Police Conduct Illegal Interrogation


Police

People v. Kahn

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )

Judges: Per Curiam – Hoekstra, Meter, and M.J. Kelly

Issues:

Search & seizure; The “knock-and-talk” doctrine; People v. Bolduc

Summary:

Holding that the trial court erred by not granting the defendant’s motion to suppress statements he made to police, the court reversed the ruling, vacated his conviction, and remanded. Detectives C and R went to a home owned by S, where defendant was renting part of the garage. C was carrying a digital recording device that was turned on and recording. The garage door was open so they knocked on a door to the house located inside the garage. Defendant answered and agreed to speak with the detectives inside the garage. Several times during the interview, he stated his need for an attorney, but the detectives continued their questioning. He eventually told them he had entered L’s home, where he worked as a caretaker for the property, and took money from the freezer. The trial court denied his motion to suppress the statements he made to the detectives. He was convicted of second-degree home invasion. On appeal, the court found that the situation “went beyond a simple ‘knock and talk.’” It noted that the differences between this case and Bolduc were not enough for the case to fall outside Bolduc’s parameters. “The police, on defendant’s rented property, employed coercive interrogation techniques despite the unequivocal expression of the desire for an attorney.” Given that they “continued with pressurized questioning after an unequivocal request for an attorney . . . a person in defendant’s situation would understand that his requests to terminate the encounter, like in Bolduc, were going unheard. Indeed, defendant, by requesting an attorney, was expressing the desire to terminate the encounter, on his property, but the police persisted.” Thus, pursuant to Bolduc, “the incriminating statements resulted from an unconstitutional expansion of a proper ‘knock-and-talk’ procedure.”

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