Third Parties Have No Standing to Raise Miranda Defenses – State v. Baum

[6/15/09 – 11:55 am] In this morning’s Supreme Court decision in State v. Baum, the Justices held that third party defendants may not litigate a violation of a co-defendant’s right to remain silent, even when the purported violation results in the discovery of incriminating evidence against the third party. In Baum, the police effected a motor vehicle stop and closely questioned the operator of the motor vehicle at the scene over a prolonged period of time. During the course of the questioning, the driver made admissions that resulted in the recovery of illegal drugs inside the vehicle. A co defendant, a passenger in the vehicle, filed a motion to suppress and argued that the police obtained the information related to the drugs illegally by violating the driver’s Miranda rights. However, the Supreme Court rejected this argument and ruled that both federally and in New Jersey, the Fifth Amendment privilege is purely personal with the defendant that makes the incriminating statement and does not extend to protect third parties. Simply put, such third party defendants do not have standing to raise and litigate the Miranda violation.

Download a copy of State v. Baum.

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