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Appellate Division Judge Jose Fuentes

A New Jersey appeals court has ruled that police and prosecutors need to take greater care in ensuring that non-English-speaking defendants clearly understand their right to decline interrogation, and reiterated that the state has a “heavy burden” of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that defendants knowingly and willingly give up to right to remain silent.

The three-judge Appellate Division panel, in a published ruling in State v. A.M., voided a Mexican native’s plea to a sexual assault charge and six-year sentence because it was not clear that the defendant knew what he was doing when he waived his Miranda rights in admitting to inappropriately touching his step-granddaughter.

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Michael Booth

Trenton Bureau Chief New Jersey Law Journal American Lawyer Media [email protected] Twitter: @mboothnjlj

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