The following is an important lesson for anybody on probation:
A criminal case based on a sex offender’s statements in a treatment program highlights the state program’s murky line between therapeutic and investigative purposes.
The Minnesota Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in the case of a man who claims sex-offense confessions made to his probation officer as part of a court-mandated program are protected by the Fifth Amendment.
Adam McCoy’s appeal highlights a potential conflict between the state’s rehabilitation programs for sex offenders, their requirements of full disclosure and the constitutional rights of those offenders.
McCoy was charged in 2019 with two counts each of first-degree and second-degree criminal sexual conduct for the 2005 assault of his 2-year-old stepdaughter. A district court granted McCoy’s motion to suppress the statements that gave rise to the charges, which he made to his probation officer and a polygraph examiner during treatment mandated by a court as part of his probation for another sex offense.
The court ruled that the statements, in which McCoy detailed an assault of his stepdaughter along with other unidentified victims, were inadmissible because they violated his right against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The case was dismissed, but prosecutors won a reversal in the Minnesota Court of Appeals, which found that because McCoy’s disclosures were not compelled because he did not assert his right against self-incrimination before filling out a detailed questionnaire and taking a polygraph test, and was informed that the examiner and probation officer were mandatory reporters.
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