Wisconsin Court of Appeals throws out confession of man who confessed to armored car robbery www.privateofficer.com
St. Croix County WI Feb 9 2012 The state Court of Appeals has thrown out a man’s confession to an armed robbery because it occurred after he had asked for a lawyer and invoked his right to remain silent during a police interrogation.
Five years after a 2003 armed robbery of an armored car in St. Croix County, investigators linked a gun used in the crime to Zachary Wiegand. He was picked up and questioned for over an hour about possible welfare fraud before a different officer, who worked with Wiegand’s father, also a police officer, took over the interview.
Though Wiegand, 35, had agreed to talk about the welfare fraud after police read him his Miranda rights, when the conversation turned to the gun, he said he wanted a lawyer. The second officer kept telling him he was only trying to help Wiegand out. Wiegand ultimately made incriminating statements, police then searched his home and car, and he was charged in 2009 with armed robbery and arson (because a minivan used in the robbery was found burning near the crime scene).
After the trial court denied Wiegand’s motion to suppress his subsequent inculpatory statements, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He then appealed.
“This is a straightforward case,” the appellate court found.
During the course of a custodial interrogation, (an officer) asked Wiegand a question meant to elicit an incriminating response. Wiegand responded, “I don’t want to say anything more.” We discern no ambiguity in the meaning of that statement. This is particularly so given that
the statement was immediately followed with a mention of “lawyer.”
The ruling sends the case back, but Wiegand’s admissions, and the evidence obtained from a search warrant based on his confession, must all be suppressed.