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Is a letter written in the custody of loss prevention admissible when told you would not go to jail & were told what to write?

Alpharetta, GA |

In the loss prevention investigation, can the information discussed be admissible in court? When asked if you would be arrested, the LP person said no, they then requested that a letter be written and told the person exactly what to write.

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Attorney answers 6

Posted

This is a very fact specific analysis, and more details would be necessary to be able to answer your question. Based on the fact that the officer told you explicitly you would not be arrested, it sounds like the Miranda warnings would not be required and what you wrote/said would be admissible. If you have a lawyer, have this conversation with him or her. If you don't have a lawyer, get one. Many shoplifting cases are eligible for a pretrial diversion program that results in dismissal of the case. Call me at 404-985-9772 if you'd like to discuss.

Asker

Posted

It was not the police officer that stated an arrest would not happen but the lost prevention specialist. The lost prevention specialist also stated exactly what to write in the letter and lead the person to believe that after writing what they wanted, they would be able to leave freely and go home. Also, it was not a shoplifting case.

Benjamin David Goldberg

Benjamin David Goldberg

Posted

Again, no attorney can answer your question without hearing a blow by blow of everything that happened.

Posted

Whether the statement will be admissible depends on the specifics of the situation. However, your attorney may be able to still have the document discredited. The most important thing for you to do right now is get an attorney working with you to evaluate the evidence and circumstances, then fight to protect your rights.
Please let me know if I can be of assistance. I would be happy to help.
Regards,
M. Jason Rhoades

Posted

Both answers above are correct and you need a specific analysis that only comes from an in person meeting with an attorney. You should contact one immediately.

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Posted

Contact an attorney in your area right away to discuss the case. It is quite possible, depending on your record, that you could qualify for a pre-trial diversion program or other options to try to keep the charge off your record. Don't delay in contacting an attorney.

Jamie Hernan
Hernan Law Firm
Roswell, Georgia
Criminal Defense
www.hernanfirm.com
Free initial consultations

DISCLAIMER: This answer does not constitute legal advice and no attorney client relationsip has been, or will be, created until a valid engagement agreement is signed. No duty arises from this posting. Answers posted here are general and made with limited knowledge of the actual facts of your case. Always speak with an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction if you wish legal advice specific to your case.

Posted

The LP person is not a state actor, ie police, so it matters not whether the the loss prevention personnel Mirandized the accused or not, a private citizen has no duty to inform the accused of the 5th/6th Amendment. The letter is an admission against interest, even if it was drafted after the accused was seized or placed in custody by the LP personnel. The only caveat would be if an argument could be made the LP personnel was acting at the request of law enforcement or LE was present.

Posted

Mr. Ford is correct. There is no analysis needed other than whether the LP was acting on behalf of or at the request of law enforcement. You have no rights against self incrimination with private entities. If the police elicit a statement with promises or without informing you of your rights, you can get that statement suppressed. But if a private individual (or even a rent-a-cop like the LP) searches you or interrogates you, gets some incriminating evidence, and turns it over to the police, you are unfortunately going to be screwed with regard to that particular piece of evidence.

Legal disclaimer: Brian Tevis is licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia. All information given is based only on Georgia law and is not directly applicable to any other jurisdictions, states, or districts. This response, or any response, is not legal advice. This response, or any response, does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information. Any state-specific concerns should be directed to an attorney who is licensed to practice law in that respective state.