Harris I – The Harris I Case Reverses the Supreme Court’s Decision to Suppress Evidence
The Harris I case presented some very odd circumstances. After an arrest, a prosecutor used a statement made by the defendant to elicit evidence of his alleged involvement in the murder of another man. However, the statement was only part of the story.
In the end, the Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s decision to suppress the statement. It also vacated the trial court’s judgment and granted the defendants a chance to appeal their applications.
Specifically, the State sought to elicit evidence of the crime of Gibson’s murder. However, the State’s attempt was thwarted by the defendant’s contention that his right to a fair trial was not upheld.
Consequently, the defendant argued that his statement was a violation of his constitutional right to be fully informed before making a statement. As a result, the appellate court had to determine whether the defendant’s assertion was reasonable under the circumstances.
The defendant argued that his constitutional right to be fully informed before making any statement was violated when the officer did not inform him of the scope of the request. He was convicted of great bodily injury and attempted murder. But the Court of Appeals ruled that the prosecutor’s use of the statement was not in violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights.
Nevertheless, the court concluded that the use of the statement was not the best use of the language of the law. This is because the legislature only used the term “truthful” instead of the more common and more precise phrase, “information.”
Nonetheless, the court concluded that the statement’s use was the only tidbit that was legally relevant to the question at hand. For instance, the court cited the People v. Allen decision, which held that the Fifth Amendment protects false statements. That decision was overruled in the People v. Bew decision.
The Supreme Court, however, remanded the case for further review in light of the Caballes decision. Despite this, the state’s argument that the Harris I statement was a gimmick is still in effect. Similarly, the State did not argue that the statute is unconstitutional. Instead, the court ruled that the defendant’s contention that he was defrauded of his due process right was insufficient.
Overall, the Harris I case is a very good case study on the importance of the o, i.e. the right to be fully informed before making a true statement. However, the court has to be careful in adhering to the language of the legislature and the people. Otherwise, it could wind up being a bad case. Hopefully, the United States Supreme Court will make a decision in the future.
Until then, the State of California will continue to fight for its rights in court. For now, though, acquittals and convictions await. Of course, it is also possible that the State of California may seek to overturn Harris I. The issue is ripe for litigation. So, be sure to consult your attorney. Likewise, be sure to read our site’s official documents.