Totality of Circumstances controls Miranda Waiver Claims – State v. Nyhammer

This morning’s New Jersey Supreme Court opinion in State v. Nyhammer is a critically important decision on two independent legal issues. First, the Court declined to adopt a per se rule for Miranda warnings that would require that defendants being questioned by police be re-advised of their constitutional rights when the focus of the police interview changes from investigatory to accusatory. Instead, an initial Miranda warning is satisfactory and a later challenge to the voluntariness of the defendant’s Miranda waiver will be based upon the traditional “totality of the circumstances” test.

In this case, the Justices also ruled that in order for a defendant to successfully claim a confrontation clause violation based upon the limited testimony of a reluctant, unresponsive witness, the defendant must attempt to conduct a cross-examination of the witness by asking questions directly related to critical issues in the case. Failure to do so, as occurred in this case, constitutes a waiver.

Download a copy of State v. Nyhammer.

Category: Muni-Mail Archive