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Appeal Fails Strickland Test in CPD Miranda Ruling

A felon who said counsel failed him by opting to withdraw a motion for suppression of evidence failed to prove his case in the 7th Circuit Appellate Court, where judges ruled that he’d have been convicted regardless of comments made to a Chicago cop after a foot chase. Walter Ross voluntereed that knew nothing about the guns that were later found in the van he’d fled as Officer Jose Rivera that was applying the cuffs. Ross contended the statement made before he’d been Mirandized came in response to the cop’s voiced suspicion about why he and the driver had run off with the vehicle still in motion during an attempted traffic stop.

An attorney for Ross filed a motion to suppress the statement on those grounds that was withdrawn when Ross retained new counsel prior to the bench trial in Cook County Circuit Court. On appeal, Ross said the failure to file prejudiced the outcome that earned him a seven-year stretch as an armed habitual criminal. Appellate judges disagreed, saying the Strickland test that guides rulings on the effectiveness of counsel provides attorneys a wide berth for trial strategy. They said the appeal further fails Strickland because the preponderance of evidence presented meant that suppression would have no impact. The panel cited case law in affirming the circuit judge’s ruling that Rivera’s speculation couldn’t be classed as interrogation.