Defense Motions to Suppress Homicide Defendant’s Testimony

Baltimore Court Seal

A 21-year-old Baltimore resident’s defense attorney motioned to suppress evidence from the jury before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Jennifer B. Schiffer on June 2. 

Damien Mickens is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, possession of a firearm as a minor, use of a firearm during a violent crime, second-degree assault, and second-degree murder in connection to an incident that occurred on the 3600 block of South Hanover Street on April 10, 2020. 

Defense counsel Brian Levy motioned to suppress the defendant’s testimony in light of testimony from a medical expert who examined the defendant’s mental state nine months after being interrogated by the police.

The medical expert testified the diagnosis of the defendant included attention deficit disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and various comprehension and intellectual challenges.

The medical expert continued by sharing results from various tests, showing that the defendant has a low IQ, high suggestibility, and lacks the necessary reading comprehension skills to understand the rights that he abandoned. 

Following testimony from the medical expert, defense and prosecution delivered closing arguments regarding the admissibility of the defendant’s testimony following the wave of his 5th Amendment rights. 

Defense argued that environmental and situational factors in addition to interrogation techniques used by detectives influenced the defendant to waive his rights without a cognitive ability to understand the decision’s weight. 

The prosecution countered by saying the detectives informed the defendant of his rights to the best of their ability, further claiming that the defendant displayed knowledge of these rights by refusing to share specific information with detectives. 

Judge Schiffer informed the court that she would reach a decision on the motion before June 6. 

According to a news release from CBS Baltimore, police reported to the 3600 block of South Hanover Street around 4 p.m. on April 10, 2020. At the scene, officers located a male victim with a gunshot wound to the head and another male victim suffering from a gunshot wound to his stomach. Both men’s injuries were fatal.

Police located a third victim several blocks away in his car suffering from a non-life-threatening gunshot wound in his shoulder. He was transported to an area hospital for treatment. 

Mickens’ next hearing is scheduled for June 6.