ADMISSION OF GUILT AT THE SCENE

by Margaret Strickland

My hope is that would not happen, but if a person were to say, flat-out, “I am guilty,” at the scene, I would probably first see if there were any oppression issues: If the person had been illegally stopped by officers. If there was any kind of Miranda violation, and then I would carefully see if possibly there was another crime in which the person plead guilty.

For example, I’ve had cases where a person is stopped and they may have marijuana in their pocket. But, maybe also they are driving a stolen car. So, the person says, “I’m guilty.” Well, what are they saying they are guilty to? If officers have charged him with having  a stolen car now, I want to say that they are guilty because they knew that they had marijuana in their pocket, which is a very low-level crime in New Mexico; not because they knew the car was stolen.

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