Man accused of soliciting minor for sex says police didn't read him his Miranda rights
By JAMES A. KIMBLE Union Leader Correspondent
A Concord man accused of soliciting sex from a 15-year-old Portsmouth girl is asking a judge to throw out statements he made to police, claiming that detectives who executed a search warrant at his home failed to read him his Miranda rights.
A judge will hold a hearing on July 22 to decide whether statements that Brad Lizotte, 47, made to investigators can be heard by a jury when he goes to trial this fall in Rockingham County Superior Court.
Prosecutors say Lizotte exchanged text messages with the girl between June 12 and Sept. 29 last year, and conversations eventually turned sexual.
Lizotte sent a lewd photo to the girl, and asked to meet her at a hotel room and his apartment for sex, prosecutors said.
A group of police officers executed a search warrant at Lizotte's Rumford Street home in Concord on the morning of Oct. 18 about 6:15 a.m.
Lizotte told the detectives who arrived at his doorstep that he had to go to work.
He was interviewed by two Portsmouth police detectives, Rebecca Hester and Kristyn Bernier, but was never read his Miranda rights prior to the interview, according to defense lawyer Jared Bedrick.
Bedrick argued in court papers that police had set up a situation in which Lizotte would feel pressured into submitting to questions being posed by the officers, while the search warrant was being executed.
Police obtained a warrant to seize Lizotte's cell phone, computer and other computer storage devices found at the home.
"The uncertainty and confusion inherent in such a situation would counsel any reasonable person to remain with and speak to police to get answers as to the reasons for the police presence," Bedrick said in a court motion.
He also suggested that comments by one of the detectives told Lizotte that he was not free to leave until he was finished speaking to them.Prior to the interview, police also approached Lizotte's mother, who was waiting outside in a car to give her son a ride to work, which "posed yet another obstacle between (Lizotte) and his work," Bedrick said. Assistant County Attorney Patricia Conway said in a response filed Tuesday that Miranda rights did not apply in Lizotte's case because he was not in police custody while being questioned.
Conway argued that the officers made clear to Lizotte that he could leave at any time.
She said that Lizotte never asked the detectives to terminate the interview.
"Bernier told the defendant that he was under no obligation to speak with them and that he was under no obligation to answer any questions they had for him," Conway said in a court motion. "She also told the defendant that if he wanted to leave and go to work immediately, he could do so."
In a separate motion, the defense is asking a judge to quash the indictments in the case.
The trial is scheduled to begin the week of Sept. 9. Lizotte faces three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, and single counts of indecent exposure and obscene matter offenses.