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Van Hollen Applauds State Court of Appeals Decision Affirming Milwaukee County Reckless Homicide Conviction

 

"Here, Milwaukee police safeguarded Hampton's constitutional rights at all points during their questioning," says Van Hollen. "The circuit court properly admitted his statements."

 

MADISON—To protect a custodial suspect's Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, police must advise the suspect of his right to remain silent and his right to counsel. After receiving these Miranda warnings, a suspect may waive his constitutional protection and agree to speak with police. This morning, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals held that Milwaukee police officers properly advised Patrick E. Hampton of those constitutional rights and properly obtained his confession to the 2008 murder of his roommate.

 

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, whose office represented the State of Wisconsin in the court of appeals, applauded the decision. "Here, Milwaukee police safeguarded Hampton's constitutional rights at all points during their questioning. The circuit court properly admitted his statements."

 

Milwaukee police arrested Hampton in connection with the July 15, 2008 death of Carlton Stovall, Hampton's roommate. Questioned on two occasions, Hampton eventually admitted killing Stovall while "high" on drugs. Hampton eventually pled to a charge of first-degree reckless homicide and challenged the admissibility of his confession on appeal, claiming police failed to honor his Miranda rights during the first questioning.

 

The court of appeals concluded that Hampton failed to unequivocally invoke his right to counsel at the beginning of the first questioning. The court also found that Hampton expressly waived his Miranda rights during the first questioning. While Hampton later invoked his right to counsel, he immediately initiated further conversation with police, thus waiving that right a second time. The court found no basis to reverse Hampton's reckless homicide conviction

 

Wisconsin Department of Corrections records indicate that Patrick E. Hampton remains incarcerated at the Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun, Wisconsin.

 

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals' decision and opinion in State of Wisconsin v. Patrick E. Hampton appears at the court's website:
http://www.wicourts.gov/ca/opinion/DisplayDocument.pdf?content=pdf&seqNo=56203

 

The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office prosecuted Hampton in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Assistant Attorney General James M. Freimuth represented the State of Wisconsin in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.