What Is a Motion to Suppress Evidence?

Apr

3

2011

A motion to suppress evidence is a formal, legal tool that the lawyer or pro se plaintiff may use in a trial. This is an application of law submitted to the judge in the case, asking that certain evidence be excluded from consideration in determining the outcome of a trial. A motion to suppress evidence or a motion to suppress may be sought in a criminal or civil.

United States, the legal system weighs each person’s constitutional right to privacy against the public interest to prosecute crimes and law enforcement public and private. Various rules and constitutional rights are in place to protect the privacy of citizens and prevent illegal investigations. If an enforcement agency law violates one of these privacy laws and rules, the evidence is considered overpaid. Where evidence is improperly obtained, as through an illegal search, an attorney may file a motion to suppress the evidence obtained illegally. If the prosecutor can prove that the evidence was not obtained by lawful means, the judge must grant the motion to suppress evidence.

Laws designed to protect the privacy of an individual are the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. The Fourth Amendment mandates that a person and his property can not be searched without reasonable cause. Generally, a warrant is required unless the unlawful elements, are in plain site or the police, or witnesses a crime committed.

The Fifth Amendment also protects the privacy of a person. It guarantees an individual the right to remain silent and right to avoid self-incrimination. Under a Supreme Court case called Miranda v. Arizona, the police must inform a suspect of this right – and of his right to a lawyer – before questioning.

In the justice system, no additional evidence that the police recovered following an illegal search or illegal in question is also inadmissible. This evidence is considered “fruit of poisonous tree.” For example, if the police recover a gun only because the criminal told them where the weapon is in a confession obtained illegally, the weapon is also improperly obtained evidence and may be deleted.

When a motion to suppress evidence is granted, neither the judge nor the jury can decide the matter on the basis of the evidence suppressed. The evidence is not allowed to be presented at trial at all. If the prosecutor can not make a case without the evidence obtained illegally, the criminal defendant may be acquitted.

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In: Common Questions,How to File Asked By: [3 Grey Star Level]
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More info on Co-defendant Statements:

In a California criminal case, a lawyer may move to suppress statements made by the defendant. In some cases, your defense attorney may also need to fight to suppress statements made by a codefendant. Allowing the statements into evidence unchallenged may violate your rights and severely damage your defense. The skilled California defense lawyers from The Kavinoky Law Firm are well-versed in every aspect of moving to have codefendant statements suppressed.

Defense lawyers use pretrial motions, also called motions in limine, to start the process of challenging a statement by a codefendant. A motion is an official request to the court to take a specific action. Each side will submit a brief that outlines their argument. The judge will then hold a hearing to consider the arguments and rule on the matter.

In cases where two or more codefendants are being tried together, a statement or confession made by a codefendant generally can’t be used against you if that individual doesn’t testify. Under what’s known as the Aranda-Bruton rule, your right to confront your accuser could be violated if your defense lawyer can’t cross-examine your codefendant.

Such a statement, or “declaration against penal interest,” is considered “testimonial hearsay” unless the codefendant agrees to testify. This is unlikely, since doing so would require the codefendant to waive his or her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. One exception to this is when the codefendant is unavailable to testify and the defense has already had an opportunity to cross-examine that individual.

The courts have ruled that in a joint trial, introducing a statement made by a codefendant and telling the jury to disregard it in regards to other defendants will likely violate those individuals’ rights. Merely hearing the statement will be prejudicial even if jurors are told to disregard it.

The Aranda-Bruton rule only applies to joint trials, but even when cases are being tried separately, your defense lawyer can fight to have a statement by a codefendant excluded from evidence if the individual isn’t testifying. Although there are exceptions, generally the same right to confront your accuser applies.

Your defense lawyer may also challenge statements made by a codefendant under the same principles that might be used to challenge your own statements. For example, if your codefendant asked for a lawyer and police continued their questioning without granting that request, that person’s statements may be inadmissible at your trial. These types of Miranda violations can also apply to codefendant statements.

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