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Attorney: Former camp counselor unknowingly waived rights

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published February 11, 2016

 Matthew Kuppe

Matthew Kuppe

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — The former Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit camp counselor who is charged with four counts of child pornography has asked that his statements taken at the time of his arrest be suppressed from evidence because his request for an attorney was ignored.

On Aug. 12, 2015, the West Bloomfield Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations served a search warrant at the home of Matthew Kuppe in West Bloomfield. Defense attorney Walter Piszczatowski attests in a motion that was filed Feb. 2 that during Kuppe’s two-hour interrogation, his request for a lawyer was ignored, and he did not knowingly and voluntarily waive his Miranda rights. 

“(Kuppe) was given a form and told that it required his signature. He complied. The form — it turns out — contained written Miranda rights, rights that were never explained or explicitly waived,” Piszczatowski wrote in his motion. However, he added, a Homeland Security Investigations report of investigation states that Kuppe was read his rights and was told that by signing the form, he was waiving his rights — which Piszczatowski said did not actually occur.

“The government will likely produce a Miranda rights form bearing Kuppe’s signature, and while the form contains the language that comports with Miranda’s requirements, it was produced, and Kuppe was required to sign it, in the perfunctory manner one signs a gas receipt rather than a waiver of constitutional protections,” Piszczatowski wrote in the motion. 

Prosecuting attorney Sarah Woodward did not respond for comment by press time. 

After the Miranda rights were issued, Piszczatowski states, a Homeland Security Investigations officer began recording Kuppe’s interview. 

“One such portion was Kuppe’s assertion, ‘I want, I think I want a lawyer then,’” Piszczatowski states. 

What is currently on record is that after Kuppe was advised of his rights, he confirmed that he was the user of jcclockerroom@gmail.com, had posted nude photographs of young boys on a file-sharing website, took the pictures he posted using a cellphone, received child pornography from other Internet users, and consented to the person who wrote the affidavit to access the Gmail account, Piszczatowski wrote. 

Piszczatowski states in the motion that Kuppe can be heard crying during the recording of the interview, and he was distraught and emotional.

“Several times, he sought assurance that he was not going to be arrested. The officers either flatly denied that he would be arrested or deftly sidestepped the issue, or both,” Piszczatowski wrote.

When Kuppe reportedly said, “Because if I say that, you’re gonna put me in jail,” an officer responded with, “No one — I’m not putting you in jail,” and, “If you were gonna go to jail, you would already have cuffs on you,” the motion states. 

When a person waives their Miranda rights, the waiver must be voluntary and “made with full awareness of the nature of the right being abandoned and the consequences of the decision to abandon it,” Piszczatowski wrote in the motion. 

When Kuppe requested a lawyer, Piszczatowski wrote, questioning should have ceased because the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ensures that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” Piszczatowski argued that Kuppe was not asking for advice on whether or not he should obtain a lawyer, but he did, in fact, tell officers that he wanted a lawyer. 

“Kuppe’s request was clear enough, but it fell on deaf ears,” Piszczatowski wrote. 

Piszczatowski also filed a motion for the courts to dismiss all four counts of the indictment. In counts one, two and three, Kuppe is charged with production of child pornography. In count four, Kuppe is charged with distribution of child pornography. The reason for the dismissal request, Piszczatowski argueed, is that the photos used for counts one through four do not “constitute ‘sexually explicit conduct’ sufficient to support the charges.”

Kuppe was slated to appear before U.S. District Court Judge Avern Cohn Feb. 11, after press time, for a status conference.

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