Mitchell Johnson Not Read Miranda Rights When Arrested

FAYETTEVILLE (KAIT) - As the Mitchell Johnson trial draws nearer, a development has surfaced that may change the course of the entire trial.

Johnson was arrested on New Year's Day after a traffic stop in which he was the passenger.  The driver of the vehicle, Justin Trammell, was traveling with Johnson.  An anonymous tip had suggested large amounts of marijuana and firearms in the vehicle, so police handcuffed both individuals and placed them in separate cars.  Johnson consented to a search of the van, but no drugs were found (except in small quantities on Johnson).

It was at this time that officers were engaging Johnson in potentially incriminating conversation about his use of marijuana.  Officers wearing microphones and cameras were reportedly recording everything from the car.  After multiple statements were made that could be incriminating, Johnson was arrested.  However, Johnson had not been read his Miranda rights, according to a court motion.

Tapes of the conversation revealed that Johnson had asked about his rights:

Johnson: I believe I haven't been read my rights.

Officer: Huh?

Johnson: I haven't been read my rights yet.

Officer: You don't have to be read your rights.

Johnson: (explicit)...why not officer...

Officer: Because I haven't asked you where you bought the weed, or if you were going to sell it, or...

Johnson: That doesn't matter? I'm getting arrested...I'm going to jail...

Johnson's attorney, Jack Schisler, has filed a motion to suppress all statements made before he was read his Miranda rights.

Region 8's Will Carter has been tracking this story and will have more details coming up today on Region 8 News at Six.