Jacksonville murder conviction overturned, court says police ignored man's "right to remain silent"

February 25, 2013

A Jacksonville man on death row for a 2008 murder will now get a new trial that will likely feature far less evidence for the jury to consider. The Florida Supreme Court ruled this week that Randall Deviney repeatedly invoked his right to remain silent but police kept interrogating him anyway, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Near the end of the questioning, Deviney eventually confessed and that videotaped confession was played for the jury during his 2010 trial, the newspaper reported.

Deviney, now 23, is accused of killing his elderly neighbor that he used to do odd jobs, the newspaper reported. Now, according to the Supreme Court ruling, his confession and interview will not be allowed in for Deviney's second trial. That may or may not make much of a difference because Deviney's DNA was found in the victims fingernails, the newspaper reported. But cases like these can be life and death for the accused - literally death in Deviney's case - and police should be expected to follow the law in building their case. Deviney was told at the outset of the interview he was not under arrest in Jacksonville and he was free to leave at any time, the newspaper reported. At that time police read him what are called Miranda rights, which explain that he has the right to remain silent and the right to ask to speak with a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney before talking to police.

Deviney denied killing the victim and when police kept telling him he did it, Deviney told police "I'm done" six times and then asked to leave. Police told him he couldn't because he was now under arrest in Duval County, the newspaper reported. Later in the interview, Deviney confessed, the newspaper reported.

But it never should have been able to get that far. If you are arrested or being questioned by police and you invoke your right to remain silent, that is your right and it should be honored. You also have the right to ask for a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney, which is crucial to beginning your defense case against whatever crime you are being arrested for. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney knows the Miranda laws and the rules of police questioning inside and out and can help determine if police went too far during their interview, as the Supreme Court says they did in Deviney's case. It can make a huge difference in the amount of evidence the state is able to prevent at trial and, in some cases, could mean the state doesn't even have enough evidence to proceed with the case against you or your loved one.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.