‘Mommy!’ Isn’t A Demand For Lawyer, New Jersey Supreme Court Rules

By David Madden

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey’s highest court, in a 3-2 split, has ruled that a defendant who asks to speak to his mother is not necessarily invoking his right to remain silent.

The case in question involves a 2008 murder in Morris County, NJ. The 19-year-old suspect at the time was discussing the case with detectives but decided he wanted to speak with his mother before confessing.

Should the cops have stopped their questioning at that point? A majority on the New Jersey Supreme Court has decided the teen’s remark did not rise to the level of a request for counsel (familiar to everyone who’s heard a “Miranda” warning).

But Mount Holly defense attorney Mike Riley looks at the 52-page opinion and notes the dissent. A former Burlington County prosecutor, he suggests there’s enough wiggle room for both sides to make use of this opinion in future cases.

“The fact that he said, ‘I want to stop speaking until I speak to my mother’ — the operative words were ‘I want to stop speaking to you’ — and that point, they should have stopped,” Riley believes.

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One Comment

  1. tngilmer says:

    Only an Obama-Holder liberal could twist the Constitution to say that Momma=Lawyer. By the way, specifically where in the Constitution is the Miranda requirement found? I have read the Constitution many times and I cannot find it.

  2. Matthew Steffen says:

    Great blog! I’m Matt from http://www.imprinsic.com and it’s good to get inspiration from fellow bloggers such as yourself. Stop by sometime! Thanks!

  3. Sugartown Super says:

    Amazing how much the NJ Supreme Court Building looks like the US Supreme Court Building. Oh, wait…that IS the US Supreme Court Building! CBS Philly needs to check their photo files…

  4. JC says:

    all’s this idiot had to do is stop talking and remained totally silent. Let them keep asking you questions……and don’t open your mouth. Totally the right decision. And the fact that “before I confess I want to talk to my Mommy” basically confirms you did it and you did something to confess about.

  5. Bill says:

    If “Momma” is a lawyer, it COULD be. The original “Law & Order” had a similar situation. A relative of a suspect identified themself AS a lawyer.

    1. M Crosby says:

      Maybe momma very well could be a lawyer. How are the police in a position to know that? If momma was a lawyer, he should have said that he wanted to speak to his “lawyer” and not a I wanna speak to my “momma.”

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