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US court hears debate on allowing Pittsburgh synagogue shooter’s words at trial

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HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (AP) — The Pittsburgh synagogue massacre defendant’s statements at the scene and at a hospital should be allowed at trial, US prosecutors told a federal judge in a new filing, in part because concerns about public safety were a valid reason to keep questioning him even after he’d asked for an attorney.

The US attorney’s office and the legal defense team for Robert Bowers both made extensive arguments in recent days as US District Judge Donetta Ambrose considers whether to grant his request to suppress statements made after he had been shot and was being treated for gunshot wounds to the leg and shoulder.

His lawyers, who also filed a brief this week, said Bowers’ assertion of his rights to remain silent and to confer with a lawyer should mean communications initiated by officers or what they overheard while he was being treated should not be used against him.

Officers may have had the authority to remain by Bowers as he was treated at a hospital for three gunshot wounds, but they should not have been allowed to listen in and record those conversations with medical providers or be permitted to use them at trial, they told Ambrose.

“Mr. Bowers had a reasonable expectation of privacy in those communications, and officers violated his Fourth Amendment rights when they purposely listened in on those communications, recorded them in writing, and now attempt to use those communications........

© The Times of Israel

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