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Criminal Procedure Keyed to Miller
People v. Adrian Thomas
Citation:8 N.E.3d 308 (N.Y. 2014)
After his four-month-old son, Matthew, died due to suspected blunt force trauma, police took Thomas (defendant) to the police station for interrogation. The officers stated that Matthew was murdered but assured Thomas that he would not be arrested and would be able to go home. When Thomas denied hurting Matthew, the officers falsely told him that his wife blamed him for their son’s death and that if he did not take responsibility, they would take his wife into custody as well. Thomas agreed to “take the fall” for his wife, although he continued to insist that he did not harm Matthew.
Before the interrogation recommenced, Matthew was pronounced brain dead. Still, the officers told Thomas that Matthew was alive and that he could help save his son if he told the police how he caused the injuries. After four hours, Thomas said that he accidentally dropped his son into his crib and bumped his head and that may have caused the injury. The officers accused Thomas of lying, stating that Matthew’s injuries could only have resulted from a greater application of force. One officer suggested that Thomas may have thrown his son onto his mattress out of frustration with his wife, and he instructed Thomas to demonstrate with a clipboard how he threw his son, which was captured on the interrogation video. Thomas then expanded on his statement, admitting that he threw his son in precisely the way the officer had specified.
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