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Benjamin v. State
Mississippi Supreme Court
116 So. 3d 115 (2013)
A person was shot dead at a gas station. Police interviewed several boys who were involved in the shooting. Tevin Benjamin (defendant) was identified during these interviews. Police arrested and questioned Benjamin. Benjamin was 14 years old and had his mother present during questioning. Officers Mirandized Benjamin and informed him that he was being charged with capital murder. Benjamin requested a lawyer. Benjamin’s mother stated that she could not afford a lawyer. One officer stated that Benjamin would have to talk to a lawyer and could not be pressured into talking to police but gave Benjamin and his mother time to discuss the matter. After the officers left the room, Benjamin’s mother advised Benjamin to talk. When the officers returned, Benjamin’s mother asked what Benjamin must do if he wanted to talk. The officers stated that Benjamin would have to request to talk to someone, either a lawyer, the judge, or police. The officers added that they had everything they needed and did not need to talk to Benjamin, only wanted his side of the story. The officers informed Benjamin that because he was charged with capital murder, he would have to spend the night in jail. The officers again left the room so that Benjamin could talk to his mother. Benjamin’s mother then informed police that Benjamin wanted to talk. The officers advised Benjamin of his Miranda rights. Benjamin asked whether he would be jailed at the end of the interview. The officers stated that Benjamin’s detainment would depend on how he answered their questions. During questioning, and despite pressure from the officers and his mother to tell the truth, Benjamin insisted that he had been at a fair the night of the shooting. The state (plaintiff) nevertheless charged Benjamin with murder. Benjamin moved to suppress statements he made to police during his interview. The trial court denied the motion. Benjamin was convicted and appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Chandler, J.)
Dissent (Pierce, J.)
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