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Fort Peck Court of Appeals Rules on Timing of Rights Admonishments February 17, 2008

Posted by rezjudicata in Fort Peck Court of Appeals, Tribal Courts.
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Fort Peck Tribes v. First, No. 467 (Ft. Peck App. Jan. 25, 2008)

Issue(s): Criminal Procedure > Post-arrest Admonishments

Upon arrest, the Fort Peck Tribal Code requires police officers to “immediately” advise suspects of tribal rights. After First violated terms of his probation, the probation officer called the Tribal Police Department to arrest First. The officer did not advise First of his rights until the car ride to jail. By failing to admonish First at the scene of arrest, did the officer illegally detain the defendant?

Yes, said the Fort Peck Court of Appeals. The term “immediate” means that, after arresting a suspect, the officer must inform the suspect of his rights the next instant. Though adopting a “literal interpretation” of the Code, the Court recognized that circumstances surrounding and arrest may justify forestalling the admonishment. In this case, however, no such circumstances existed. The Court also said that the term “immediately” signified the importance of the rights guaranteed by the Code. Implicitly, then, a literal reading erred on the side of protecting those rights. Therefore, because the officer waited some time before advising First of his rights, the arrest and subsequent detention were illegal.

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