LOCKPORT – The attorney for Niagara Falls shooting suspect Paul E. Buck Jr. argued last week that his client’s statement should be ruled inadmissible for his upcoming trial.
Dominic Saraceno of the county conflict defender’s staff said police kept questioning him after Buck asked to leave Police Headquarters.
That’s not the way Detectives Patrick Stack and John Conti said they heard it. Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III will rule on the admissibility of the tape of the interview in early January.
Buck was brought in for questioning in the wake of the near-fatal April 25 shooting of Anthony McDougald, 18, at 12th and Niagara streets. McDougald was left with a bullet in his chest that surgeons could not safely remove.
Buck, 23, of Niagara Falls Boulevard, is charged with assault and gang assault, along with Marlyn M. Rubin, 20, of Niagara Street, and Jacob J. Taggart, 23, of Niagara Avenue.
Saraceno was named to represent Buck after Murphy openly criticized the performance of his previous attorney, Assistant Public Defender Matthew P. Pynn, and Buck asked for a new lawyer.
Murphy believed Pynn should have cross-examined Conti in an Oct. 2 hearing about Buck’s requests to leave. Conti denied that Buck ever made any such requests.
On the portions of the video played in court, Buck made such remarks as “Can I get the [expletive] out of here?” and “How long am I going to be held here? I want to go home.”
Conti said he read Buck his rights. “You have a right to stop answering my questions any time you desire,” Conti said he told Buck. “He never asked me to stop asking questions.”
“The issue is whether he exercised his third right under the Miranda warnings – the right to stop answering questions,” Saraceno said. “He shouldn’t have to make multiple requests.”
Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann argued, “Mr. Buck’s request throughout this interview is never a specific request to stop the questions.”