Spanish Miranda Warnings OK’ed by New Jersey Supreme Court

In March of 2019, The New Jersey Supreme Court held that a criminal defendant’s Miranda rights were not violated. In the case, a Spanish-speaking defendant was given a Spanish Miranda-waiver form before being interrogated and the officer conducting the interrogation did it in Spanish.

The defendant in this matter was charged with sexually assaulting his step-granddaughter. The defendant was brought to the police station for questioning. There, the defendant stated that he was more comfortable speaking in Spanish. Thus, the police sent in an officer who spoke Spanish. That officer assisted in translating the interview from English to Spanish. Also, before conducting the interrogation, a Miranda rights form and waiver form, which was written in Spanish, was given to the defendant.

The Spanish-speaking detective read the defendant his Miranda rights from the Spanish form. The officer paused after reading each line to wait for the defendant to acknowledge that he understood what was read to him. The defendant replied “si” after each pause. After completing this form, the detective interrogated the defendant. During the interrogation, the defendant admitted to committing sexual assault.

During trial, the defendant moved to suppress statements he made to the police officers. He contended that his waiver of his Miranda rights was not made knowingly and voluntarily. The State contended that the steps taken by police officers during the interrogation ensured that the defendant understood his rights and that he made a knowing and voluntary waiver of those rights. The Supreme Court of New Jersey agreed with the State. It found that the defendant knowingly and voluntarily waived his Miranda rights because the police provided a Spanish speaking detective to translate the interview. Moreover, the detective reviewed the Miranda waiver form with the defendant. The Court held that the defendant understood his rights and knowingly and voluntarily renounced them.

Thomas DeMarco & Associates, LLC is an experienced Camden County criminal defense law firm located in Mt. Ephraim, New Jersey. Our firm handles all criminal matters and is ready to fight for your rights. Contact us to discuss your matter.

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