Bryant Case Could Hinge On Miranda Controversy

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Kobe Bryant initially talked with Eagle County, Co., detectives for about 75 minutes about a woman’s accusation of sexual assault. He wasn’t read the Miranda warning that he had a right to remain silent and to have a lawyer present during questioning, USA Today says. He didn’t know that one officer was taping the conversation. The outcome of his case may turn on this incident. His attorneys say the taped talk can’t be allowed as evidence because police never gave Bryant a Miranda warning. “It’s going to depend on what he said,” says Karen Steinhauser, a former prosecutor who teaches law at the University of Denver. If Bryant denied to detectives having sex with his accuser, “it shows he lied to police. And why would he lie if he was not trying to cover something up?” Steinhauser says.

A major question is whether Bryant was “in custody” when he talked to the detectives. If he was, police should have told Bryant about his Miranda rights, a legal warning familiar to TV viewers of police dramas. “Whether a person is in custody or a reasonable person would think he is in custody is the key issue,” says Andrew Cohen, a Denver-based commentator and lawyer. “Did he think he could leave the interview? Did he have reason to believe he was literally at the mercy of police? It’s a factual issue that is hard to define with a bright line.”

Link: http://www.usatoday.com/usatonline/20040409/6100818s.htm

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