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Florida State Quarterback Arrested for Shoplifting


A lot of people make incorrect assumptions about people arrested for shoplifting. One of them is that they are people who can't afford the very things they are accused of stealing. This isn't true as celebrities like Winona Ryder, Lindsay Lohan, Megan Fox, and Britney Spears have been arrested for shoplifting. On May 1st, ESPN reported that Florida State quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was arrested for walking out of a supermarket without paying for $32 worth for crab legs and crawfish. Apparently, Winston placed an order with the deli, picked it up, and walked out without paying and said he forgot to pay during a post-Miranda statement. Florida State suspended him and Winston says he plans to perform community service.

Under Arizona v. Miranda, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), the prosecution can only use your statements against you if you were read certain rights including that you have the right to remain silent. Although Winston made a statement after Miranda, this is not advisable. Over the years, I've heard a variety of reasons people offer for why they chose to make a statement. "I just wanted to explain" and "I just wanted to get out of there" are two that come up very often and are both mistakes. When I was a prosecutor in Manhattan, defendants often would agree to talk with me after I read them Miranda and without a lawyer. Big mistake and I'll explain why. If you're being stopped when exiting a store while concealing unpaid merchandise or food (yes, even crab legs), this is probable cause that you're trying to steal. The store can detain you and hold you for the police at this point. If the police show up - you should assume you're going to be arrested. If the police read you Miranda - as they did to Winston - this means you are being arrested. If you make a statement, this statement can be used against you later. Winston basically said "I forgot to pay" when questioned. He was arrested anyway. What benefit did he get, then, by having made that statement? He made the statement before knowing what kind of evidence they have against him. If they had video surveillance showing that he hid the crab legs or looked around nervously before exiting, this would not only support the theft charge but also make it seem that he lied. While lying is generally not illegal, it makes you look guilty and so an initial statement offered up to try to talk your way out of it could end up doing just the opposite.

You can read more about Winston's case here:Winston shoplifting arrest