On August 22, 2013 in Ramsey County, Minnesota, Mr. Peterson successfully argued that the police involuntarily coerced his client into making incriminating statements about the crimes he allegedly committed. In early May 2013, Mr. Peterson’s client was involved in a domestic dispute with his then girlfriend. The girlfriend accused Mr. Peterson’s client of choking her during the incident, whereas Mr. Peterson’s client claimed the fight was mutual in nature. The girlfriend called the police, and Mr. Peterson’s client left the residence.
Upon arrival, the police called the client and told him that he needed to return to the scene or he would be arrested. After returning, police handcuffed Mr. Peterson’s client and put him in the back of a squad car for several minutes. Police then proceeded to interrogate him in the back of the car without first reading him his Miranda rights. The client gave several incriminating statements, which the police used to arrest him for domestic assault.
After arresting the client, the police proceeded to take him to the Ramsey County jail and hold him for a period of several hours. An investigator then pulled him into an interrogation room and asked him to give another statement; this time after having him read and sign a Miranda rights form. The client gave a statement that was nearly identical to the first.
At the contested hearing, the police claimed that they did not need to read the client his Miranda rights because he wasn’t under arrest. They further argued that regardless, they eventually read him the Miranda warning while in jail, which the client signed. However, Mr. Peterson convinced the judge that although his client wasn’t under arrest, he was deprived of his freedom to leave such that he thought he was being detained. Furthermore, he also convinced the judge that both statements should be suppressed since the police used the previous illegal statement to get the second, Mirandized statement from his client.
This victory resulted in the client’s statements being suppressed, meaning that they could not be used in trial. Without this evidence, the prosecutor had substantially less ability to convict Mr. Peterson’s client at trial, and offered him a favorable plea bargain.
The text of the order can be found here: