A plaintiff is coerced by a postal inspector to make statements of guilt. The plaintiff has no choice. If he refuses to say what the inspector wants, his career with the Postal Service will be destroyed. A U.S. District Court judge and an appellate judge both use this conffession as a basis for dismissing the case that was filed by the plaintiff. Now the plaintiff moves for rehearing en banc. What can the plaintiff do to at en banc to overcome this type of railroading? Are there any laws or rules of the court that the plaintiff can cite? The case is being done pro se.
Country relating to Question: United States
Was this statement taken as part of an administrative investigation or was the plaintiff read his Miranda Rights before taking of the statement? When you say "coerced" how was he coerced?
pector said in so many words that if I don't "cooperate" with him that he would recomend to the P.O. in his report that I should be fired.
Can you please answer the other questions I asked you above regarding whether or not they advised you of your Miranda rights or if they advised you the statement was administrative only?
It was not an arrest. I was not mirandad. It was an admin. investigation.
In so many words the inspector said either I "cooperate" and confess
or in his report he will "recomend" to the P.O. that I should be fired. I was
not told specificly that it was adim. only. Rather, he said he was treating
this situation as an assault as if inferring criminal charges. There was no assault. His report became the corner stone of the defences case.
A few more questions please. This appeal, is it from criminal charges or are you in court appealing your termination? Did they make any promises that you would not be terminated if you did not give a statement?
This is a ciil suit brought by me for sexual discrim. It was dismissed on mostly the inspector's report along with the coersed conffesion. An Appellate Court upheld the dismissal. There was no promise that I would
not be terminated. Just an infference that he would not recomend term
ination if I comply. I am petitioning the Appellate court en banc based on the belief that the confession was coeresed which is the foundation
of the dismissal. Even the postal inspector says in his report that this tactic, however you may view it was the foundation of the confession. My
union says it also.
I am afraid you are fighting an uphill battle here because the case law is not overly favorable to you regarding coerced statements. First, the coerced-confession inquiry looks at the state of mind of the suspect — "whether [a suspect's] will was overborne" by the totality of the circumstances surrounding the giving of a confession. Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218, 226, 93 S.Ct. 2041, 2047, 36 L.Ed.2d 854 (1973). The courts hold that "only the most egregious official conduct will be the sort of abusive executive action that can be sufficiently arbitrary for constitutional recognition as a potentially viable substantive due process claim." See: Carr v. Tatangelo, 338 F.3d 1259, 1273 (11th Cir.2003). The courts recognize that the interrogation process is somewhat coercive on its nature and it is only when the conduct in the interview "shocks the conscience" that it becomes sufficient to exclude the statement. Furthermore, the courts and the National Labor Relations Board have held that an employee must furnish information to an employer during an investigation of alleged employee misconduct. The courts and NLRB have further found that an employer can, without violating Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA, seek to compel its employees to submit to questioning concerning employee misconduct when the employer's inquiry is still in the investigatory stage and no final disciplinary action has been taken." 246 N.L.R.B. No. 104 at 2. Service Technology Corp., 196 N.L.R.B. 845 (1972); Primadonna Hotel, Inc., 165 N.L.R.B. 111 (1967). As explained by an Administrative Law Judge in Service Technology : (A) proper balance must be struck between the Company's right to uncover improper conduct on the part of certain employees in its endeavors to maintain order in its business and the rights of those employees. Thus, you have to prove in your argument that the employer's actions went above and beyond what has been explained above by the courts, since some form of Coercion may be used by an employer to obtain an statement from the employee. If the investigator promised you would not be terminated if you made the statement, then this is the type of coercion that would be prohibited by the courts as shocking the conscience. The court cases on coerced statements though are overwhelmingly in favor of the employer and not the employee when it comes to an employer compelling statements from employees I am afraid.
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I received the message, did you have a follow up question?
Your answer is fine. But; do you not feel that blackmailing an employee into
a signed confession is egregious enough? And; Can you cite at least one case file that will help me? Also, if the standard of the court is a preponderence and the weight of the scale falls heavily in favor of the plaintiff, then what gives the court a right to violate that standard by using judicial discretion to dismiss the case by pointing out some tiny little detail that does nothing to counter act the result of that scale?
I looked for quite sometime and I wish I could have found a case that would have been positive. The only positive cases were cases where employers intimidated employees to make anti-union statements or to coerce them to change their union votes, which would not help you in an employee misconduct case.While personally I may see an employer coercing an employee in telling them that if they confess I will not recommend dismissal, I am afraid the courts and I (and you for that matter) do not see eye to eye. If the court is using the confession you have given that one thing can tip the preponderance scale unless you can show somehow the inspector's conduct shocked the conscience, as I said above with the case law. Like I said, these cases are very tough for that reason, the courts and the case law is not favorable to the employee in these cases, which is why employment attorneys do not take them on contingency fee contracts.
JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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