By: Sophia North
Jenny Smith Miranda Rights were potentially violated by the police, who commenced an interrogation on her without the presence of a legal guardian. Her court case was appealed.
The appellee believes that the officers’ mistake were harmless; however, the appellant views this as a crucial aspect of the case. On Friday, January 27 the appellate court began reviewing the case and by the end a majority of the rounds ruled in favor of the appellant.
Police officers’ duties include protecting people, property, enforcing laws and bringing justice. In this case, the appellee is unsure if the police officers balanced both people’s rights and bringing justice.
“It is the responsibility of police officers to find the truth, but not at the cost of procedural safeguards,” Simon Penn said.
Officer Court was accused of violating these rights by telling Smith she would go to “at bat” for her, meaning she promised to help her if she confessed to her crime.
“I think she overstepped her boundaries of the position by trying to coheres the child who had a right to remain silent,” Judge William Cerny said.
On a separate record, though, Officer Court said that she did not make any promises to Jenny.
Smith is a minor, and the appellants’ worry that Jenny was unaware of her Miranda rights upon entering the interrogation and therefore, she was violated of those rights by the police officers. They propose that she did not know that she could remain silent and so she confessed.
“People need to know their Miranda rights,” Cerny said. “If the police officer is trying to get them to confess when they have the right to remain silent there is a problem.”
However, the potential violation of Smith’s rights is also seen as the fault of others present during the process of her conviction.
“It is more the fault of the court system, because if they are not applying those procedural safeguards correctly then society can be impacted because people are convicted unfairly and unreasonably,” Penn said.
In recent years’ society’s perspectives of police officers have altered due to police brutality, such as the shooting of Michael Brown, which caused protests in Missouri. As well as social media bringing to light numerous videos of police being violent, causing some to question the intentions of the police force.
“The first purpose of police officers was to make sure that the people are protected and I think that we need to go back to that,” Penn said. “It seems that in society today police officers are now being viewed as people that are just trying to get a confession.”
Despite the concerns, Alain Cisneros reflects on the fact that police officers are not perfect.
“Humans are humans,” Cisneros said. “They make mistakes and this court case can be used to learn from so in the future we can handle this in a different way.”