"Do I Need A Lawyer?"

Joe Price May Find Out At Today’s Status Hearing.  

At the January 15 status hearing, Judge Lynn Leibovitz set several deadlines for both sides to hit.  The result?  Motion after motion after motion. 

The Obligatory Moultrie Courthouse Pic

In January, Leibovitz denied the Motion to Dismiss just days after getting the papers; warp speed compared to her predecessor.  A lot is in front of her today and maybe we’ll see more rulings. 

If however, she chooses to read each of her decisions in full, like that one lecture to the defense, it could be a long afternoon.  

Uncharged Conduct, motions to severcompel and of course, the Mirandas; those very much front and center today.  Defendants Dylan Ward and Victor Zaborsky’s motions to suppress were posted last week and now we get a look at Joe Price’s.   His follows the same contours as his  co-defendants’, and like Zaborsky’s lacks transcript portions.  It  asserts that Price was held and questioned involuntarily without his being made aware of his rights.

“The detectives (Wagner and Norris) openly challenged Mr. Price’s account of what happened and accused him of killing Mr. Wone.  Mr. Price asked the two detectives if he could leave or if he needed a lawyer.  Both detectives ignored Mr. Price’s question about whether he was free to leave and they simply continued the interrogation.  The interview ended at 5:20 a.m.    

At approximately 8:00 a.m., Detective Brian Waid approached Mr. Price, who was waiting with Mr. Zaborsky, stated that he was the detective in charge of the case, and told (them) he needed to personally question them about Mr. Wone’s murder… escorted (them) into two separate interrogation rooms… Detective Waid then left Mr. Price locked in the interrogation room alone for a prolonged period of time.” 

Oh the irony, caging and confinement.  But beyond the irony, another WTF moment; Price, trained in criminal law at William and Mary UVA, having practiced law for years on K Street, had to ask good cop / bad cop  “..if he needed a lawyer.”   Just what doesn’t add up with that?   There’s another 400 words with that alone but it’s getting late.  

And speaking of Miranda; a tough couple of days.  The National Law Journal’s Tony Mauro had this:  “It has not been a good week for the famed Miranda warning at the hands of the Supreme Court.”  Not a good week for who exactly? 

Judge Leibovitz gavels in at 2:45pm in room 210.  Updates here from Moultrie as warranted.  Maybe on the twitter too.  Headlines after adjournment and the full recap around 7:00pm.  Stringers and freelancers always welcome. 

-posted by Craig

16 comments for “"Do I Need A Lawyer?"

  1. Hoya Loya
    03/12/2010 at 11:04 AM

    To point out once again how bizarre the Miranda defense is in this case, both cases Mauro discusses involve confessions. There are no confessions to supress in this case. Only the defendants statements in self-defense.

    Joe & co. seem to be claiming that those statements can’t be used to prove a conspiracy. But they also claim that they fully cooperated with police. Were these involuntary custodial statements or statements made in full cooperation with the investigation. Which is it Joe?

  2. former crackho
    03/12/2010 at 11:06 AM

    Oh, cry me a river. If you want an attorney and they won’t bring you one, shut your trap and refuse to answer any questions until they do.

  3. Lyn
    03/12/2010 at 11:08 AM

    Whether or not I was read my rights, if I was questioned by police and told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, I can’t on earth imagine why I would want those statements “suppressed.”

    • former crackho
      03/12/2010 at 12:47 PM

      “if I was questioned by police and told the truth, the whole truth”

      Exactly. IF I told the truth.

      • Lyn
        03/12/2010 at 1:20 PM

        I’d love it if today’s court proceedings included something like this:

        Prosecutor to judge: “The defense claims the defendants have been truthful with police and haven’t obstructed. If the defendants were truthful, why do they want those truthful statements suppressed?”

        Judge [looking at defense counsel]: “Well?”

        Defense counsel: “Um….”

