A controversial argument has been made by attorneys representing the man accused of killing Mollie Tibbetts. They argue that their client, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, had his constitutional rights were "violated under questioning by law enforcement."
They filed a document that attempts to point out the ways that 24-year-old Bahena Rivera's constitutional rights were violated by police officers.
As stated on the Desmoines Register, "Bahena Rivera’s attorneys, Chad and Jennifer Frese, filed a 29-page motion in March in which they said that Bahena Rivera was not told about his right to an attorney or his right to decline to cooperate until hours into his 12-hour-long interview with law enforcement. They argued that any confession he made was thus involuntary."
The new filing for Bahena Rivera tries to point out that he had undocumented immigrant status a Mexican national and should have been placed in contact with the Mexican consulate. This was supposed to happen earlier in the interview process, if the report is true.
The documents filed also suggest that police officers read the Miranda rights to Bahena Rivera a few hours into their interview, and the Miranda Rights were not read to him in full.
Miranda Rights must be read in full and the suspect or person detained must understand they can remain silent. They must also accept that any words they speak can and will be used against them, and that they're entitled to an attorney - either one they have, or provided to them.
This is supposed to be made apparent to the person before the questioning begins, so police officers are being targeted by Bahena Rivera's attorney's for the way they handled the Miranda Rights.
"In this case, it is readily apparent that the Spanish-language warning did not meet the requirements,” the Freses wrote, adding that the officer did not properly affirm that Bahena Rivera understood his rights.
They called the warning that was given to him “deficient,” adding that Bahena Rivera said that, if he’d been told he could contact the Mexican consulate, he wouldn’t have given any statements before speaking with that office.
The attorneys also said the episode was best described as an interrogation of Bahena Rivera, pointing out that during the several hours he was “isolated,” six officers spoke to him."
Will the incident with the Miranda Rights change the outcome of Bahena Rivera's trial?