NJ Supreme Court Overturns Murder and Manslaughter Convictions

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On August 17, 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court overturned the murder and manslaughter convictions in State v. Michael A. Maltese. In this case, the defendant was accused of killing his parents.

The defendant was read his Miranda rights and asked to speak with his uncle before answering any further questions from the investigators. The investigators allowed him to speak with his uncle and promised that they would turn off the video camera. However, they did not turn off the camera and the defendant subsequently confessed.

The Supreme Court found that it was improper for the investigators to leave the camera on while the defendant spoke with his uncle, since they misrepresented that it would be turned off. Furthermore, the Court found that the investigators engaged the uncle to assist with the investigation. Therefore, the Court found that the interrogation continued after the defendant asserted his Fifth Amendment right.

The Court reversed the defendant’s murder and manslaughter convictions and remanded the case for a new pre-trial hearing.