        • Hoya Loya
          03/12/2010 at 1:40 PM


  4. METO
    03/12/2010 at 11:09 AM


    I write to provide a supposition on why Joe Price would ask his interragotors whether he was free to go or needed a lawyer. I know nothing in Miranda cases that places a higher burden on a suspect who happens to have a legal education including criminal law. It could be that Joe with his legal knowledge knew that by asking that question was creating an opportunity for himself down the road to assert the defense motion now filed.

    Assuming that Joe’s version of events is accurate, ignoring the question could give rise to the inference that Joe was not free to go and thus was in custody for purposes of Miranda analysis. Then by asking the question, he may have placed some burdon the police, but the cases as I remember them (e.g. Edwards v. Arizona) suggest that the magic words to stop an interrogation are “I want a lawyer” and Joe should have known that.

    Nonetheless, the recent filings about Miranda by the Defense trouble me as an attorney who believes very strongly in Miranda and the rights of Defendants (no matter what I may think about this case). The best argument for the prosecution is (as I think has already been suggested by others) that since the defendants are not charged with murder and instead obstruction, the statements are not being admitted to prove murder but rather the obstruction — that is that the custodial interrogations (if that is what they were) should be admitted not for the truth of proving the ultimate crime, but as part of the crime for which they are charged now.

    But unless the Defense is just lying about the lack of Miranda, these are troubled waters for the prosecution and another example (again if true) of a truly messed up investigation.



    • Lyn
      03/12/2010 at 11:56 AM

      “But unless the Defense is just lying about the lack of Miranda”

      Why not? What do they have to lose by trying this tactic?

      The filing mentions that substantiating a Miranda reading is based on a preponderence of the evidence. Let’s say I get a ticket for speeding after a police officer “paces” me and I go to court to challange it. I will lose every single time because the judge will listen to the officer say “he was speeding”, the judge will listen to me say “no, I was not speeding”, and then will say that I have a reason to lie whereas the officer doesn’t. In other words, the officer’s testimony will have more credibility.

      If police testify that the trouple were read Miranda, I don’t think the judge would “suppress” their statements just because the trouple claim they weren’t read Miranda.

      And another thing. If I was Joe Price, savvy lawyer, and I was being taken downtown for questioning on a crime I committed, I might just be savvy enough to tell the cops just prior to being taken into the interrogation room, “Hey fellas, I’m an attorney so you don’t need to bother reading me my rights.” That way I could later say, “Technically, you didn’t read me my rights.”

      • Penelope
        03/12/2010 at 3:01 PM

        I wonder if Joe’s arrogance perhaps overshadowed his savviness that night. I could see him thinking that he could outsmart the cops without an attorney. From what we know of his behavior that night, he didn’t seem much concerned about being charged with Robert’s death.

        Another possible explanation for Joe’s loose lips is that he was under the influence of some drug.

    • Robert
      03/12/2010 at 3:08 PM

      I agree with all of your arguments except with respect to Joe’s knowledge of criminal law. I am not sure that the prosecution is free to make presumptions on that point and hold him to a higher standard because he is a lawyer — even a knowledgable one.

  5. Craig
    03/12/2010 at 12:22 PM

    These are all good points. Price did make clear on his ride downtown with Detective Folts that he was an attorney.

    I’m still wondering why Bernie did not pull transcript portions for Price’s motion, like Team Schertler did for Ward. Is there nothing in there to substantiate the claims?

    • Eagle
      03/12/2010 at 1:16 PM

      Just to correct the record- Joe Price received his law degree from the University of Virginia.
      Thanks for your continued coverage and interest.

      • Craig
        03/12/2010 at 1:20 PM

        Noted. Sloppy on my part. Thanks for the correction Eagle.

  6. Nelly
    03/12/2010 at 12:25 PM

    Thanks as always for your continuing coverage of this case.

  7. Fascinating
    03/12/2010 at 1:22 PM

    Looking forward to your tweets and reports! Thanks for keeping us updated, editors.

  8. Robert
    03/12/2010 at 3:09 PM

    Craig When is the next court date?

Comments are closed.