that absolutely cannot be suppressed. There is an emerging body of case law that starts with Miranda vs. Arizona and continues to grow. The exclusionary rule is the rule that prohibits evidence obtained unlawfully from being used in a criminal trial. However, the exclusionary rule has come under attack ever since its creation simply because it’s pretty brutal in terms of the effect, many politicians believe that it allows people to get away with crimes, and many judges and prosecutors don’t like it.

Attempting to suppress evidence is a difficult process that requires gathering all of the facts of the case and comparing them to thousands of other cases. The United States is generally a case law country and the state of Florida is a case law state. Once you have gathered all of the factual information in this brand new case, you have to compare it to similar cases.

In some of the cases, the evidence is suppressed. In other cases that are almost identical, the evidence is not suppressed. This is because there are some facts that may seem to a criminal defendant to be very minor, when in actuality they end up being the deal breaker for suppression. So, you start from the position that evidence is not suppressible, and then as you are working on a case, you analyze whether or not you can get the evidence suppressed based upon the facts.

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

For more information on Suppression Of A Confession In A Case, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (850) 466-1522 today.

Stephen G. Cobb, Esq.

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