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Attorney General Finds Problems with State Police Auto Stops

According to a report issued by the state Attorney General's office, during traffic stops conducted in 2009, the New Jersey State Police failed to inform suspects of their Miranda rights a "troubling" number of times. 248 Errors were made during traffic stops reviewed by the AG's office. Most people are familiar

Of the 429 stops reviewed, troopers failed to give Miranda warnings correctly in 74 instances, in spite of recent training on the issue. In 16 of these instances, the error was not caught until an internal review was conducted.

The head of the State Police Union was critical of the report, saying that the rules governing stops were confusing and that the officers did nothing wrong. I find this rather self-serving. The State Police are confused by their own rules governing traffice stops that THEY conduct!?

A spokes for the State Police elaborated, stating essentially that in light of the recent training, they EXPECT this type of error rate. These "errors" are potentially major violations of a suspect's constitutional rights.

The State Police regularly review all motor vehicle stops that result in actions such as a search or arrest. Then the office conducts another review to ensure that no policy violations were committed. Apparently State Police Miranda procedures were altered in light of a 2009 New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that tightened the standards for vehicle searches. After that decision, the NJSP implemented a policy requiring everyone in a vehicle to be arrested if a trooper has probably cause. Next, a suspect MUST be given their Miranda warnings before further questioning is done. Problems were identified and more traing was given.

Miranda warning issues can be a major issue in any criminal case and be an issue that destroys the State's case against a criminal defendant. I wish that I had a dollar for every client who spoke to the police BEFORE being read their Miranda rights ("You have the right to remain silent", etc. ).

If you have been stopped by the police, whether it be for a traffic offense, drug crime, or if the police have tried to speak with you in connection with a drug crime, assault, homicide, you need an experienced northern new jersey criminal defense attorney to represent you.

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