Motion to Suppress Statements Allowed

A judge in the Salem Superior Court allowed my motion to suppress my client’s statements made while local police and federal agents were executing a search warrant in his house. While my client was not formally in custody as he was in his home and not under arrest, the 6 a.m. entry of 11 or more law enforcement officers in body armor with their guns drawn created an environment where he reasonably felt that he was not free to leave. His movements within the house were restricted and one of the officers brought him down to the basement to ask him questions about an item found there. In considering these factors, the judge ruled that my client was in a constructive custodial setting requiring Miranda advisements before any questioning could occur, so his statements in the basement were suppressed. The police eventually sat him down for an interview in his kitchen and a Russian-speaking police officer gave him Miranda advisements that he translated from a form written in English. I hired a Russian interpreter to translate the Russian advisements back into English, and it became clear that the officer had made errors in the translation. The judge found that the advisements were sufficiently deficient to require suppression of the interview too.