Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Illegal DPD Interrogation Gives Convicted Durham Heroin Dealer New Trial

Laughter erupted when [DPD deputy chief Ronald H.] Hodge said he didn't "recall that the Durham Police Department has been involved in something where we made major mistakes in the past five years." - Brianne Dopart, The Herald-Sun (June 6, 2007)

"Man to get new trial on heroin charges" - John Stevenson, The Herald-Sun

The state Court of Appeals awarded a new trial Tuesday to a convicted Durham heroin dealer, finding that police illegally interrogated him without first advising him of his rights.

Gregory Leon Wright had been sentenced to 30 years in prison when convicted of several heroin-trafficking offenses in March 2006.

STATE v . GREGORY LEON WRIGHT - North Carolina Court of Appeals, unpublished

"The central issue, then, is whether defendant's statements to law enforcement officers inside the residence were made as a result of an interrogation. We conclude they were...We conclude that the officers' inquiries of defendant inside the residence were not permissible “clarifications"...As there is a reasonable possibility that the evidence complained of might have contributed to the conviction, the constitutional error was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt and the defendant is entitled to a new trial..."

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