With the recent tragedy at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando the internet is going crazy with renewed arguments on gun control and the right to bear arms. There are those that believe a gun, in the right hands, can save lives while others feel the access to firearms must be more strictly monitored. Ours is a country founded on certain freedoms, chief among those is the right to defend oneself from harm. But as the years have gone by those freedoms have been slowly chipped away at, even when the highest court in the land has said that all citizens are entitled to certain “unalienable rights”. One of those rights is the right to remain silent, and the right to be told you can remain silent.

In the case of State v. Maloney, the issue of public safety was addressed. In that case, an officer who arrived on the scene of a motorcycle gang shootout took action to restrain those that he could, without first reading the Miranda warnings. The defendant in that case eventually had some of his weapons seized and admitted to being the owner of those weapons. Upon arrest and during the case the defendant claimed anything seized could not be used as evidence against him because he has not been read his rights. The Court agreed and the State appealed, claiming the detention of the defendant was in the best interests of the public safety and thus the requirement to give the defendant his Miranda warnings did not apply. Here is what the Court said about the public safety exception:

  • A threat must be imminent.
  • The determination of an imminent threat is to be made using a “reasonable person” standard, as in what would a reasonable officer in that situation perceive as imminent?

In the Maloney case the State eventually won on appeal, using the public safety exception rule. The lesson to learn here is that keeping bystanders safe is important, and we can all agree that to be the truth. But we can also all agree that there are certain rights that should not be violated, and if you believe yours have been then it is time to take action. Call us today for an analysis of your case and let us help you make sure the decisions reached fit the facts at hand.


For more information about criminal defense, call an experienced defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. We offer an initial consultation for no charge, and look forward to working with you.